The Duke of Edinburgh International Award is an absolutely brilliant. It is action packed and adventure rich! You’ll be challenged and stretched. You’ll discover potential you never knew you had and you’ll gain confidence as you learn new skills. It is a very noble youth development program where you can make a significant difference.  

So if your aged 14-24 or you have children who might be interested, keep reading on.  

The Duke of Edinburgh website states the positive key attributes participants gain from completing the award. Participants:

  • “Are equipped and empowered to achieve their personal best;
  • Learn to take responsibility for their goals and choices;
  • Become connected to and actively engaged within their immediate community;
  • Make a real difference to society through their positive contributions and involvement;
  • Learn to persevere and overcome barriers to success;
  • Learn important life skills; and
  • Increase their career opportunities.”

From personal experience of completing the Bronze level and beginning the Silver level of the Duke Award – I cannot advocate it enough! It helped me to have focus and a goal to work towards, it pushed me to strengthen and advance my skills and it opened up opportunities where I formed new friendships while having fun! The award recognised and rewarded my efforts towards positively contributing to society and choosing to step out of my comfort zone and pursue new things. For my adventurous journey (bronze level) our small school group in grade 12 went around Hinchinbrook Island (a hidden treasure off the coast of Queensland). I was never keen on hiking, but I thought with a few good friends it had to be fun right!? Well I was blown away because I had a blast!

It was an adventure of a lifetime, lots of laughs, the overcoming of fears, team work, exploring the rainforest, finding fluorescent yellow markers nailed to trees and rocks (they do somehow blend in), jungle fighting (by that I mean trudging through mud up to your knees!) and learning to laugh when the rain poured through a leaking bivi. Yet it was the highlight of my senior year.

I was hooked! So after leaving school I jumped straight into doing the Silver level – and some of the same crew agreed to join me on an adventurous expedition around Magnetic Island. With great advice and encouragement from our instructor we headed off and canoed from Townsville to Magnetic Island and around the island. And well my 2 friends were strong rowers (literally they made teams) and well I’m not sure how much of my paddling was effective compared to their strength. But we did make it all the way around the Island!

How the Award Works:

So what do you do? Well there are 4-5 key categories and 3 levels that make up the award and a time frame you must commit to for each category. (listed below) You also get to choose the activity you’d like to do within those key categories. Here they are:

4 Award categories include:

  1. Service (volunteer in your local community)
  2. Physical Recreation (pick a sport or recreation activity to do)
  3. Skills (learn a new skill or develop a current one)
  4. Adventurous Journey (explore the outdoors and go on a expedition/journey)
  5. Residential Project (Gold level only) (stay in an unfamiliar environment while contributing to a good project)

3 Levels: (as you pass through each level, the next is more challenging, but achievable)

Bronze: 6 months participation (minimum)

Silver: 12 months participation (minimum)

Gold: 18 months participation (minimum)

The DOE Award states some of the positive impacts of the award including, “Improved: educational attainment, health and well-being, employability and sustainable livelihoods, social inclusion” and more!

So check it out and get more info here – you’ll be glad you did!