Meeting a member of the British royal family is just one perk for young people involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Youth Achievement Award. Designed to help youth discover their own potential and their community, this leadership-in-action program is open to 14 to 25 year olds all around the world.
This program was founded in the UK in 1956. This program includes gold, silver, and bronze awards- each demanding a rising time commitment. For qualifying, youth must complete four sections: an expedition, community service, physical recreation, and one of 200 vocational or hobby skills.
The award is an international non-competitive program. The program encourages participants to set and achieve personal goals in adventure, fitness, skills, and community service. The program eggs on students to step out of their comfort zones and to discover their potential.
The program is a fun-packed, interesting, and flexible way for students to take part in a number of activities over a stipulated length of time. It is completely voluntary and is so structured that participants can design their own unique program focused on their passions and interests.
There are 3 levels in Duke of Edinburgh’sAward: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Every level has four sections:
- Physical Recreation: This aims to enhance physical fitness and well-being. This could be via a team sport, individual pursuits, or just getting out and stretching your muscles.
- Skill: This involves unleashing your talents and widening your abilities. Learn anything, such as artistic, cultural, academic, technical, or musical skills.
- Service: You can connect with your community by offering service. This includes any area of interest in the community, such as care for animals, youth work, charity work, or care for the environment.
- Adventurous Journey: This is the only section, which is team-based. Students can discover their spirit in challenging environments and can bond with friends.
For each section, participants must choose an activity which fits the section guidelines and undertake this activity for a minimum specified amount of time. They can expect to spend 6 months completing the Bronze level and a year or more completing the levels of Silver or Gold.
To qualify for Gold Award, an extra element of a Residential Project of minimum of five days and four nights is included. The objective of the Residential Project is for participants to undertake an experience with an objective, with people who are not their usual companions, and outside their usual place of residence.
This program is completed by thousands of students over the world every year. It has been introduced in the best international school in Beirut, recently.
Upon the completion of three incrementally harder levels (Bronze, Silver, and Gold), all participants must complete an Adventurous Journey (AJ). The AJ is a camping/hiking trip of at least 10 km (forthe Bronze level), which participants must take alone.
Skills to take an AJ include developing leadership skills, navigating with compass and map, cooking for themselves, setting up camp, working in a group, and learning first aid skills. The participants are required to carry all things needed for a hike in bags on their back, including their tents, water and food, and sleeping bags,among others. They are not permitted to carry any electronics except a camera and cannot buy anything on their hike. Before undertaking AJ, participants are trained in route planning, camp craft, navigation, first aid, and other useful facts.