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New Board and Advisory Council for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) begun as a pilot award scheme in Britain in 1956 with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, being its first Chairman. The program itself is designed for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 and involves four mandatory sections: Community Service; Skills Development; Physical Recreation and Expeditions.

“These operational principles were designed to build character in young adults, to improve their lives and thereby the societies of which they are a part, and be the program of choice for young people with the effect of diverting them from the other negative practices which might otherwise seem so attractive to them,” stated the Honorable Justice Courtney Abel, who was the main speaker at Saturday’s event in San Ignacio Town and who, in 2012, was an acting Supreme Court Judge of Belize.

“…It should provide the program of choice for the youth of Belize providing an exciting alternative to a life of crime, violence and dysfunctionality which is plaguing our societies”, also said Justice Courtney Abel.

Since its launch in 2009, some 300 mentors have been trained under the DofE Program in Belize. Another 200 young adults have achieved the bronze awards, 50 the silver and 20 graduating with gold awards.

“We intend to have it as the program of choice for young people because it gives any young person the opportunity to challenge him or herself to be the best that they can be through skill, through sports, through community service and character building,” says Cynthia Ellis who has chosen to continue taking the torch of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program in Belize.

At the meeting on June 1st in San Ignacio, several participants spoke of their past experience with the International Award Program. One of those participants is George Augustine from Excelsior High School in Belize City, who was the co-master of ceremonies on Saturday. To this date, Augustine has walked over a hundred miles under the DofE Program and has set the stage for others to benefit from the DofE.