Empowering youth to become community leaders


Empowering youth to become community leaders

Empowering youth to become community leaders

Part of our goal as an organization is to empower young people to become leaders within their community. To accomplish this we created a position on our national board for a youth representative to become a Director-at-Large. During their three year term, this individual is the voice for over 50,000 participants we have across the country, ensuring that our organization continues to move forward with the interest of our young people at heart.  

This representative is selected by their peers at our national Leadership Forum which happens every three years. This year Nick Taylor, a Gold award Achiever from Winnipeg was nominated to become the national youth representative.  We had the chance to sit down with Nick to speak about his Award Journey and what he hopes to accomplish as the next national youth representative.

Q: Can you share how completing your Gold Award has impacted your life?
A: Well, I've certainly got a lot more questions from my friends about what I've been doing, but it's pretty cool to be able to say I've done it, and explain what the award is about. I've had a more positive outlook on life, as well as thinking a lot more about the bigger picture. It's made me think about what really matters to me, and it's given me a sort of path to go on in my life.

Q: What lessons did you take away from completing your Award, and how do they help you in your daily life?
A: I learned a lot about what other people were going through with their own awards, and it’s made me more empathetic when I talk with other people on a daily basis, just to know that we're all going through so many things on our own, and to appreciate how tough that can be. I also learned to appreciate the little things in life that make our days special, like a nice sunset, or something along those lines.

Q: When you think of the qualities of a great Leader what comes to mind? What does Leadership mean to you?
A: I think of someone who isn't afraid to speak their mind, or to stand up for what they believe in, someone who commands respect. Leadership to me means a willingness to take charge in a situation, or to be the first to get something done. 

What do you hope to accomplish in your term as the National Youth representative for The Duke of Ed?
A: I hope to get the youth across the country to communicate more, there are so many unique and brilliant people that if we could all just share some of our experiences and talk to each other, I believe we can do some really great things. That communication would also help me be able to properly tell the people in charge of the organization what the youth are feeling, to properly represent them. I'm also looking forward to working with getting the alumni of the award involved, overall I really want to help this award grow in any way I can. 

Q: What was your worst Duke of Ed moment that now you look back on and laugh at?
A: I can honestly say that there were no seriously bad moments of my award journey, I had been involved in all of the aspects already so there weren't many surprises. I guess if I have to find one, I would say physically logging the hours in the record book, my mom ended up filling in a lot of the things I had done because I kept forgetting to write stuff down, and I'm very thankful that she's so kind. 

Q: What activities did you do for each section of your Gold Award?
A: For my skill I furthered my guitar abilities, and I ended up writing and recording two instrumental pieces while I was doing the award.

For physical recreation I was, and still continue playing organized hockey and soccer, as well as skiing in the winter, canoeing and kayaking in the summer, and biking whenever I can.

For service, the majority of my hours came from coaching kids aged 5-8 how to play hockey at my local community center, although I also worked with local food banks, as well as a few other organizations.

For my adventurous journey, I went with my dad, his friend, and a friend of mine. We took a route into Woodland Caribou Provincial Park that I had been taking with my family since I was 5 years old, we traveled about 60km into the woods, and every time I've been there it's as great if not better than the past times.

For my residential project, I attended the LEAD 2013 camp, which was an incredible experience, and I got to go back to my high school with the plan of making a Duke of Ed group, which has grown from just a handful of members, to 30-40 today, and I've come back and am attending the meetings this year, to talk about my experience with the award.