Thanks to countless volunteers, the St. Bon’s Duke of Edinburgh International Award (Canada) Program is flourishing. We have dozens of students working on either their Bronze, Silver or Gold award. This program promotes service, learning, and self motivation to our youth. For more information about the awards, see here. Students in the program devote time to service work, learning new skills and preparing for an Adventurous Journey hike/camping trip. We had many Bronze and Silver participants complete one or two night hikes between May 19th and 20th, and have one more group going in June. Below is a reflection from Silver candidate Jasmine R ’21, who plans to continue with her Gold award next year:

“The Duke of Edinburgh is an internationally recognized program for youth from ages 14 to 25, that encourages opportunities to learn life lessons and skills as well as personal growth. The framework of the Duke of Edinburgh program consists of Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. For each award you complete four sections of activities: Physical Recreation, Skill Development, Service and Adventurous Journey. As you progress through the program, there is an increasing number of hours required for each section to complete the award. A Gold Project is also required to complete the Gold Award.

I am currently in Grade 10 at St. Bonaventure’s College and in the process of completing my Silver Award. For my Bronze and Silver Awards I have used tennis as my Physical Activity and my Skill has been piano. My Service has been volunteering at the Gathering Place. This experience has resulted in me becoming more involved in community service and it has allowed me to better appreciate challenges faced by marginalized populations.

Last weekend, I completed my Adventurous Journey for my Silver Qualifying Hike. It consisted of three days and two nights of hiking and camping on the East Coast Trail. We hiked almost 40km over the three days, in wet and cold conditions. Even though the hike was very physically and mentally challenging at given points throughout the weekend, it was very rewarding to complete the hike. We hiked a very scenic trail and we saw many icebergs and a whale. On the first night of the hike, it was pouring rain for the entire night. My tent leaked and my sleeping bag got very wet. Although it was a difficult night, I was able to switch out my gear with some Bronze hikers who were not staying for the second night. Even though I would have loved to be able to head home with them, I stuck it out and successfully completed my Silver Qualifying hike the next day. The sun came out for our final day and the hike to our pickup location was beautiful. Throughout my two years participating in this program, I have learned the importance of perseverance in challenging situations which has greatly contributed to my personal growth. I would highly recommend that all youth consider participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Program.”