Equipping young people for life

Learn more about The Duke of Edinburgh Award at Vellore Village Community Centre

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“Not all learning happens in the classroom.” That’s the motto of The Duke of Edinburg Award, an international program where youth ages 14 to 24 years learn by “giving back, breaking a sweat, finding their genius and getting wild.” The award – founded by his Royal Highness, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh – challenges young adults worldwide to embark on a personal journey involving four areas of learning:

  1. community service
  2. physical recreation
  3. passive skills
  4. adventurous journey

Facilitated by the City of Vaughan’s Recreation Services department, the program encourages ongoing community involvement and personal development, and aims to “equip young people for life” with responsibility, confidence, perseverance and passion. It also looks great on résumés and college/university applications!

A FREE one hour introductory meeting to The Duke of Edinburgh Award is being held at Vellore Village Community Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The question and answer session is hosted by Recreation Services and The Duke of Edinburgh Award staff. Afterwards, participants can register for the award under the group “Vaughan Recreation,” where they will work with an award leader, a recreation staff member, to complete their personal journey.

Award leaders help participants find volunteer hours and suggest ways to develop non-physical skills and/or practice a sport by referring them to a suitable leisure program at one of Vaughan’s 10 community centres.  Award leaders meet with award participants every few months and chat regularly via email to ensure award candidates successfully complete their journey.

Fourteen year old Vaughan resident, Emily, recipient of the Bronze Award, knows first-hand the ambition and personal growth the journey takes (she enrolled after attending last year’s introductory meeting). Emily spent three months, a minimum of one hour per week, on each of these four areas: volunteering to teach children karate and chess; playing badminton; practicing the saxophone; and hiking 4 km of rugged terrain in the Ontario wilderness.

Emily documented her “Adventurous Journey” in the attached infographic. She spent eight hours planning an overnight trip to Killarney Provincial Park, which included a route card and full meal plan. “We had to hike through a small stream and a steep rocky hill made of quartzite.” Emily’s adventure featured birds, chipmunks, frogs, s’mores at sunset (by a campfire she built herself) and sleeping under the stars. “It was really cool…I had a good time exploring nature and spending some time with my dad.”

Emily has already started her next journey by enrolling in the Silver Award program. Awards are earned through individual achievement and improvement at three different levels, bronze, silver and gold, and require three to 12 months of dedication, depending on the level. Awards ceremonies range from the local level for the bronze award to a national ceremony hosted by the Governor General of Canada at the gold level. For more information about the award, visit dukeofed.org.

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Preregistration for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Introductory Meeting at Vellore Village Community Centre is required. Youth aged 14 to 24 years can register at vaughan.ca/RecOnline or in person at any Vaughan community centre.

The City offers several other professional development opportunities for youth – such as Leisure Buddy Volunteer, Volunteer Leadership Programs and a new Public Speaking 101 course – to prepare them for volunteer opportunities and seasonal recreation jobs at Vaughan community centres. For details, refer to the 2016/2017 Fall & Winter Recreation Vaughan eGuide.

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