The Duke of Edinburgh Award: International Ambition

The news item below was received by Children Webmag recently. We think that the success of the Award Scheme deserves recognition – and publicity, to ensure that it is taken up widely.

The Duke of Edinburgh award began to develop in popularity outside the UK as soon as it was launched after the Second World War. By 1971 the award operated in 31 different countries and continued to expand from this point. Due to the rapid increase of multiple countries keen to get involved that were outside the Commonwealth, the Duke of Edinburgh International Association was launched in 1988 and has continued to develop from strength to strength since it was established.

Over the last 50 years over 140 countries and 8 million young people have participated in the international programme which is continuing to grow. Although this is an outstanding achievement by any means, the Association have big ambitions for the future and plan to reach out to more people of the younger community who had no previous opportunities to develop themselves. For example, they have begun to target and focus on those with disabilities, street kids, young offenders and aboriginal communities to name a few. This is a global ambition that they hope will take off in the near future.

Since the birth of the award, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh has continuously been committed and involved in most aspects of the programme. He has shown enthusiasm and great interest and has taken pride in recognising all the effort and dedication put into the international award, especially the adult participants who keep the scheme running successfully from year to year.

The main goal of the award is to create a lasting impact on the younger generation, influence and inspire others on an international scale and change people’s lives and attitudes, whether it’s the participant or their family members and friends. This is all based around an impact framework that has been created to measure and assess what key areas should be targeted to achieve the schemes initial goals.

There are nine in total, ranging from subjects such as social inclusion (community integration) to the environment and equality. By having this structure in place, the young participants develop awareness from an early age and can begin to implement these valuable aspects into their everyday lives. The award is open to 14-24 year-olds and ranges from a bronze award up to a gold award (only achievable for those over 16 years old). They are encouraged to design their own programme of activities and to set their own challenges, and these are later assessed by a team of professionals who are associated with the scheme.

The types of activities carried out range on a vast scale depending on the nature of the subject or award they are trying to achieve. For example, if they are doing physical recreation, this can be represented in the form of any sport such as athletics, football or even martial arts. If, however, they are trying to achieve the gold award and are working on residential projects, this could be in the form of overseas youth camps, working for international charities or learning a new language. The diversity of the course allows many self-driven opportunities for the young participants to attempt, but in a structured and directed manner.

Over all, the Duke of Edinburgh International award has been an incredible inspiration to many people over the past 50 years. With influential names related to the programme such as Nelson Mandela and members of the royal family, it is easy to see why it has been a success and continues to grow in popularity. As long as everyone involved keeps driving and developing this scheme along with the support of Prince Philip, many members of the younger generation will continue to be inspired and develop those essential life skills that will get them far in life whilst always keeping a positive mental attitude.

If you would like to get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Scheme or know someone who does, visit http://www.fieldandtrek.com/ and pick up some essential Duke of Edinburgh kit today.

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