What’s this Award all about?

by Bree Arnott

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is not hugely spoken about in Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island), which is a little baffling given how well known the Award is further north, and around the world for that matter. This is something we are keen to change, given how many young people in Te Tau Ihu can potentially gain from taking part.

So, exactly what is the award and what do you get out of doing it? Read on and you could find yourself planning your next adventure before you’ve put your socks on….

Benefits of the Award

The Award has been around for a long time, over 60 years in fact, which is why it is so well recognised Internationally, with over 130 countries who take part. It is open to anyone between 14-24 regardless of their background, culture, physical fitness and interests. Understanding that not all learning takes part in a classroom, the Award values stepping into your environment or your community to prepare for life and work by learning how to plan, take responsibility for your actions and reap the benefits of committing to a goal and seeing it through to completion.

The different levels of the Award

The award is made up of three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Within each level there are four sections: Skill, Service, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey, with Gold having a Residential project as well. Quite probably you are already taking part in something that might count towards each section. By signing up to the Award you gain recognition for your work and commitment outside the classroom, challenge yourself to learn a new skill and come away with more than just NCEA credits on your CV.

An Intructor’s View….

“The students were in charge for the whole week, they were the leaders, I just supported them. ” – Kathryn Bunckenburg, WIO instructor.

“…It was awesome to see them grow in confidence, trust their own decision making and develop independence in the outdoors. The conversations were often motivating, filled with great stories of other journeys they had been on and providing inspiration for the next trip. The cool thing about this bunch of students was how at ease they became in a new environment, each with a different story to tell, and each contributing in a different way. What brought this eclectic mix of students together? What unified them? The Award did.”

Is it a competition?

Absolutely not. It is important to remember that doing the award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others, you get to choose your own level of challenge. One of the best aspects of taking part is that it becomes an individual journey, unique to you. Each section (skill, service and physical recreation) you get to choose what you want to do. For the adventurous journey part, you can go with friends or meet other people who are also working towards the award.

Let me guess. Now that school’s going back you’ve started to think about the things you want to achieve for the rest of summer, maybe even set a few goals – it could be joining a sports group, taking on a school leadership role, helping with fundraising, or you might be planning something enterprising with your friends to improve school life or make some extra coin. Without realising it, you’re already on the path to achieving the Award! Why not set yourself the challenge of working towards one of the three levels, as chances are, you’re already completing quite a lot just by living your normal life. By working towards your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, you will gain respect beyond school and in the community.

We love heading out on adventures, especially ones that are student-led and inspired by motivated teenagers. Why not add the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to your story this year and make it a year to remember.

At Whenua Iti Outdoors, we can help you with achieving the Award.
For more information about the Award, and to enrol, visit https://dofehillary.org.nz/
For information on how we can assist you with the Award visit https://www.whenuaiti.org.nz/programmes-overview/duke-of-edinburghs-award/

Want to find out more about a programme or have a question for us? Talk to one of our friendly team - we're happy to help.