Two Fort Macleod youths were honoured recently for their latest achievement in an international citizenship program.
Amy Cook and Raj Parmar reached the silver level in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program.
“It’s a long process to get a silver award and they spent a lot of personal time,” Angie O’Connor said. “They’re very committed.”
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.
Amy, Raj, Rachelle Orr, Devon Jones and Jane O’Connor were recognized in 2012 for reaching the bronze level.
O’Connor, Conrad Van Hierden, RCMP Cpl. Bryan Mucha and Const. Victoria Grimard presented the silver awards Dec. 20 at the Empress Theatre.
The presentation took place prior to F.P. Walshe school’s annual talent show.
“There’s lots of different talents in the community,” O’Connor said. “By these two individuals being involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, we’re celebrating their talent.”
Amy and Raj, who are students at F.P. Walshe school, will formally receive their silver awards at a ceremony next spring.
Amy and Raj faced several challenges to attain the silver level, including completing 30 hours of community service and developing a specific skill to better themselves in a six-month period.
Amy set out to obtain her driver’s licence as her new skill, while Raj concentrated on developing skills as a photographer.
“I have always been interested and passionate about photography,” Raj noted.
Amy and Raj also had to undertake 40 hours of physical recreation over 20 weeks.
Finally, they had to embark on an adventurous journey of at least two nights one day travelling without motorized assistance. They were required to have an average of seven hours of activities planned each day.
Amy incorporated her journey into the FACES program, at one point going white water canoeing.
“I used that portion of the trip as my adventurous journey,” Amy explained. “I was partnered with a boy who I did not know, and it wasn’t an easy thing to do with a stranger because you had to be able to communicate and stay calm. I was bad at staying calm and he was bad at communicating and we had to work our way through that on the river.”
“It taught me a lot about myself, because I had to become aware of how he was feeling while we were flying over rapids and getting dumped into the river, not just how I felt,” Amy added. “I had to do this in order to help him feel safe with me.”
Raj planned a five-day camping trip to B.C. for the Parmar family, which included hiking, swimming and boating for an adventurous journey.
Amy and Raj had to write a report on their journeys that included a map of where they travelled, method of travel, a list of daily meals, equipment, and why they chose to take that journey, the experience and how they benefitted.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is now in 150 countries. More than six million young people around the world have achieved The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.