THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S INTERNATIONAL AWARD GIBRALTAR

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2021 started much like 2020 ended, with the uncertainty of how the ongoing COVID-19 situation would impact on plans to celebrate a significant milestone for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Gibraltar.

The Award in Gibraltar had plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary but it was not clear if anything could be done because of the pandemic.  However, as the year progressed, it became possible to go ahead with some celebrations.

AWARDS PRESENTATION CEREMONY

With an inability to host an Awards Presentation Ceremony in 2020 coupled with the 2021 cohort of Awardees there were 120 young people eligible to be presented with their Awards at a ceremony, at Grand Battery House, on Tuesday 19th October 2021.  His Excellency The Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL, as Patron of the Award in Gibraltar, and John May OBE DL, Secretary General of the International Award Foundation, presented Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at a ceremony which was attended by families, Award leaders, activity coaches, assessors, sponsors, and many others.

The young people who received their Awards had been involved in a wide variety of activities geared towards completing the requirements of the Award.  Some would have been involved for about a year whereas others will have been involved for a couple of years; the latter to achieve the Gold Award.

For over sixty years, millions of young people have participated and received Awards, with millions more benefiting from its impact on communities around the world.  Through non-formal education, the Award can play a critical role in a young person’s personal development and is achievable by any young person who wants to take up the challenge.

The Award gives young people, aged 14 to 24, the opportunity to experience challenges and adventures, acquire new skills and make new friends.  Young people who do the Award become more confident and resilient, and develop skills in areas such as communication, problem solving and leadership.  This in turn impacts on their communities, who see improvements in areas including employability, health and well-being, and educational attainment.  The Award aims to help young people become #WorldReady via non-formal education.

The Award comprises four sections.  The Voluntary Service section intended to develop a sense of community and social responsibility.  The Adventurous Journey aims to cultivate a spirit of adventure and discovery and an understanding of the environment.  The Skills section develops cultural, vocational, and practical skills and the Physical Recreation section encourages improved performance and fitness.  The Gold Award has an additional section, the Gold Residential Project, which sees participants undertake some form of purposeful enterprise whilst living away from home for a week.

To complete the Voluntary Service requirements the young people receiving Awards will have, amongst other things, assisted with animal welfare, helped at various charities, dog walking, sports coaching, and officiating, conservation and environmental work and, assisting at the Cancer Relief Centre, church upkeep, as well as other activities.

For their Skills they will have learnt about acting, art, chess, cookery, debating, drama, first aid, gardening, online gaming, and cybersecurity, knitting, learning other languages, playing musical instruments, photography, reading, sewing, singing and other pastimes.

All have completed a physically challenging expedition as part of the Adventurous Journey requirements and this has seen them hike a minimum of either, 24 km (Jimena de la Frontera/Sierra de Grazalema), 48 km (Sierra de Gredos) or, 80 km (Cevennes) depending on which Award they are receiving.

The recipients have also been heavily involved in sports.  For Physical Recreation there has been involvement in athletics, badminton, basketball, dance, fitness training, football, gymnastics, hockey, horse riding, ice skating, kayaking, lawn tennis, martial arts, netball, rowing, rugby, sailing, squash, swimming, table tennis, and volleyball, to name but a few.

All these varied activities require the support of a small team of dedicated, volunteer, Award leaders who make all the arrangements and take the participants on their adventurous journeys.  In addition, there are countless volunteers who give their time to teach, supervise and assess the young people in their chosen activities.  To all of them the Award’s Board of Trustees owes a debt of gratitude and thanks them for their untiring efforts and support.

Many of the recipients have already commenced their activities towards their Silver and Gold Awards and we wish them every success for the future.  Some have themselves also volunteered to become Award leaders either, before heading off to further their studies at university or, having returned from completing them.

ANNIVERSARY DINNER

Apart from celebrating the achievements of the young people there was also the opportunity to celebrate with Corporate Sponsors, Award Operators and Award Leaders.

A dinner was held on 20th October at the Sunborn with principal guests being His Excellency The Governor, the Secretary General and Minister for Youth, Steven Linares.  Also in attendance were representatives of the Corporate Sponsors who have over the years generously supported the Award in its activities.

However, the dinner also gave the opportunity for the Award to celebrate the work of the many volunteers who deliver the Award to young people.  The Award Operators comprising the Air Training Corps, Open Award Centre, Prior Park School, and the Scouts Gibraltar Branch were represented by their senior management teams.  Also present were the volunteer Award Leaders who spend many hours during the year guiding and assisting the young people to complete their Award journeys.

In a relaxed setting all enjoyed a sumptuous meal and had a chance to look back on 50 years of a very successful Award in Gibraltar.

During the dinner the outgoing Chairman of the Board of Trustees, David Dumas QC, handed over formally to his successor Dale Cruz, both Award holders themselves, reflecting that although he had initially only taken on the role for 5 years he had done 20 years.  He thanked his colleagues on the Board for all their support over the years.  Apart from being presented with some retirement gifts David was presented with an International Certificate of Recognition for services to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association.

If you are interested in becoming involved be it as a participant, leader, supervisor or wish to contribute financially or otherwise please contact the National Director, Michael Pizzarello, on 20051971 or, email michael.pizzarello@thedukes.gi, or visit the ‘Dukes’ website www.thedukes.gi

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