Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme Image

Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

Ever wanted to challenge yourself?

If you are 13 and 9 months  or over and are interested in doing something that takes you beyond the everyday, then the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is for you. 
Basically, it is a program that you can design yourself, based on your interests and 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, to name a few..
  • Adventurous Journey - journey into an unfamiliar environment with a group, and challenge yourself.
  • Physical Recreation - get out there and get sweating!  Dancing, adventure sports, ball sports, martial arts, the list goes on.

To get an Award, you just need to set yourself challenges and strive to reach these challenges.  You see that’s what Dukes, and life, is all about. The idea is to develop skills and confidence which you always have, wherever life takes you.  The great thing about The Award is that it allows you to piggy-back onto activities you may already be doing, such as surf lifesaving, playing a sport or volunteering, and counting those towards your Award.  So 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 and 9 months or over
  • Silver takes a minimum of six-twelve months; you can start this level at 14 and 9 months or over
  • Gold takes between 12-18 months; you can start this level at 16 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 center.  At the end of the program, not only could you get an Award, but you could also be well on the way to playing in a band for real.
Some of the greatest rewards include:

  • Achieving something for yourself
  • Becoming more confident
  • Getting new skills
  • Having some great experiences
  • It is an international award.
  • Builds community involvement
  • Gives formal recognition for service
  • Builds a sense of worth and belonging
  • Forges strong friendships
  • Builds 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 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 very small number have made it to the Gold level, an achievement that deserves a huge congratulation.

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 that you are working on.

Bronze: Students who engage in their bronze award can expect to complete a 36km mountain bike ride, camp on the ground in the bush with your mates, Abseil down a 25m cliff and spend two days walking on one of the best walks in the district. Here you will climb near vertical walls of rock, 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, crocodiles, buffalo, wild pigs, ancient aboriginal rock art, not to mention that 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 5 days. It’s a challenging walk, where you will learn to navigate using the sun and stars, find water where you didn’t think there was any, rely on your team mates and push your boundaries.

Gold: The gold adventurous journey is the pinnacle the Dukes crown here at St Clare’s. After completing you practice journey, you will find yourself engaged in a 100km walk that starts high up in the Chandler Gorge and ends 5 days later at Georges Junction.  This is a very challenging and confronting experience that has students walking without the support of a teacher. Putting into practice all that 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. I can promise you this.