The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Program from start to finish
Continuing the Duke of Edinburgh award during lockdown has posed challenges for many students, with sporting, service and skill activities temporarily suspended. Many students, however, have sought new ways to continue and indeed complete their award during this difficult period.
The Bronze award marks the beginning of a student’s Duke of Edinburgh journey and Chloe Hong is the first Year 9 student to complete the Bronze award this year. She writes the following about her award journey:
The Duke of Ed award motivated me to realise my potential in new areas and it allowed me to dedicate more time to activities I never knew I would enjoy so much, for example, a First Aid course, in which I was dedicated to learning skills that could one day help others. On the other hand, the award allowed me to continue improving and learning new skills in a current activity, which for me was soccer. Another major benefit, and my highlight of the award, was the activity of jewellery making which allowed me to get creative and discover a new passion. Whilst pursuing this activity, I learned to make rings, necklaces and bracelets. Starting small, the pursuit of jewellery making in the ‘skill’ component of the award developed into something much bigger, inspiring me to create a small, ever-evolving business called ‘Clay Origin’ (www.clayorigin.com.au) where I now sell some of the things I create, to make others happy. I recommend this award to anyone, because it can open new doors whilst challenging you, allowing you to undertake new opportunities, and inspiring you to pursue something new.
Victoria McKenzie is in Year 12 and she is one of a handful of students to achieve the prestigious Gold Award, not only at Tintern but across the state. This award involves of 12 months commitment to service, skill and physical activities, eight days of Adventurous Journey and a week long residential project. Victoria writes the following about her four year association with the Awards program:
My Duke of Edinburgh journey started in Year 9, working toward my Bronze Award with many of my other peers. As the school required all Year 9 student to complete three camps, many of us saw this as the perfect opportunity to begin working toward a Duke of Edinburgh award. Little did I know – this was only the start of my journey with this program.
For my first award, in addition to the Year 9 camps as my Adventurous Journeys, I undertook sewing, tennis and volunteering at Tintern’s after-school care. My Bronze award, and particularly the after-care volunteering, provided me with an opportunity to better understand my love of working with children. I really enjoyed working towards a goal, and achieving my first, Bronze award.
Because of all the Bronze award gave me, I decided to continue onto my Silver award. I was already really involved with the community at the time, so the award was only a little more than just logging the activities I was already doing. I decided to further my French learning, increase my soccer involvement and take up more responsibility in the Green Team at school. My Silver award was once again a challenging, yet extremely satisfying and rewarding goal I set for myself.
I began my Gold Award, with momentum and motivation. I had plans to join the ‘World Challenge’ trip to Mozambique at the end of 2020 – so I thought I should take the opportunity to complete the prestigious Gold Duke of Edinburgh award at the same time. What I didn’t anticipate was the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling this trip and leaving me without a clear plan in sight for my ‘Residential’ or ‘Adventurous Journey’ requirements. However, once I set myself a goal, I struggle to give up. For this reason, I decided to persevere in my Gold award – with calligraphy, home sport training and being a Girl Guide Junior Leader (a role I was able to undertake) online. December 2020, COVID restrictions eased enough to allow me to undergo my residential project – a one week stay at my grandparent’s cattle farm, helping with farm activities I previously had not even known existed. At the start of this year, I was lucky enough to plan and execute both my adventurous journeys – both to different regional towns investigating rural courthouses from the Goldrush Era. I found these journeys incredibly interesting, and extremely rewarding – planning and organising an entire trip including activities, food and accommodation was something I previously had not ever done.
As a whole, my Duke of Edinburgh involvement has been an incredible experience which has challenged me to learn, practise and organise more than ever before. The things I have done working toward all three of my awards I truly believed have shaped me into the person I am today. Stepping outside of my comfort zone, and extending my community activities have been incredibly beneficial for my personal development and growth as a leader.
I strongly encourage every individual to become involved with the Duke of Edinburgh experience.