Drumheller has become a launching pad for a project that could make a significant impact on young people in the valley now, and in the future.
The RCMP has collaborated with the Duke of Edinburgh Society to facilitate youth participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
This self-development program has had an effect on almost seven million young people in 130 countries. Drumheller is the first community in Alberta, and one of five in Western Canada to introduce the partnership. It is a three-year pilot program.
On Tuesday afternoon, Constable Tom Dobrich, was joined by representatives of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards to introduce the program to Drumheller Valley Secondary School high school students.
“It is an opportunity to improve yourself and the community you live in,” said Dobrich to the students gathered in Kaleidoscope Theatre.
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, established the award in 1956 as a way four young people to develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and their community. The program was launched in Canada in 1966. It is a prestigious award that is recognized internationally. It is the second highest honour a youth can earn in Alberta, and a member of the Royal family or the Governor General presents a Gold Award in a national ceremony.
One of the unique aspects of the program is that it is self-directed and individual. Young people from the age of 14-25 can participate. To complete the program they must fulfil requirements in four categories; community service, personal skill development, physical recreation and an adventurous journey. To earn a Gold Award, there is also a residential project where the young person will take on a challenge where they will live and work outside their regular support system for five days.
Earning a Bronze Award takes in the area of six months and requires 15 hours of community Service, 30 hours of physical recreation and a two-day adventurous journey. A Silver Award requires a year to complete and has a community service component of 24 hours over 12 months or 30 hours over six months, 40 hours of physical recreation over 20 weeks and a three day adventurous journey.
The Gold standard takes about 18 months to complete and requires 90 hours of community service or 60 hours over 12 months, 50 hours in physical recreation of 25 weeks, a four-day adventurous journey and a residential project.
Benefits of the program include growth and self-discovery, motivation and goal setting. Achieving the Award is a great addition to a resume and can assist youth in earning scholarships.
Constable Dobrich told the students that the program is often offered as part of the curriculum of private schools and colleges.
The program can be done individually, or through groups such as the Sea Cadets, Guide and Scout groups or school.
The partnership with the RCMP has allowed the community to build a local mentorship group and in preparation of launching the program have a trained team of volunteers to help facilitate the program.
Continuing this week, Dobrich and representatives of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards are presenting the program to schools throughout the area. The students will be provided with registration forms and materials explaining the Awards and the community challenge.
For more information on the program contact the RCMP at 403-823-7590 or program manager Chelsey Dawes 403-651-8173. More information can be found at www.dukeofed.org. They have also launched a local blog found at http://theawardcyc.wordpress.com.
Watch for more information on a community launch in the coming weeks.