Foreword by: Joel Grant, Operations Manager of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation
Not all learning happens in the classroom. In today’s global context, it is evident that in order to become the best possible versions of themselves, young people must develop the necessary life skills needed to face life’s increasingly complex issues with resilience and determination.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award equips young people for life. It is the world’s leading youth achievement award. In 2016 more than 1.3 million young people around the world took part in the award, in over 130 countries and territories.
Since its launch 60 years ago, the foundation has inspired millions of young people to transform their lives. By creating opportunities for young people to develop skills, get physically active, provide service and experience adventure; the award can play a critical role in development outside the classroom. It also allows their achievement to be consistently recognised worldwide, giving young people unique international accreditation through their experiences.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is transforming individuals, communities and societies around the world. Young people who become engaged in achieving the award are more confident and resilient, and develop skills in areas such as communication, problem solving and leadership. This in turn impacts on their communities with improvements in areas including employability, health and well-being, and educational attainment.?
As a product of the award myself and having witnessed the substantial impact it has on young people’s lives from different cultures all around the world, I am a firm believer in its framework for young people to achieve their full potential. Here are some of the participants from Singapore National Academy in Surabaya.
Brian Giovanni Halim – Aged 14
Don’t live life as it is meant to be lived. Change its course through harsh conditions to see the wonders of life. I honestly can not remember when I first read these words, but they are ingrained in my thoughts.
I am actively involved in school life and doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is one of the most enriching elements for myself. I have to admit that I am very excited about doing physical activities since I love sports such as basketball, swimming and gym. However, I was never really compelled to do any service in my community. This all changed when I realized I could follow my passion and use my skills when I am also helping others.
I had the opportunity to join a basketball coaching programme at my school. After volunteering for the award, I became more involved in the community, teaching youngsters on the basketball court and making new friends. I became a lot more confident and strove to be a better coach day by day. Also, it was great to see the players improve their basketball skills along with their attitude. Nowadays, I can tell stories and give them advice about not only being a better basketball player, but also about being a better child for their parents.
For myself, the award was a learning journey out of the classroom, which taught me the values and qualities to become an impactful human being. I believe the activities you follow might provide you with motivation and incentive to divulge in many new experiences. Most of all, as young people, we have the opportunity to discover many first-hand experiences that can help us to make important choices in our future.
Wilson Wongosari – Aged 15
For extracurricular activities, most schools usually have a few options with nothing quite exciting. However, on a particular chance, my school introduced the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. My initial thought was, “Well, it is an opportunity, so why not just take it?!”
Along the journey to the first bronze level, I found myself learning a lot; in particular, the “Adventurous Journey” section. At first, I thought it was just the normal boring camp that most schools provide, but it turned out to be so much more. Having set off for more than four journeys, there is also training and a practice before the actual qualifying one. We came across different challenges that the team needed to overcome.
You learn to survive in the wild, sleep in and set up tents while walking more than 15 kilometres with full hiking gear to defy the storms and cold of the mountainous region.
There was one case where one of my hiking teammates dealt with torrential rain crossing the “Sea of Sands” at Mount Bromo. I learnt a lot about myself and my friends that day!
In the end, it is more than just about surviving. It embeds leadership and cooperation as a group, so that’s why I’d recommend it to youngsters like myself.
Neha Nihad Shinde – Aged 15
About a year ago, I proudly volunteered for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. I have completed my Bronze Award and I am currently onto my silver. I had no idea that doing my International Award would be one of the best experiences in my life. Throughout my journey, I have done a variety of things that are out of my comfort zone and therefore challenged me to strive for the best. I’ve also met new people and developed life skills. My accomplishments through obtaining the award provide an opportunity for self-reflection since I have to upload progression logs and my reflections as evidence for its completion.
Recently, I began scuba diving for physical recreation. Frankly, it is something I never thought I would do. However, I have overcome my fears and built confidence and courage from trying an activity that previously seemed terrifying. Scuba diving is not merely a sport; it is a breath-taking experience where I indulge in a whole new world, and my horizon is broader than ever. To be submerged in a completely different environment is exciting, and new experiences like this give me a sense of myself and the career path I aspire to take in the future. “Can I be an astronaut?” I ask myself, a question I would never have asked before. The award is definitely a life-changing opportunity that has shaped me and is a golden ticket to a bright future.
Keelie Gunawan – Aged 17
I can still remember the day I first enrolled for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award since I was thrilled to have the diary with me. I have completed my bronze and silver levels, and I am currently working on the gold award.
My prime reason for getting enrolled in the award was to figure out what my real passions are. I didn’t really think that it would be something I may be doing for my future. However, I can proudly say that with the help of following the award, I’ve gotten closer to my future major in university from real experiences.
The various aspects of the Award have unleashed the potential in me. The skills section, which I am so thankful to have done, has been working in a radio station as an announcer at DJFM, airing once a week for three hours on a Saturday. Working on my own has taught me the value of being independent and I have gained an awareness of the hardships of life while the challenges posed at every step have helped me change my habit of complaining.
Also, most importantly, it has helped me a lot as I am focusing on my career path. I’ve enjoyed every step of the way since taking the microphone, the interviews and meetings with public figures such as Mr. Jordon Clarkson, a professional NBA player from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Overall, from time management to holistic development, the award has made me a completely new person and with regards to my future, has helped me excel at broadcasting for which I am passionate about.