DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S AWARD SCHEME
Ever wanted to challenge yourself?
If you are 13 years and nine months or over, and interested in doing something that takes you beyond the everyday, then the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is for you.
You can design the program yourself based on your interests. It covers four key areas.
- Skills – anything from playing in a band to fashion design to film and video making. You decide.
- Volunteering Service – choose your area of interest in the community, such as youth work, the environment or charity work.
- Adventurous Journey – challenge yourself and head off with a group into an unfamiliar environment.
- Physical Recreation – get out there and get sweating. Dancing, adventure sports, ball sports, martial arts, the list goes on.
To receive an award, you just need to set yourself challenges and strive to reach them. That’s what life is all about. The idea is to develop skills and confidence, which you will retain wherever life takes you. The award allows you to piggy-back onto activities you may already be doing, such as surf lifesaving, playing a sport or volunteering. It also allows you to start something you've always dreamed of doing but haven't had the reason to begin.
There are three levels to the award, and they all take different lengths of time.
- Bronze takes a minimum of six months; you can start this level at 13 years and nine months.
- Silver takes a minimum of six to 12 months; you can start this level at 14 years and nine months.
- Gold takes between 12 and 18 months; you can start this level at 16 years or over.
What do you get out of it?
Like so many things, you get out of it what you put in. For example, if you really want to be in a band, you can use the skills section to focus on learning an instrument and for service you could volunteer at a community arts centre. At the end of the program, not only could you receive an award, but you could also be well on the way to playing in a band fulltime. Some of the greatest rewards include:
- achieving something for yourself
- becoming more confident
- getting new skills
- having some great experiences
- international recognition
- building community involvement
- formal recognition for service
- building a sense of worth and belonging
- forging strong friendships
- building a strong sense of self.
Not to mention having a lot of fun in the process.
Dukes at St Clare’s
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme has been offered at St Clare’s High School since 2011. In that time, it has grown from a small pilot program of 16 students to where we are today. We have had students complete all levels of the award. However, only a small number have made it to the Gold level, an achievement that deserves huge recognition.
Students from St Clare’s have engaged in a wide range of activities for the awards, from teaching disabled kids to swim to flying planes … the decision is yours. In terms of our adventurous journeys, we offer a range of experiences depending on the level you are undertaking.
Bronze: Students who engage in their Bronze Award can expect to complete a 36km mountain bike ride, camp in the bush with your mates, abseil down a 25m cliff and spend two days walking on one of the best tracks in the district. Here you will climb near-vertical rock walls, push through dense vegetation and experience wonderful views of the Manning Valley.
Silver: There are two Silver trips available to students from St Clare’s. The first is a 13-day trip to the Northern Territory, where you will experience total isolation in some of Australia’s most unique and beautiful landscapes and gaze on crocodiles, buffalo, wild pigs, and ancient Aboriginal rock art. You will also get to swim in amazing, secluded pools with the clearest water you have ever seen. This is truly a life-changing experience … you’ll love it.
The second trip is to the Oxley Wild Rivers, New England area. Here you will discover some amazing scenery while you are introduced to the side of your personality you never knew you had. Students on this journey complete a 68km walk into the Upper Macleay Gorge over five days. It’s a challenging walk, where you will learn to navigate using the sun and stars, find water where you wouldn’t expect, rely on your teammates, and push your boundaries.
Gold: The Gold adventurous journey is the pinnacle of the Duke’s crown at St Clare’s. After completing you practice journey, you will engage in a 100km walk that starts high up in the Chandler Gorge and ends five days later at Georges Junction. This is a challenging and confronting experience that has students walking without the support of a teacher, putting into practice all they have learnt over the past three years. We have had a number of students complete this walk now and all report that it was the most rewarding experience in the Duke of Edinburgh program.
Whichever level you choose to do, there is one thing you can be assured of … the experiences you will have will be unlike anything you have had at school before. It will change your life.
ST CLARE'S ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP
This is a group of students, teachers and parents from the St Clare’s community that actively collaborates to ensure a sustainable future for all. Members join in an effort to make a difference in the St Clare’s environment as well as surrounding communities. Our positive and active group has established solid relationships with members of the wider community who have similar objectives and lines of thought.
Since the Environmental Group has begun, there have been a number of students involved who sought to make a difference and contributed in the development of projects such as:
- solar panels on the roof of the Maths/HSIE block
- water tanks and pumps to catch and supply our grounds with a more sustainable source
- a vegetable garden
- working compost bins
- establishment of a stable colony of native Australian bees to assist in the pollination process of plant species in our gardens
- beautification of the street side of the hall with a variety of plants that will assist in reducing our carbon footprint.
As a part of the group, students become highly engaged members of the St Clare’s community. They develop skills that enable them to branch their environmental practices into the wider community to ensure ecological sustainability and intergenerational equality for our future.