Jon remembers the day he was introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. At the end of a long and trying school day, his grade cohort was hoarded to a meeting room where the teachers planned to share an exciting new challenge. They implored every student to attempt the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Sitting amongst his friends, waiting for the bell to ring, Jon could have cared less about this so-called “challenge.” “Why in the world were they taking up our precious time with this meeting?” he asked. “How could I possibly benefit from this opportunity?” he questioned. At the end of the meeting, Jon decided to put his name down on the list of participants. Worry about it later, forget it existed, he told himself. This simple choice turned out to be one of the most impactful decisions of his life.
Jon chose to participate in the Jazz Band. Through this experience Jon developed his skills on the trumpet, playing in concerts and festivals in front of crowds. Jon shared that “the best part of playing the trumpet is that it is a hobby that I can take wherever I may end up in life.”
Jon was never a very musically inclined person until learning the trumpet at school. After two years of playing the trumpet, he was invited to join Jazz Band. Jon was nervous because he was still developing skills and intimidated by the other student but was able to learn from them. At the end of the year the Jazz Band was featured at the Art Night where he was able to perform the skills he had developed over the year. This was an exciting night for Jon because his nerves turned into excitement. At the school open house, the Jazz Band was tasked to play background music and learned how to improvise. He was excited to not be restricted to playing sheet music. Jon now continues to play the trumpet and has started a mini band with some friends.
To fulfill the service requirement, Jon signed up for recess supervision. Along with 3-4 other helpers, Jon supervised younger students on the playground every Tuesday. They called this program Bigger Buddies.
Jon admits this was awkward at first and the kids didn’t enjoy the new buddies to play with. However, as the weeks went on, things gradually started to change. It began with a couple of students coming up to him asking his name, and engaging in short, giggle-filled conversations. Jon began to get to know every student. Nolan was great at basketball, Iago was the king of recess soccer, and Sarit was a natural conversationalist. By the end of 13 weeks at the junior school, Jon gained meaningful relationships with the students. Sharing knowledge and experiences and engaging in exciting conversations made the experience incredible.
“During recess, it was typical for the kids to watch an activity inside the gym. Here, they celebrated an underdog victory by one of the teams. This service experience as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is one of the fondest memories, I will carry with me through my high school journey. I learned so much about myself and those around me and would do it again.” – Jon
Jon participated in Basketball for the Physical Recreation section of The Award. Before The Award, Jon had experience with Basketball, and it is his favorite sport. Jon developed a passion for Basketball through playing at recess, having influence from his father, and being blessed with the Basketball height advantage.
Due to COVID formal basketballs games and competition were cancelled. Instead, Jon played with his school focusing on developing skills and drills. Practices would start with drills like dribbling and shooting, then they played games like Around the World and Basketball Golf.
Later in the year, Basketball was completely cancelled at school, so he transitioned to Basketball at home in his backyard. Basketball became an outlet where he could clear his head after a long day at school. Looking forward to playing games in person after COVID was a motivation to stay dedicated to developing stronger skills. Jon believes that the time he spent practicing through The Award has contributed to his acceptance on his school team!
It was because of that dreary Friday afternoon meeting that Jon met his buddies from recess duty, stood before rumbling audience as he blasted his trumpet or develop Basketball skills. We know this is not the end of Jon’s story and we can’t wait to see where he goes with the Award!
Stay tuned to hear about Jon’s Winter Adventurous Journey.
Click Here to register to become a Participant.
Shelan is an active member of her community who is committed to making a positive impact. She is pursuing her Commerce degree at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Her Award accomplishments include being a Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Achiever, Award Leader, Passion to Purpose participant, grant recipient, and Speaker, as well as working with The Award in Canada as an Award Specialist and in Marketing Communications.