Irving, TX. â€“ Jan. 17, 2018 â€“ Youth participating in the variety of programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America can now earn international recognition for the character- and leadership-building skills they learn thanks to a new partnership recently announced by the Boy Scouts of America and The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA. In conjunction with BSA programs, The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA offers youth out-of-the-classroom experiences designed to empower and equip Scouts, Venturers and Explorers to take on the best opportunities the world has to offer.
Both organizations emphasize self-development of youth, building character, life- and employability skills and exploring the outdoors. In Scouting, participants earn merit badges, ranks and other medals for completion of training and projects, just as Venturers can earn a number prestigious awards through the program. In the Award program, participants each earn their Award for completion of goal-oriented activities over time, and many of the activities that youth participating in BSA programs already do to earn BSA awards and distinctions can help them earn their Award, as well.
â€śThe Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is a natural fit with Scoutingâ€™s programs, and we are proud to offer additional opportunities that develop and recognize the achievements of youth as the future leaders of the world,â€ť said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America.
â€śThe Award program will build additional avenues for Scouts to use a globally-tested framework to guide their activities and earn international recognition for their accomplishments,â€ť shared Elizabeth Higgins-Beard, CEO of The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA. â€śYouth participating in both programs will have resume- and college application-boosting achievements for their future domestic and international endeavors.â€ť
Youth are challenged over time with goals in four section activities: skills, volunteer service, physical recreation and outdoor adventure. Youth who earn their Award at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels are awarded a certificate of recognition and a medal for their achievements at local celebrations; Gold-level Award holders are celebrated at a national Gold ceremony hosted by the Award USA.
Award participants will access the expertise of BSA councils for training and supervision of backpacking and other outdoor adventures. The Award also provides training and online resources for mentoring adult Award Leaders, equipping leaders with the tools that help youth succeed.
â€śThe correlations between the BSAâ€™s programs and the Award are incredible â€“ emphasis on going outdoors, building leadership, and a dedication to service â€“ these two efforts can work together in a significant way,â€ť shared Jennifer Hancock, a long-time volunteer leader who added the Award program to her Venturing program five years ago.
At the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, Higgins-Beard and Surbaugh invited Scouts ages 14-24 to begin their Award, agreeing that â€śevery Scout should do the Awardâ€ť and involvement in these programs is vital to becoming prepared for life.