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JIS News

The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, will on Tuesday (Feb.6) present gold awards to some 34 young people from high schools and community groups across the island, for outstanding achievement in skill areas, community service, recreation and expedition.The presentations will be made at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards ceremony slated for King’s House at 3:45 p.m.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities designed to support the personal and social development of young people age 14 to 25 years.
National Director of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Jamaica, Vernon Derby, told JIS News that the programme “gives young people a chance to work with each other.they learn to work as a team, and to develop character and leadership skills.” They also learn a skill or hobby, participate in recreational activities or give service to their communities.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a worldwide programme, which started in Britain in 1956 as a means of allowing young people to become more balanced persons, by engaging in tasks that foster independence and the development of self worth.
There are three categories of award, each requiring an increasing level of commitment and effort. The gold award, the highest honour, is presented to persons 16 years and older, who have diligently completed eight months to two years of activities and exhibit responsible adult behaviour and citizenship.
Youngsters 15 years or above may enter the silver award category and must be engaged in tasks for 12 to 18 months, while persons aged 14 years and over may gain the bronze award, which can be achieved within six months to a year.
Mr. Derby noted that the programme had grown tremendously over its 50 years of existence and was in more than 100 countries including most Caribbean regions. Jamaica has been involved in the programme since 1961.
The Earl of Wessex is chairman of the International Council for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Association.