Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethell presented the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award silver level April 25 to Raminder (Raj) Parmar of Fort Macleod during an awards ceremony at Government House in Edmonton.
A student at F.P. Walshe school, Raj received his silver level award for challenging himself by participating and planning a three-day adventurous journey.
Raj also spent 12 months learning a skill, being physically active, and completing community service.
A youth’s own interests are used as the key drivers to program activities, making success more attainable.
“Throughout doing the award I have met many new people, pushed myself to experience many new things, and made tons of memories,” Raj said. “This tremendous journey has helped me to acquire many new skills that will better me as a person, which is why I have been motivated to continue down this path striving to accomplish the gold portion of the program.”
Candace Denison, executive director of the Alberta, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut division of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said the program is a great way for young people to learn how to make a difference to themselves, their communities and to the world, on their own time and at their own pace.
“They discover how choosing, planning and achieving personal goals can change their lives,” Dennison said.
Dennison said the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program has a proven track record based on a solid formula.
“We don’t compete with community organizations. we complement them and build good community members in the process,” Dennison said.
Dennison explained that to fulfill the service requirements of the award a participant might volunteer at a food bank or raise money for a hospital — strengthening local organizations in the process.
For the physical activity portion they might engage in sporting activities or participate in other physical activities such as cutting grass or shoveling snow for seniors.
“At every level of the award and for every requirement there is the opportunity to strengthen the participant’s community through their personal involvement and development,” Dennison said.
The award program offers significant recognition for young people who meet their goals and challenges.
The bronze award is presented by local community leaders and the silver award is presented by lieutenant governors or territory commissioners. The gold award is presented to achievers by a member of the Royal Family or the Governor General of Canada.
“Having a Duke of Ed Award is great for a resume as well as for self-esteem,” said Chelsey Dawes, program manager for The award. “The award is recognized by employers, school admission offices, and in over 130 countries around the world, it says a lot about a person who has one.”
Prince Philip launched The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 1956.
The program concept is based on the philosophy of personal empowerment of youth through engagement within the community.
The approach is to use volunteering within the community to build confidence, self-esteem, and leadership capacity in young people.
From humble beginnings with marginalized youth from the east end of London the award has expanded to seven million participants world-wide, including 37,000 in Canada and over 6,300 in Alberta.
More information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is available at www.dukeofed.org.