Participant Testimonials

The Award wants to hear from YOU. 

If you have a story about your Award journey you want to share please email cmcarthur@dukeofed.org.

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"My name is Landon and I completed my Gold Award almost 5 years ago. I never thought that to this day the Award would continue to have such a significant impact on my life I completed all three levels of the Award in high school and it was no easy task. I was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone, challenged with new obstacles and underwent significant character growth. The Award exposed me to many different experiences that allowed me to shine and become more comfortable and confident in my own skin and in my future aspirations. Perhaps most importantly, the Award has taught me valuable lessons that continue to apply to my life during and post-university.  As I continue to develop into adulthood, I realize the importance of a healthy and balanced lifestyle – for the body, mind, and soul. And this is exactly what the Award teaches us. The volunteer component of the Award highlights the importance of giving back to our community, and that “warm and fuzzy” feeling from doing so has such a positive effect on mental health. Engaging in skill development and exploring our passions is so important since it feeds the soul. The adventurous journey allows us to actively engage with their environment and I could go on forever about the mental health benefits of being immersed in nature. Lastly, the Gold Project encourages us to travel and develop a new skill, engage in leadership development programs, or learn about a country’s history and culture I feel that it is very important for Alumni to continue to practice each of these aspects in the years following the Award. It is so easy to only focus on one aspect, but to live a healthy, fulfilled and balanced life, it is so important to actively try new things and challenge yourself. I constantly push myself to explore each aspect of my daily life. As a result, I continue to stay involved with the Award as a member of the Alumni Committee. I am forever grateful for the impact the Award has had on my life and I always look for opportunities to give back to this amazing community of participants, achievers, alumni, and supporters."


- Landon, Bronze, Silver & Gold Award Achiever

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"Personally, I learned about perseverance and how vital it is in real life. There will always be moments where one would feel better if they simply quit right at then and there. However, I learned that by never abandoning your goals, you are able to achieve results and be satisfied in the end for all your accomplishments. It is a very glorious feeling after and makes a proud moment. I learned that when you set your mind to accomplishing a goal, anything is possible...When you perceive challenges in a different way, you can always see success at the end of it. In staying optimistic and enthusiastic, I know that I can overcome any fears or obstacles in the future.” 

- Carissa, Bronze Award Achiever

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“Some advice I would give is too just make the best of it because it’ll only be as good as you let it be, and to just let go and have fun.” 

- Gregory, Bronze Award Achiever 

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"Camping is not for everyone and some people don’t enjoy the outdoors, that is where an encouraging leadership style comes into play and helps students enjoy the trip! I would always offer my help to people, by being a servant leader! Helpfulness is very important within leadership for it improves your surrounding peers and environment...I always tried to lead by example by not complaining during the hikes, it was hard at times due to the length and temperature. It was so helpful being surrounded by great leaders. My peers who were leading and encouraging me along the way and also our incredible teachers who always helped us with organization and problem solving!" 

 - Lauren, Silver Award Achiever

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"Hi, I am Olivia. I just completed my Silver Award and am waiting to start my Gold Award when I turn 16. I am only 15 now and I thought to be able to stay involved with the Award program, I would  share my story with youngsters like me who are planning to start or are already in the program.


My journey started when I was about to start Grade 9. I was a very shy girl during grade school. I was teased and bullied by my class mates for years. I even tried to hurt myself at one point being depressed and frustrated  because of being bullied. I had no confidence and hated school.  During the summer before Grade 9, my family sent me to a 2 week French camp in the wilderness at Camp Chez Nous, Mansfield. After living in the tent with a group of youngsters like me, I uncovered a whole new world for myself. 

It was at this time I became familiar with the Duke of Ed program, which is advocated by my school. One Sunday afternoon while I was surfing through the website I felt that this is what I should be doing. I always loved traveling, sports, art, adventurous journey and all of it. Why not take credit for doing the things I love doing? 
During my Bronze and Silver Award journey, I realized this program is absolutely addictive. It just keeps me going. I keep doing my activities and every weekend when I log the hours, watching the slider moving closer to the next level it makes me extremely excited. I was overwhelmed after completing my Bronze level when appreciations kept pouring in. During my Bronze and Silver program, I learned how to survive in -25 degrees in the wilderness in a tent, prepare drinking water from frozen stream water, take care of my team whether it be human or animal, prepare to jump in the fast flowing river current, survive in capsized boat, perform construction job, educate and help children and people from different communities, cultures and countries, learn empathy and compassion.

Sometimes when I look back to my Grade School days, I really cannot recognize who I was during that time. I was just an ordinary girl with no self confidence, no mental strength to fight back or even stand up for myself. After two years of doing the Duke of Ed Award Program, I am an aspiring 15 yrs old, ready to advocate for those in need. I am a National Water Polo player. I coach junior water polo players, I organize art exhibitions, sell my painting and also teach art to young children. I am full of enthusiasm and aspiration. My journey won’t stop when I complete my Gold Award. This program opened a door to a new world and I want to be an advocate for the Duke of Ed program at every stage of my life journey.​"

- Olivia Dey, Silver Award Achiever

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