Meet Charles, a Gold Award participant from Calgary, AB. Since becoming an Award participant, Charles has grown in his communication, and accountability, and developed purpose in his life. The Award has impacted how Charles views social situations and is more willing to connect with diverse groups of people who he can learn new perspectives from.
“I didn’t know a lot about The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, so I didn’t know what to expect… I went into it knowing just the basics surrounding the Award, but I never expected the impact it would have on me. I’ve always been interested in helping my peers and contributing to my community to the best of my ability. I’ve been able to meet amazing people that have inspired me with the work they’ve done. Taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award program has allowed me to explore different ways of networking, and communication skills and I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to contribute even more of my talents to my community from starting an idea to executing an idea!
I feel like I’ve always had the potential to be great, to be a leader, and to be a motivator. After starting the Duke of Edinburgh Award, I noticed myself begin to be more outgoing and not afraid to speak up when I have an idea, allowing myself to listen to other people’s opinions and factor them into the choices I’m making. As well, I’ve been lucky enough to diversify the people that I have interacted with. Amazing people from all cultures and backgrounds, this led me to think even bigger, and want to do more good.
My most prominent passion is basketball. I’ve loved basketball for quite a while now and after years of practice and playing I have turned it into an outlet for myself. I am lucky enough to have to opportunity to share my knowledge to youth and the children in my city and help them grow up understanding the game and able at least slightly play. I’ve started coaching and applied myself to complete a few coaching courses so that I’m able to teach others and meet other people as well. As a result, I’ve been able to coach at multiple gyms and connect with other people throughout my city and country. The Duke of Edinburgh Award has shown me that being passionate about something is only one part, it’s up to us to share our passion with others and inspire them.
The biggest impact that participating in the Award has had on me is my time management and keeping myself accountable. I’ve been able to learn how to put my priorities first and complete them well before I indulge in fun activities such as hanging out with friends and hiking. Prior to the Award, I’d often find myself being an extreme procrastinator and I would be late on handing in my assignments and completing other tasks. Since I started the program, I’ve now been able to balance school, work, volunteering, time with friends and family, and other fun activities within my work. This is something that I’m very proud of I have been able to learn to control through the Award.
Job Opportunity with Youth
The accomplishment that I am most proud of during my Award experience has been receiving my employment with the City of Calgary Recreation department. Working with the kids from Calgary housing and running some of the after-school programs have been eye-opening because I’ve gotten a firsthand look at how some of these kids live at home and with friends outside of their homes. I’m proud of the work that I do because I provide advice to the youth in ways that help them succeed in school, and with their peers, and maintaining respect for themselves and others everywhere they are. At times some of the kids don’t eat throughout the day and don’t receive any food until they get to our program, knowing that I often go out of my way to provide extra snacks and drinks and I feel extremely proud because that also shows me a huge growth within myself because I think that when I was younger due to my environment and the people I surrounded myself with, I was quite selfish and wouldn’t have put others before myself like that.
Going into the Award I hadn’t yet found a path for myself, I was jumping around jobs and wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go and what skills along with interests to apply to my future choice of work. As a result, from volunteering with kids’ programs and coaching I noticed that I worked well with kids. After working with a different variety of kids I realized that some of the difficulties I faced at their age are still very present in today’s world, I thought to myself that I could really encourage most of the kids I work with and possibly more. The job that I’ve been privileged with now, allows me to support the kids with their social difficulties in ways that’ll help them deal with their frustration, voice their ideas, and communicate with their peers/ parents, and friends. I currently feel like I’m achieving my purpose and discovering even more.
Becoming Self Aware
I learned that I’m a very helpful person, it can be taken as a bland statement, but I truly am seeing how helpful I can be when I see the potential impact. Whether it’s an elderly person asking for help with their household duties, or helping a child understand their day-to-day problems. I find it amazing how lending a hand can change someone’s life. I am so proud that I am able to use my talents in order to positively change others’ lives.
One of the tools that I learned from taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award was meaningful communication. In taking part in the Award, I’ve had to reach out to numerous people, from friends to professionals I’ve had to learn to adjust the way I communicate with people in a way I can still be respectful, understanding, and clear. The communication skills I’ve learned while participating in the Award have helped me acquire new employment, connections, and friendships. This communication has helped me have a further reach in my home community. I was able to develop youth programs and diversify the activities that youth have access to. I am so grateful for those who have been mentors in showing me how to communicate my ideas and my plans.
Join the Award
I would recommend the Award because it can really help someone discover their potential by learning and developing new skills. Meeting new people when it comes to serving the community and discovering the outdoors. The Award is for anyone who wants to better themselves and in turn better their communities. Overall, the Award helps young people become self-aware and independent while also being good leaders, and players in team situations. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an incredible opportunity for those who pursue it.”
- Charles, Gold Award Participant
We thank Charles for sharing his story, we hope it inspires you to Join the Award, Volunteer with the Award, or Become an Award Centre.