Students Attend Duke of Edinburgh Youth Summit

On April 25, Grade 10 students Zak Khan and Jack Brown attended the Duke of Edinburgh Youth Summit in Toronto with students who are working on their Award from across the GTA and had an opportunity to meet both HRH Prince Edward, the new Duke of Edinburgh and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell. The group of students spoke with Prince Edward and the Ltd. Governor about how the Award has positively impacted their lives and motivational speaker and Award Achiever, Fahd Alhattab, led them through a design-think workshop where ideas and opinions related to the future of the Award in Canada were discussed.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Canada lost a significant number of participants during the pandemic because of so many things being virtual, not to mention the passing of the former Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip in April 2021. The Award Program has taken the past few years to reorganize and rejuvenate and consider what might make the Award a better fit for Canadian society. 

“The Award is a do-it-yourself growing up kit. Its purpose is to help young people broaden their horizons while becoming responsible adults.” HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) 

Zak Khan shared the following about the experience:
“During the Youth Summit, we met fellow Duke of Edinburgh Award participants and learned the importance of connecting with others. We were placed into groups of eight students, all from different schools, where we highlighted important skills and values we have learned from working towards our awards. After this, we were given scenarios about the future of the Duke of Edinburgh Award to break down and answer discussion questions. Our ideas were shared with other groups, and our goal was to use our responses as a way to make the award a better experience for all. Last but certainly not least, the Duke of Edinburgh himself, Prince Edward, and the Lieutenant Governor met with each group, offering insight and motivation to continue to pursue the award, become involved leaders, and give back to our communities in order to give those around us a better experience and opportunity to succeed.

“For the past year, I have been working towards completing the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. This consists of four separate sections, including skill development, physical recreation, voluntary service, and an adventurous journey. Of the first three listed, one must be accomplished over a minimum of 26 hours, and the other two over 13. The adventurous journey is a minimum two-day expedition/exploration in an unfamiliar environment. For my skill development, I learned how to code in Java through an online course. My voluntary service portion was completed by working as a TA. I played tennis for the physical recreation section and went on a camping trip on Lake Temagami for my adventurous journey. Overall, the Duke of Edinburgh Award has enabled me to step outside of my comfort zone, learn new things about myself, and build meaningful connections with others. I would highly recommend everyone to give this award a shot, and discover something new!”

Jack Brown had this to say about the experience:
“The Duke of Edinburgh Youth Summit was a great experience. Aside from the honour of meeting the new Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Edward, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the summit also provided ample opportunities for us to connect with other students across Ontario and share our personal stories about the award. The summit ended with a powerful message, exploring the importance of giving back to our communities and becoming a stronger, more active leader. Overall, the Youth Summit was very engaging and inspiring. I am glad I had the opportunity to go.

“In my journey to complete my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, I took on a variety of experiences to fulfil requirements in four distinct categories: community service, physical recreation, skill development, and an adventurous journey.

“Working towards completing the award, I volunteered at an organization that teaches young Canadian immigrants how to read, joined the school’s basketball team, took up debating as an extracurricular, and even went on the school’s fantastic camping trip to Lake Temagami.

“All in all, the Duke of Edinburgh Award is a great and very rewarding experience. I would recommend anyone interested in the award to sign up.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Award empowers young people to learn and grow through non-formal education. To learn more on how you can become involved as a CDS student, speak with Ms. Castellan or click here.

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