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The Award is Launched in the UK
Against this backdrop The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was set up in 1956, by HRH Prince Philip, Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest.
Based on the philosophy of Hahn, founder and headmaster of Gordonstoun School in Scotland, the Programme was designed around four sections: Rescue & Public Service Training, the Expedition, Pursuits & Projects, and Fitness.
Although initially only available to boys aged between 14 and 18, there was great demand for a similar scheme for girls, and this was launched in September 1958. The Programme continued to evolve over subsequent decades, until 1980. At this point, the upper age limit was extended to 25, and the Programme took on its current four Section format of:
The Award Goes Global
As soon as the Award was launched there was great interest from outside the UK. It spread initially through the enthusiasm of international schools, but soon youth organisations across the British Commonwealth were running the Programme.
By 1971 the Award operated in 31 countries; this had increased to 48 countries by 1989 as it spread beyond the boundaries of the Commonwealth. Such rapid expansion led to the formation of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association (IAA) in 1988. At the same time, the overall title of The International Award for Young People was adopted to describe the Award worldwide.
Many countries adopted different names for their Award Programme particularly those outside the Commonwealth. These different names still exist today. You can find out more about how the Award is known around the world by visiting the National Award Authorities page. The main thing to remember is that whatever the name, the Award’s the same!
An Award for All Young People
Global expansion over the last 50 years has enabled the Award to reach more and more young people. Today there are over 120 countries operating the Award – 60 of these on a national basis. However, the Programme is now expanding in other ways, targeting those who have not previously had opportunities to develop themselves. Recent Award projects around the world have focused on involving young offenders, those with disabilities, street kids and aboriginal communities. The impact of the Award on many of these young people is extraordinary: it transforms their lives.
The Award has come a long way since 1956, when it was launched in the UK. It is as relevant as ever and has something to offer every young person in the world, wherever they are, and whatever their circumstances.
The three Level, four Section format of the Award Programme makes it very versatile. It can be adapted so that it's relevant to any young person, anywhere in the world.
The Programme is based around three Levels, each successive one requiring a greater degree of commitment.
To gain an Award, participants must complete activities in four Sections for a specified minimum period of time. There is an additional requirement of a Residential Project at Gold Level. Participants decide what they would like to do for each Section.
Participants engage with their community and discover the impact they can have through:
The Adventurous Journey is about adventure and discovery. Participants develop an understanding of the environment, and the importance of working together in a team with a common purpose. It can be on foot, by bicycle, boat or on horseback. Training, preparation, self sufficiency and self-reliance are the key elements.
The Skills Section is about developing personal interests and learning practical skills. There are almost limitless possibilities to choose from. There is no set standard that participants must reach: they set their own goals and measure their progress against them.
By undertaking some form of organised and regular physical activity, participants show perseverance and improve their fitness. Their goal is to record their individual progress. Most team and individual sports are included, such as football, athletics, and archery.
This is only a requirement at Gold Level. It aims to broaden experience through living and working with others (who are not everyday companions). The project takes place over a period of five consecutive days. It requires resilience, adaptability and consideration for others.
First you can check with your school, your church or your community group to find out if a Duke of Edinburgh's Award Unit is active there. If a unit is not active there, then speak to the head of the organization and tell them of your interest in becoming a part of this international prestigious programme. Direct the head to our web site for more information. You can call us at 578-4031 ir 929-9546 and ask us to make contact with the head of the insitution.
If a unit is already active at the organization, then all you need to do is to download the participant form at Download participant form and complete this form. Ensure that the form is signed by your parents or guardians. Attach a passport size picture to the form and hand the form to the person responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme at the institution (Unit Leader).
The unit leader will send a copy of your participant form to our headquarters at 2 Waterloo Road, Kingston 10 along with your picture. The form can be faxed to us at 968-6218. You will then need to purchase one of our record book for JAD150. Your record book is used by your supervisors to sign off when you have covered an area in the programme.
You are now ready to start the programme after your Unit Leader will have had an orientation session with you. The requirements will be outline to you at this orientation session. Of course your will decide where you will like to give your service. You must have the person who is supervising you for your service, complete a volunteer registration form which has to be signed by the head of the institution and the form along with a passport size picture sent to our National Award Authority (NAA).
Your will also need to have those persons who will be supervising your recreational activities and your skill complete a volunteer form which is to sent to the NAA.
You are now on your way to being a part of a programme which exist in over 110 countries and is a prestigious character building programme. Soon you will be able to put on your resume that you have completed your Bronze, Silver and Gold in the DUke of Edinbugh's Award Programme. You will then be presented with your award at the Jamaica Pegasus or at Kings House by the Governor General or the Prime Minister or some other well know personality. Soon you will have a certificate from an International prestigious organization indicating that you have participated in the activities of a character building programme.