From Participant to Leader, Carissa’s Award Story

Carissa Konesky is a Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Holder, and Virtual Award Centre Leader.  

It is with the help of our Award Volunteers, like Carissa who make this program available. Carissa makes a great Award Leader because she was an Award Participant and understands how to be mentor participants.  


   Starting the Award  

“My journey working with the Duke of Edinburgh Award began when I was in high school. I heard about The Award and signed up as a Bronze participant. I quickly jumped right into it as an independent participant, which taught me how to set goals for myself and how to stay motivated. I remember reading about other participant journeys, seeing pictures and being so excited to participate. Achieving the goals that I set out was so exciting, and I still remember how proud I felt when I received my Bronze Certificate. 





Silver & Gold Awards 

As I went on to receive my Silver and Gold Awards, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award had a huge impact in developing my confidence and leadership skills. I challenged myself by camping in the snow for my Silver Adventurous Journey. I had the opportunity to travel and meet other young people when I went to the Duke of Edinburgh Passion to Purpose Forum in Wolfville, Nova Scotia for my Gold Award and the Passion to Purpose Boot Camp in Ontario. I learned how to be adaptable when my planned March 2020 Gold Adventurous Journey canoe trip was cancelled a few days before I was supposed to leave due to COVID. I also learned to be proud of myself when I was presented my Silver Certificate by Janet Austin, the Lieutenant Governor of BC, and my Gold Certificate at a Zoom Ceremony with other recipients from across Canada. 



Staying Involved  

After finishing my Gold Award, I knew that I wanted to stay involved and help support other youth in their Duke of Edinburgh journeys. This is when the perfect opportunity came up – the chance to volunteer as an Award Leader with the Virtual Award Centre. This was the perfect fit for me as it was an Award Centre the Duke of Edinburgh Award had created to support Independent participants. Having gone through all three levels of The Award as an Independent, I knew I had the experience to be able to support them. I now work with participants from BC, the Yukon, and Newfoundland and Labrador in setting goals for their Award and support them in achieving them. It’s been a great opportunity as I can support in a way that fits my schedule and can connect with our participants from across Canada. The Award also provides professional development to help its leaders become confident in their skills. I received my Level 1 and 2 Leader certifications which taught me how to provide better mentorship, advice, and guidance to my participants.  


The Best Part  

I love working with the Duke of Edinburgh Award because it is truly an award where all youth can set goals for themselves and achieve them. Every participant’s award journey is different and success for everybody looks different. I love being able to see the challenging goals that participants set for themselves and providing them support in being able to reach them. It’s been impressive to see the unique ways that they have pivoted their award plans to meet their goals despite the COVID-19 pandemic. My Award participants have taken on all sorts of adventures, such as going rock climbing, canoeing, and backpacking. The best part of the role is knowing how excited and proud they are to achieve those challenging goals that they set out to.  


It’s sometimes hard to know the impact that you are having on participants until you get that message in your email thanking you for your support as a leader and telling you how much the award journey has meant to them. It makes it all worth it!  


I highly recommend that anybody who loves to work with youth consider becoming a Duke of Edinburgh Award Leader! It’s an awesome way to mentor youth in a way that fits busy schedules. It truly is an amazing and supportive community, and we would love to have you join us.” 

  • Carissa 


The Award thanks Carissa for volunteering with The Award and sharing her story!  


We hope it inspires you to Join The Award, Volunteer with The Award, or Become an Award Centre.  


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