I first heard of the Duke of Edinburgh program from my air cadet squadron. Since learning about it, I waited eagerly for my 14th birthday to join the program. At first, I saw the Award as a way to keep track of some of my weekly activities. I knew I wanted to achieve my Gold Award but was unsure that I would be able to complete it before graduating from high school. I did two hikes to complete the Silver Adventurous Journey. My hike was a 5-day 88km through Algonquin Park. That hike became the most memorable part of my Award experience: getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new, finding out that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The Gold portion of the program allowed me to go even further out of my comfort zone. The COVID-19 pandemic meant I needed to find new ways to complete my hours in each portion. I sought a new way to complete the Award, such as getting my drone operator’s license and sailing on a tall ship. I was glad that I managed to finish the program before high school graduation.
One of the most important things I learned through the Award was adaptability. At first, I adapted to situations that arose during the activities, and then I needed to change my planned activities to complete the program while adhering to the pandemic restrictions. I loved how the Award showed me how much I could get out of my daily activities and how much I have progressed over time.
The leadership, citizenship, and initiative I developed through the Award are invaluable to me.