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Vlasia - Batemans BayAt the age of 15 Vlasia Yiannaros pushed herself out of her comfort zone to complete her Bronze Award through the Open Award Centre. Vlasia lives in Batemans Bay (NSW) which unfortunately has no operators which run The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. However she was rather determined to find a way in which she could participate. “My mother called all the local high schools within a 70km radius and had no luck. We then spoke to The Duke of Ed [National Office] who put us onto the Open Award Centre.”

Following this Vlasia chose to learn piano for her Skill, play basketball for her Physical Recreation and volunteer for her school’s canteen. “I chose to volunteer in my school canteen...they are always looking for volunteers in recess and lunch breaks. It was my opportunity to give back to my school,” says Vlasia.

The Adventurous Journey was slightly more of a challenge to organise for Valisa however an opportunity came up thanks to two of her friends. They were both completing their Bronze Award through another school, Bethany College. Even though they were located almost four hours apart, Vlasia’s friends suggested partnering up and doing her Adventurous Journey with the Bronze Participants from their school. She took the challenge on, participating in this journey with people she had never met before, almost four hours away from home.

Pushing through the Comfort Zone

On traversing the wilderness with this team, Vlasia noticed a sense of teamwork and friendship form between everyone. “I found it really easy to get on with the other girls. I found all the girls very friendly, warm and welcoming which made it a lot easier for me” Vlasia said.

“The highlight of my Duke of Ed experience was the Adventurous Journey when I was outdoors in the bush. I was climbing over large rocks and scaling my way down steep areas of the track. I found the whole experience helped me grow as a person. I had the chance to experience something out of my comfort zone and it gave me the opportunity to make new friends” exclaimed Vlasia.

When asked what she gained from completing The Duke of Ed, Vlasia responded, “I developed new friendships, new experiences, a sense of achievement and the ability to build relationships with new people. I am very excited to start my Silver Award.”