Gemma and Leah Paige – 17 and 15 respectively- got to meet the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta this Friday, who personally presented them with the Duke of Edinburgh’s silver award.
The program was founded in the UK in 1956 and was first brought to Canada in 1964. It encourages youth to set goals and become more involved in the community by completing four different tasks: community service, going on an adventurous journey, developing a new skill, and physical recreation. For physical recreation, the girls took up karate, for a skill they learned to play piano. Both of these helped with the community service as they helped teach younger karate students and played piano at the local Seniors’ Centre. Finally for an adventurous journey, the girls went to a Girl Guide camp in England for five days.
Gemma and Leah heard of the program through their mother, who managed to win the bronze, silver and gold award. This piqued the girls’ interest who have since gotten both the bronze and silver. The Gold award is a little more difficult, adding a fifth category known as the Residential Project. This area requires working with others on a goal. The payoff is massive though, as the gold awards are personally handed out by a member of the Royal Family, sometimes even the Queen.