16 March 2024

Duke of Ed paves path of leadership and adventure for Aurukun youth

| Lyndon Keane
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Chantelle Walmbeng and Jacqueline Kepple are part of a cohort of Aurukun youth leading by example by completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award through PCYC Aurukun. Photo: Facebook (PCYC Aurukun).

The endpoint for their journeys will differ, but a growing number of Aurukun youth are using the same prestigious pathway to start them on their adventure towards leadership and learning new skills.

Through PCYC Aurukun, the cohort – all aged 14 or older – have embarked on their Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, commonly referred to as the Duke of Ed (DoE).

The Duke of Ed Award has three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold – with each level consisting of four key sections: physical recreation, skills, voluntary service, and an adventurous journey.

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The Bronze Award is for participants ages 14 and above, with the Silver Award and Gold Award aimed at youth 15 years and older, and 16 years and above respectively.

The catalyst for the local involvement in the global program was one of PCYC Aurukun’s Kang Kang Youth leaders, Helena Armstrong-Ravula, completing her Bronze Award and starting the conversation about the program’s benefits to both individual participants and their community.

From there, interest in the Duke of Ed snowballed, with 11 Aurukun youth now enrolled in the program.

PCYC Queensland general manager community, cultural and social innovation Dean Woods said it had been identified that many of the Kang Kang Youth participants were already undertaking tasks that aligned with the Duke of Ed’s four key sections.

“PCYC Queensland received special funding to assist in establishing the DoE within Aurukun, so we took it to a Kang Kang Youth leadership team meeting and spoke to them about DoE,” he said.

“When you look at the DoE criteria and the hours that are needed, most of our Kang Kang Youth leadership team are already doing all aspects of DoE.”

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Duke of Ed participant John Wolmby, 17, said his love of sport and helping in the remote community were a natural fit for the program.

“I come to PCYC every day,” he said.

“I love to play all the sports [and] I always try to help out.

“I’m happy I do the Duke of Edinburgh Award.”

The sentiment was shared by 19-year-old Jacqueline Kepple, who said she would be incredibly proud when she completed her Bronze Award.

Mr Woods said participants had shown commendable accountability for themselves and other members of the cohort.

“Regardless of whether a young person is looking to earn their Bronze, Silver or Gold awards, they’re constantly improving and developing their leadership and personal effectiveness through goal setting, self-management, teamwork and commitment,” he said.

“The nature of the awards requires the young person to be very motivated and self-driven.”

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