On Friday 6 April, I was privileged to attend the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Ceremony at Government House. It was with great pride that I watched 2017 graduates Erin Hynson and Eliza Mignot and past student Piper Blake each receive their Gold Award certificate and medal from His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. The ceremony was hosted by the Honourable Linda Dessau, AC, Governor of Victoria.
Prince Edward is the Duke of Edinburgh’s representative world-wide and he was visiting Australia to promote and recognise the Duke of Edinburgh’s International award. Nearly 70 young Victorians received their awards at this special ceremony held in the magnificent ballroom of Government house. Upon conclusion of the ceremony, all awardees and their families were treated to morning tea and a stroll through the gardens and staterooms of Government house.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award. It has helped inspire, empower, connect and recognise the achievements of more than 8 million young people in more than 140 countries.
The Award presents a balanced, non-competitive program of voluntary activities that encourage personal discovery, growth, resilience, perseverance, responsibility and community service. It is about individual challenge and encouraging young people to become mature and active citizens who positively contribute to society, through activities that inspire them.
The Duke of Ed has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Young people can enter at any level, providing they meet the age requirements. To achieve each level, Participants create their own program of activities over a set length of time and across four Sections:
- Service – To develop and encourage a sense of community spirit and responsibility to others
- Skill – To encourage the development of personal interests and practical skills
- Physical Recreation – To encourage participation in Physical Recreation and improvement in physical fitness and performance
- Adventurous Journey – To encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery Gold-level Award Participants also undertake a fifth Section:
- Residential Project– To broaden experience through involvement with others in a residential setting
Participants choose activities that spark their interest in each Section, then set their own goals. Through participation in The Duke of Ed, young people are empowered with the skills and opportunities to make meaningful decisions, enhance life and work skills, live active and healthy lifestyles, contribute to their communities, and build their sense of adventure in the face of the unknown and unfamiliar.
For Erin, Eliza and Piper, the Gold award meant an 18-month commitment to their activities, two strenuous hikes and residential projects in China, France and rural Victoria respectively. Their awards represent great dedication, self-motivation, independence and high levels of personal organisation. I congratulate these wonderful young people on receiving their awards.
by Anne Bortolussi, Award Leader Duke of Edinburgh Award