Ben took on the challenge of the Award as a way to become more confident in himself. Having now achieved his Gold Award, organised cadet parades, been on two model UN delegations overseas and more it can be safely said that he has come along way in being confident in himself since starting the Award.
Why did you decide to do the Award?
I had always found it difficult to be confident in myself and always shied away from anything that seemed difficult on paper. The Duke of Edinburg's International Award looked like something that would make me have to do something outside of my comfort zone and would help me improve as a person.
What activities are you doing for your Award?
For the service component, I chose to use my participation in my school Cadet Unit where in my capacity of Cadet Under Officer (CUO), along with 5 others, plan, organise and conduct weekly parades with over 100 cadets involved in the unit.
The unit was also lucky to be able to go to Maria Island for a week-longhike which I used for my Adventurous Journey. The weather was horrible, raining down buckets at the beginning of the hike, forcing us to change our hiking route and schedule. Thankfully, the weather improved slightly and we were able to climb Bishop and Clerk and Mt Maria!
My residential project involved being part of a Delegation to 2 Model United Nations at Yale University and Harvard University for a week. I met so many different people from so many different countries and it really opened my eye to how lucky I am to live in Australia.
I chose to use my squad swimming training sessions for my physical component as this improved my physical fitness.
For the skill component, I chose to use my involvement in the school orchestra where I was the Concert Master and led 40 other people in various concerts.
Are you using your Award (and particularly your Voluntary Service section) to help your community deal with the challenges of of COVID-19? If so, how?
Due to COVID-19, all ANZAC Parades and Services were cancelled, so in response the Australian Army Cadets, in line with RSL, coordinated an AZAC Day Driveway Vigil which thousands of Cadets were involved with. As a youth leader in my community, it is important that I give back, and help those in need, and this initiative gave me the opportunity to do so.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your time doing the Award?
If anyone thinks that doing the Duke of Ed Award is "too much of a hassle" or "nobody else is doing it so why should I", I'd say, think again; Doing the Award will hold you in good stead, not only will you make new friends and learn new skills, you will make memories that will last a lifetime.
If there's anything that I've learnt from completing the Duke of Ed, it's that you should, as Roman poet Horace wrote, "Carpe diem." Quite literally, "seize the day". Life is short, so enjoy life whilst you can. Make new friends, make the most of the opportunities in life, and, most importantly, make your life extraordinary.