Jack Deline

Gold Award Participant

Gold Award Participant

Tell us about your Award journey – why did you decide to start your Award?  

To prove to myself I could do it. I have learning challenges so school achievements are harder for me. My high school offers participation in the Duke of Edinburgh as part of their leadership program. But I didn’t have the marks or standards to get in, so I took on the challenge of the Award itself as an independent. I’ve been fortunate because the Award helps you realize the personal rewards that come from making a commitment and hard work.  


What do you like about the Award?  

Many opportunities for students are centred on academics or sports. That’s great for some people, but not for everybody. The Award provides the opportunity to achieve your personal best at living life by learning skills, working on your personal health and athleticism and as a member of a community through volunteering. Anyone can earn their award if they believe they can. 


What do you find challenging about the Award? 

Working as an independent Award participant means that I usually can’t share my experiences with others. Everything is up to me - staying motivated, planning my time and getting it done rests on my shoulders.  


What sort of challenges are you facing in your day-to-day life, as a result of COVID-19? How has this impacted you? 

Not having a regular routine has been the hardest to deal with. Online learning has been easy to adapt to, but without a schedule or being with others can make you feel isolated and alone. 


Is the Award helping you to deal with any of these challenges? If so, how? 

Working weekly on my Award gives me added purpose and helps me find structure with focused goals. Each week I can look forward to scheduling activities for myself. Because I’m working on Award independently, I’ve already adapted to handling challenges by myself. 


Have you had to adapt your Award activities as a result of COVID-19? If so, how?  

My skill gets me outdoors and is a solo effort, so nothing has changed and that consistency has been great during COVID-19. My physical activity is Kung Fu so I’ve been training my strength and coordination at home and practicing my techniques because there is not such thing as perfect - you can always be better through practice. As well, our school has adapted to social distancing with started online lessons so that has helped.  

Has anything remained the same? 

My volunteer efforts with conservation and the environment have changed the most. Many of my group activities through the non-profit Waterloo Region Nature, such as creek and river restoration or salamander monitoring, have been cancelled. We still meet online as a group, but that doesn’t directly affect the environment. So, I’m getting out on my own cleaning garbage in natural areas, creating a garden space that helps bees and butterflies and anything else I can think of to make a difference on my own. 


Have you found any interesting solutions to help you continue with your Award during COVID-19? 

Managing my time has been easier because I involve my family more and we combine activities. This helps everyone get active and provides something interesting when many activities and places are unavailable to us. For example, we might add an extra dog walk during the day as a family and I’ll use that as an opportunity to clean-up the nature paths and trails in our community. 


Are you using your Award (and particularly your Voluntary Service section) to help your community deal with the challenges of COVID-19? If so, how? 

Not in any way particular other than to try and be a role model to others by being active and positive about the situation, and the Award certainly lends me confidence in that area. 

My community clean-ups do help keep our shared spaces cleaner for others as well.  


Do you think being involved with the Award helps you and your community at this time? If so, how? 

Definitely! The Award provides me with additional purpose every day - I have my goals and work that must be completed each week to make progress with my award. Plus, my activities get me out of the house so that I can experience different conditions while maintaining healthy best practices and social distancing.  


Do you have any other comments or ideas you would like to share? 

I’m really glad the Award team in Canada and in Ontario have been working at helping participants look at alternatives or adaptations to the accomplishing their Award. That guidance, mentorship and reassurance has made the difference for many, I hope. My own Award Leader has reached out to offer positive encouragement so I know that’s one more person I have looking out for me!  

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