Monday, February 15, 2010

Going for the Gold

This does not refer to this month's winter Olympians in Vancouver, but rather, it does refer to some other Canadians.

They are the students of Trinity College School of Ontario, and they are about to complete their final stage of the Duke of Edinburgh Program for receiving the Gold Award here in Costa Rica with Outward Bound.

Leaders Jen Powles (Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator), Tom Tansley (Health & Physical Education Teacher), Laura Tansley (his wife), and Alex Oosterhof (Student Teacher) have accompanied 14 Trinity College students to the rainforest, all of whom are striving to achieve the coveted Gold Award this week through backpacking, homestays, rafting, surfing, and more.

This is no standard high school award program. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is internationally-renowned (run in 120 countries), and it can take about two years to accomplish all three levels (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). It requires an expedition, 45 hours of community service, a six-month hobby, and sport participation for 20 weeks (with a minimum of 2 hours a week).

Costa Rica has been no vacation for these high-achievers. Students in this particular "expedition" group must:
  • turn in a map of what they walked, complete with lunch and breaks mapped out
  • do 8 hours of activity each day
  • travel 20km a day
  • have a main expedition of 3 nights and 4 days, with 1 “preparation” day beforehand

The purposes of this Gold Award achievement? Well, they're very similar to our own mission at Costa Rica Outward Bound, actually. Students set their own goals and choose their own activities in the four areas of the program: Community Service, Personal Skill Development, Physical Recreation, and Adventurous Journey. The D of E mission states:

To inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.

Participants have until they are 24 years old to complete this. Upon completing the Gold Award they receive a pin and certificate presented by a member of the Royal family at a ceremony.

No comments: