Gold Awardee, Carl Rudolph from Mudgeeraba in Queensland, has always been happiest outdoors, exploring and facing challenges head on. When he first learned about The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, he knew it was something he wanted to get involved with, given it’s Adventurous Journey component, and thought “The criteria matched exactly the person I wanted to become and would assist me in pursuing my goal of having a future leadership position at my school.” Since beginning his Award in 2014, Carl completed all three Award Levels, opening up a number of opportunities to him, including setting up a business selling honey as a result of his desire to help the declining bee population – a business that helped him fund a trip to Nepal to climb to Everest base camp.
Carl was involved with a number of activities through his Award including canoeing down rapids for his Adventurous Journeys, and playing rugby weekly and long distance running for his Physical Recreation Section, leading him to complete the Gold Coast Half Marathon in 2016. As well as the half marathon, he also took part in the weekly 5km Parkrun events and through this decided for his Voluntary Service Award Section, he would volunteer as timekeeper at his local Mudgeeraba Parkrun.
Unlike his other Award Sections, Carl was initially unsure of what to pick for his Skill Section, but inspiration struck when he was watching a documentary.
“While living on an acreage, our family noticed a significant lack of bees in the area. Current news reports and documentaries drew our attention to the plight of the declining bee population around the world and Australia. It was, while watching a documentary on how China’s agriculture relies on hand pollination, which lead me to the idea of beekeeping.”
Carl decided to contact the local Gold Coast Amateur Beekeeping Club (now known as Gold Coast Regional Beekeepers Inc.). He enrolled in a ‘Beginners Beekeeping Workshop’ that ran over two weekends, covering the lifecycle of a bee, what bees do and how they do it, identification of the different bees and their growth stages, parts of a hive and the stages from foundation to honey extraction, as well as pests and disease management.
Upon completion of the workshop, Carl received his first ‘Nucleus’ – a box containing 5 frames of honey, eggs, brood/larvae, hundreds of worker bees and a Queen bee. The club’s president, Kevin Finn, became Carl’s mentor and Award Assessor and taught him all he needed to know about beekeeping over 3 years of doing his Award.
“After the first year of establishing our first hive, we got our first small harvest. It was our first taste of our honey. We cut it out and used a laundry bag to strain the honey, separating it from the wax. Although not a lot, we were very proud that we
had produced our own honey. We had a lot of success in the following months, our hive grew and before we knew it our hive had swarmed. We had a second hive built as we were getting ready to split the hive to make room.”
As Carl continued to learn more about beekeeping and grow his Apiary and increasing his honey harvest, he began a business under the name “Gidya Gold” after the name of his street, and started selling his honey at Parkrun when he did his Physical Recreation and Voluntary Service Award Sections and later began selling to local stores such as “The Village Health Store” in Mudgeeraba.
Through beekeeping and selling his honey for his Skill Section of his Award over 3 years, Carl raised enough funds to take him on an overseas trip over December 2017 and January 2018.
“The Award allowed me to travel to Nepal, on my own, after completing year 12 and achieve my goal to reach Everest Base Camp.”
“When deciding to go too Schoolies on the Gold Coast, I realised that it would be costing the same as an overseas trip. I couldn’t fathom to spend the money raised from my bees on apartments and parties in Surface Paradise. Realising, that I could instead travel to a place such as Nepal and undertake a trip, that for many is on their bucket list, gave me an overwhelming sense of achievement.”
Through the skills he gained from his Award, Carl secured a School leadership position as The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Captain. Carl was also awarded his School’s
prestigious “Kurt Hahn Award” presented each year to a student at the school that upholds all The Duke of Ed principles.
“The end of the Award signified a sense of having achieved something special. At the same time, a sadness came over me, realising that this chapter of my life had ended. I have been fortunate that I have recently been invited back to my school, to lead a small group of students on a 4-day trip around beautiful Moreton Island. I would recommend this Award to everyone, as it teaches you more than you will ever learn in a classroom. It has given me the skills and opportunities to be more than I have ever thought I could be. The Award has transformed me from a quiet, inactive, sometimes ‘lazy’ child into a well-rounded, functioning member of society. I have gained the confidence to talk in front of large groups of people, to travel solo to remote places in the world, developed a business whilst in school and I have become a leader within social groups and communities. I owe my personal growth and amazing life experiences throughout the Award to the amazing staff who run this fantastic program. Together, they have given me, and many others, the opportunity to become the best human being possible. I still work my bees and find them very rewarding and worth the time and energy I put in.”