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Macleod youth urged to take award challenge

Duke of Edinburgh's Award officer Alyson Miller

Duke of Edinburgh's Award officer Alyson Miller explains the Community Youth Challenge Project to an F.P. Walshe school student.

Young people in Fort Macleod were challenged Thursday to take part in a program that will help shape their future.
The official launch of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Community Youth Challenge Project was held Thursday in the gymnasium at F.P. Walshe school.
“The award gets you out into your community,” Duke of Edinburgh’s Award officer Alyson Miller said. “It helps you build the confidence you need, and it helps you build your resume.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program encourages young people aged 14 to 25 years to be active, to participate in new activities and pursue their interests in four areas: community service; personal skill development; physical recreation and an adventurous journey.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants are recognized for completing the program at the bronze, silver or gold level and are presented with certificates and pins at an awards ceremony each year.
Program sponsor Fort Macleod RCMP were represented by Sgt. Brent Hawker, Const. Hubert Bieniewski and Const. Shane MacMillan dressed in red serge, and RCMP mascot Safety Bear.
“We’re excited to offer the youth in Fort Macleod the chance to participate in this program,” MacMillan said.
MacMillan said the RCMP wants to help young people make healthy choices and participate in the community.
“You guys make a difference,” MacMillan told the F.P. Walshe students. “You guys are our community.”
Representing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award were president Jack Schneider, executive director Craig Stange, award officer Alyson Miller and program manager Chelsey Dawe.
Schneider noted the Duke of Edinburgh program started in 1963 in Canada.
“It’s an achievement award, so it’s up to you,” said Schneider, who earned his gold award in 1964.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is now in 130 countries. More than six million young people around the world have achieved The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
“You become part of an international fraternity,” Schneider said of having friends around the world. “That all comes from having a common experience.”
Participants set their own goals and achieve results in a fun and challenging way.
“That’s the beauty of the award,” Schneider said. “It’s designed for each individual.”
Schneider pointed out that having achieved a Duke of Edinburgh Award, paticularly the gold level, looks good on a resume.
Alyson Miller told the students she earned her silver award at the age of 16 by playing on her school basketball team, volunteering in her church, playing a musical instrument and taking part in a 10-day canoe trip in northern Ontario.
Volunteers from the Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Advisory Committee have signed up to be part of the project mentorship group which will help deliver the program in the Fort Macleod area.
The crime prevention advisory committee is made up of people from groups and agencies such as Fort Macleod and District Family and Community Support Services, Rural Crime Watch, Citizens on Patrol, Alberta Health Services — Addictions, F.P. Walshe school, Alberta Office of Traffic Safety, Fort Macleod Protective Services, Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre and the Town of Fort Macleod.
The Rotary Club of Fort Macleod is one of the program sponsors and has agreed to pay the registration fees for local young people.
“The Rotary Club is all about making a better community and a better world,” Rotary president Martin Ebel said. “You all are an important part of the community. You are also the future of the community.”
As of Thursday, 16 students had signed up for the Community Youth Challenge Project.

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