A room full of young people really were as good as gold on Saturday 13th September as Prince Edward informed them that they had earned the right to walk a little taller after they successfully completed an adventure that many never complete. What was that adventure? The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
The Earl of Wessex personally shook hands with 87 young yet very high achievers during a ceremony at Government House in Victoria as part of his and The Countess of Wessex’s British Columbia tour.
The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme was established by Prince Philip way back in 1956 and it aims to help youngsters develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities through self reliance and most importantly perseverance. The thought behind the award scheme is individual challenge and remarkably it runs in more than 140 countries and over its longevity has seen more than eight million young people participate.
Prince Edward heaped praise on the youngsters during his speech at Government House, “You have stretched yourselves in ways that have perhaps surprised yourselves and others, and you’ve stepped outside that comfort zone, and as a result you’ve come through feeling much more confident about your own abilities and what you can do, which will serve you in good stead in the future. I wish you the very best of luck in all of that, and, once again, congratulations.”
One winner of the award, Sukhdeep Brar of Abbotsford, B.C has said that the award scheme helped her confront her lifelong fears of public speaking and it has turned her into an accomplished speaker and now a student politician. “Our world needs youth leaders to take on global challenges” she added.
The 18 month program saw some very unusual and remarkable challenges including humanitarian work in Senegal, achieving black belts in martial arts and volunteering in a haunted house. Edward concluded his speech by saying, “When you walk out of the room a bit later today just walk a few inches taller. Just feel a little bit proud of what you’ve actually managed to achieve. Well done.”
It really does seem that these 87 youngsters have taken the saying ‘Going for Gold’ quite literally and have achieved a remarkable feat, gold stars all around I say.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex are on a five day tour of British Columbia and will take in visits to Vancouver Island and West Kelowna.