Not all learning happens in the classroom. We are equipping young Americans for life.

AWARD PROGRAM

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, equipping young people for life. The Award is available for all young people aged 14 to 24, regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests. It is a fully inclusive program and has no social, political, or religious affiliations.

How is an Award achieved?

The Award is a program of activities. Each young person who takes part in the Award learns a skill, improves their physical fitness, volunteers in their community and experiences a team adventure in a new environment. Success in the Award is measured by regular participation over a fixed period of time while showing commitment and progress in each activity. All participants are supported by a network of adult mentors called Award Leaders, Assessors, and Coordinators.

The key elements of our program:

  1. Age Open to all between the ages of 14 and 24.
  2. Three Levels Bronze, Silver, and Gold, each progressively more challenging.
  3. Four Sections Physical Recreation, Skills, Service, Adventurous Journey, plus Residential Project (Gold Level only).
  4. ImpactAchieving an Award recognizes individual goal setting and self-improvement through persistence and achievement.

The fundamentals of the Award

  • Requires regular participation in activities to meet the time requirements of each Award Section and Level.
  • Focuses on capacity building by encouraging all young people to make independent decisions and to negotiate priorities through participation.
  • Provides a framework that works with all young people including those at risk, marginalized, in regional and remote communities, and with disabilities.
  • Assists with the provision of social infrastructure in the community and draws together and connects people, institutions and generations with the common purpose of youth development and inclusion.

 

The Award Framework

The Award is comprised of three levels and four sections. Participants complete all four Sections at each level in order to achieve either their Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. At Gold level, Participants also complete a Residential Project.

Service

The Service Section encourages young people to volunteer their time to understand the benefits of service to their community.

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Skills

The Skills Section encourages the development of personal interests and practical and social skills.

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Physical Recreation

The Physical Recreation Section encourages participation in sport and other physical activitiy for the improvement of health, wellbeing and fitness.

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Adventurous Journey

The Adventurous Journey Section encourages a sense of adventure while undertaking a team journey or expedition.

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Residential Projects

The Residential Project offers Gold Award Participants unique experiences that truly broaden horizons and challenge their outlook.

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Bronze

For those 14 years of age or older.

3 Months

Averaging at least one hour per week each. Plus an extra 3 months in one of either Service, Skills, or Physical Recreation sections as the ‘Major’ section.

2 days/1 night

Plus training and at least one practice journey.

N/A
GOLD
AWARD
ONLY

Silver

For those 15 years of age or older.

6 Months

Averaging at least one hour per week each. Plus an extra 6 months in one of either Service, Skills, or Physical Recreation sections as the ‘Major’ section if Bronze Award not previously completed.

3 days/2 nights

Plus training and at least one practice journey.

N/A
GOLD
AWARD
ONLY

Gold

For those 16 years of age or older.

12 Months

Averaging at least one hour per week each. Plus an extra 12 months in one of either Service, Skills, or Physical Recreation sections as the ‘Major’ section if Silver Award not previously completed.

4 days/3 nights

Plus training and at least one practice journey.

5 days/4 nights

Three Levels

Bronze

For those 14 years of age or older.

Silver

For those 15 years of age or older.

Gold

For those 16 years of age or older.

The Sections

There are four Sections of activities for all Award levels, plus a Residential Project for the Gold Award only:

Service

The Service Section encourages young people to volunteer their time to understand the benefits of service to their community.

Learn More

Skills

The Skills Section encourages the development of personal interests and practical and social skills.

Learn More

Physical Recreation

The Physical Recreation Section encourages participation in sport and other physical activitiy for the improvement of health, wellbeing and fitness.

Learn More

Adventurous Journey

The Adventurous Journey Section encourages a sense of adventure while undertaking a team journey or expedition.

Learn More

Residential Projects

The Residential Project offers Gold Award Participants unique experiences that truly broaden horizons and challenge their outlook.

Learn More

Service

Participants are required to volunteer for community service over a set period of time that enables them to experience the benefits that their service provides to others and the benefits to their own well-being that is found in providing service.

Examples of Service:

  • Visiting and supporting people in need, such as the elderly, or disabled
  • Volunteering at a hospital or local care home
  • Sports coaching
  • Helping with a local charity
  • Teaching or Tutoring

 

Skills

Providing the opportunity for a Participant to either improve on an existing skill or to try something new, the Skills section requires a commitment over time to progress a skill. Participants experience a sense of achievement and well-being, and possibly improved employability through the development of life and vocational skills.

Examples of Skills:

  • Music – singing, learning to play an instrument
  • Sports-related – sports officiating, umpiring/refereeing, maintenance
  • Arts and crafts – ceramics, embroidery, drawing, photography
  • Nature and the environment – agriculture, astronomy, fishing, gardening
  • Communication – film and video, languages, public speaking, journalism

 

 

Physical Recreation

Encouraging healthy behavior has benefits, not only for Participants but also for their communities, whether through improved health, or active participation in team activities. This Section specifically aims to improve the health, team skills, self-esteem and confidence of Participants.

Examples of Physical Recreation:

  • Ball sports – football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis
  • Athletics – running, jumping, throwing, triathlon, decathlon
  • Water sports – surfing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, polo, diving, rowing
  • Martial arts – karate, judo, kickboxing, boxing, taekwondo, kendo
  • Animal sports – horse riding, polo
  • Other Activities including dancing, gymnastics, cycling

 

Adventurous Journey

The Adventurous Journey can be an exploration or an expedition, but must be a challenge. The Adventurous Journey provides Participants with the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop their self-confidence, team work and health. Participants are taken out of their comfort zone through journeying through in an unfamiliar environment but are suitably trained and supervised to remain safe and secure.

Examples of Adventurous Journeys:

  • Exploring the natural world: flora, fauna, erosion, geology, coastal studies
  • Exploring river valleys, plant studies, exploring human impact: visitors in national parks
  • Completing a demanding journey by foot, cycle, canoe or kayak
  • Kayaking the entire navigable stretch of a river
  • Climbing mountainous peaks
  • Cycling from one part of a state to another

Three Types of Adventurous Journeys

  1. Expeditions A journey with a purpose
  2. Explorations A purpose with a journey
  3. Adventurous Projects (only for those 18+ years of age)

 

Residential Project

The Residential Project, only required at the Gold level, gives Participants the chance to work with people from different backgrounds and build confidence living in new environments. Participants choose a unique Residential Project that does not include their everyday peer group.

Examples of Residential Projects:

  • White water rafting through mountains
  • Taking part in historical reenactment
  • Building new hiking trails in a national park
  • Being a leader at a children’s camp
  • Learning a new language at a foreign language immersion camp
  • Attending a conference as a youth representative
The difference the Award has made to me is gaining more independence, being able to achieve new things, and do activities I haven't done before. It has also given me something else to focus on other than my aches and pains all the time.

– Scott Green, Bronze Award holder
Watch My Story

Through this journey of self-discovery, our Participants:

• Are equipped and empowered to achieve their personal best
• Learn to take responsibility for their goals and choices
• Become connected to and actively engaged within their immediate community

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A longstanding global network

Founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, today over 140 countries and territories have adopted the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program and more than one million young people are actively participating in the Award.

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