Robert's Story

Gold Award Achiever

Gold Award Achiever I first heard about the Duke of Edinburgh program through my school as they were introducing us to their new International Travel Studies Program.  Up until then, I never thought of myself as an adventurous person, but one thing I always had was ambition.

Honestly, travelling to a different part of the world had not appealed to me before The Award, but as soon as I heard that travelling with my school could help me to achieve such a prestigious award, that tipped me over the edge to go.  I ended up travelling to Nepal, a small country bordering India and Tibet, nestled within the breathtaking Himalayan mountain range.  As part of the journey, we helped build a brick wall around an orphanage in a very small village and explored some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.  My trip to Nepal,  something I was extremely tentative about at first, turned out to be one of the most fantastic and rewarding experiences of my life, and was truly life changing.  

From then on I began to crave the feeling of adventure and decided to step outside of my comfort zone as  much as I could.  That summer, I organized a 1,300 Km, twelve day cycle trip down the Oregon and California coast with two of my good friends.  The trip was absolutely amazing.  We met hundreds of nice people, cycled until we couldn’t feel our legs, and saw some of the most amazing scenery ever.

My desire to complete The Duke of Edinburgh's Award originally served as a motivator for me and to try things I would not normally do.  Now, I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to try something that will scare me.  The Award has played a huge role in my life from allowing me to experience new, amazing things to giving me the desire and confidence to attend a university away from my home town. This year I went to Africa! It has genuinely changed my life for the better and I owe so much of the fun I have to taking on the challenge of achieving this award.  

-Robert Purcell, Calgary, Alberta 
"Now, I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to try something that will scare me. The Award has played a huge role in my life."