In 1956, the keen sports enthusiast Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the German educator Kurt Hahn founded the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’, a non-competitive youth programme pursuing the aim to give adolescents ‘a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities’. Participants aged 14 to 25 are supposed to develop new skills and to gain self-confidence as well as self-reliance by completing several adventurous challenges and outdoor activities. According to the organizers of the award, ‘participants engage in physical activity, mental challenge, individual perseverance, teamwork and interaction with other people’, so the programme also serves to make new friendships. In regards to the participation, social and ethnic background don’t matter, nor do gender and abilities.
In New Zealand, the first organisation to engage in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award was in 1962. However, the award was adopted officially in July 1963 after a ‘Constitution of The Award in New Zealand’ had been constellated. In honour to adventurer, mountaineer and national hero Sir Edmund Hillary, in New Zealand, the programme was renamed ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award’ after his death in 2009.
One of the most exciting parts of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award’ is the ‘Adventurous Journey’. There are three different options how this section can be done. The first possibility is an exploration trip. In this case, participants are supposed to develop a better awareness for the natural environment by observing and collecting relevant information regarding flora, fauna and natural history. A second option is to do an expedition. As to this kind of journey, the main purpose is to develop skills in navigating and route finding. As a third option, also other Adventurous Journeys with extra innovations, special challenges and a higher level of difficulty can be accomplished, such as climbing the Alpine, Himalayan or other mountainous peaks or cycling through a whole country.
Meanwhile, the programme has been adapted in 144 nations and Prince Philip still serves as the programme’s chairman. Until 2015, there have been 9,000 registrations annually and 18,500 adolescents who contributed to realize the programme in New Zealand. Auckland Sea Kayaks also cooperates with the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’ and offers corresponding sea kayak trips with which youths can complete the award. We’ve already worked with lots of schools and ensure to provide safe and professional journeys with a friendly atmosphere. Are you between 14 and 25 years old? Would you like to make some new outdoor experience for which you’ll even get an award? Then accept the challenge and contact us! Here you can find further information: https://www.aucklandseakayaks.co.nz/auckland-kayak-tours/duke-of-edinburgh-hillary-award