News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2961
Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12pm

Drumheller Rotary joins Pennies for Polio

    Rotary International has been actively working to eradicate polio around the globe.
    Today the club and its partners are on the verge of success, but a strong push is needed to root it out once and for all.
    This is why the Drumheller Rotary Club is participating in the Pennies for Polio Campaign.
    Residents can support the campaign to eradicate the debilitating disease by donating their pennies during the week of October 17, leading up to World Polio Day on October 24.
    Pennies can be dropped at the Drumheller Health Centre, the ScotiaBank or at the Rotary Radio Auction coming up at Greentree Mall.
    Rotary has a goal of raising $200 million to match a $355 million in-challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The club has until June 30 of next year to reach that mark.
    Polio is an infectious viral disease. If it enters the central nervous system, it can cause anything from muscle weakness to paralysis. Vaccines were developed in the 1950s and the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary Clubs have worked hard to eradicate the disease. The Americas were declared polio free in 1994, and Europe in 2002. The number of cases in 1988 was 350,000. The best year on record is 2001, with only 483 cases.
    The resulting $555 million from the Pennies for Polio and matching grant will support an immunization campaign in developing countries that have seen it reintroduced, or have pockets where it is still present. As of 2006, it is still and epidemic in India, Afghanistan Pakistan and Nigeria.
    According to a release, if polio is not eradicated, it is estimated that 10 million children will be paralysed in the next 40 years.

RCMP collaboration launches Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards to area youth

    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 They have also launched a local blog found at
    Watch for more information on a community launch in the coming weeks.


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