Duke of Edinburgh Program Builds Skills, Volunteerism and Character

Posted by Admin on July 01, 2020 at 12:11 PM

For her skills development portion of the award, Daragh learned how to knit and made scarves for all of her friends.

Daragh Bryson recently graduated from Linden and plans to embark on a Bachelor of Nursing in September. Read about how the Duke of Edinburgh program helped her connect with new people, nurture her interests while discovering new ones, and develop skills she will need in her chosen career path.

By Daragh Bryson, Grade 12 graduate, class of 2020

My name is Daragh and I am a Grade 12 student. I recently completed the Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) Award Gold level and I would like to encourage more Linden students to give the DOE a try.

The DOE award is a personal achievement award. It has three levels — Bronze, Silver and Gold — and each level has four categories for the participant to complete: Physical Activity, Developing a Skill, Community Service and an Adventurous Journey. There is an additional category, The Gold Project, at the Gold level. You can choose what you would like to do for these areas from a long list of possibilities. The Skills, Physical Activity and Community Service sections require a certain number of hours to be completed on a regular basis over time, and the Adventurous Journey and Gold Project each have a minimum number of nights away.

You can start the DOE at the Bronze level when you turn 14, but I signed up for the Gold level when I turned 16. To start directly at Gold, I needed to complete 52 hours for each of the Community Service, Physical Activity and Skill Development categories with an additional 26 hours in one area. The Adventurous Journey is a minimum three-night outdoors trip with a practice journey (one night) to prepare, and the Gold Project is a three-night/four-day experience away from home where we have the opportunity to broaden our interests and experiences.

Working on the DOE Award allowed me to connect with new people through volunteering. I enjoyed volunteering at Michael Garron hospital as I hope to be a nurse. My second volunteer role was for an organization called Not Just Tourists. I sorted and packed medical supplies that would be sent to hospitals and clinics in developing areas. I chose piano and knitting for the skill portion of my award. I had already been playing piano for six years so I continued with my weekly lessons and practice. Knitting was new to me. I learned many different types of stitches and made scarves for all of my friends. It was also great to have a stress-relieving activity that I could turn to during the tumultuous years of Grade 11 and 12.

Physical activity — hiking on the Juan de Fuca trail.

Another stress-relieving activity that I did regularly was hiking — my physical activity. I have always enjoyed being outdoors and I planned regular hikes with my family and dogs, and sometimes on my own. My final hike was a four hour trip at Hilton Falls with a hot dog lunch in the middle.

Gold Project — at the Classics Conference.

I attended the Ontario Students Classics Conference twice for the Gold Project. I participated in academic and creative events and met a lot of other students from across Ontario who were also interested in Classics.

Gold adventurous journey — Killarney provincial park.

Gold Adventurous Journey — Portage in Killarney Provincial Park.

The best part of the DOE program, in my opinion, is the Adventurous Journey — an outdoors trip. My adventurous journey was a seven-night canoe trip in Killarney Provincial Park with two of my long time friends. We had canoe tripped together every summer for seven years with our camp and were ready for our first independent trip. I got my Wildlife First Aid Certificate in preparation, learned to be independent and also had fun climbing up Silver Peak and wading through mud.

Overall, completing the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award has been a challenging but very rewarding experience. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone interested in attempting the award to join the Duke of Ed Club run by Linden teacher Ellen Fowler.