It is good to have big goals, but there are also small goals that are worth celebrating when we start to achieve them. 60 years ago, Prince Phillip launched a program that encourages the youth to become committed, responsible, and fulfilled citizens of the world. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, and until now, the award has inspired millions of young people. The award is comprised of three levels each progressively more challenging: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Participants are required to complete four sections at each level: Physical Recreation, Skills, Service, and Adventurous Journey. 6 months ago, I was moved by the thought of getting the award. And as I am about to start with Silver Award, it would be nice to see how things have gone by and share to you what have happened over the past 6 months of getting my Bronze Award.
Aside from winning, my goal as a Football player is to improve my performance. The pitch has always provided me the chance to become a better team player. Football is a sport that requires exceptional speed and quickness levels. My aim for my Physical recreation was to increase my speed and stamina in Football. And so for 6 months, Coach and I focused on conditioning, endurance drills, and individual technique training in passing, shooting, heading, trapping, dribbling, and controlling the ball. At some point, the training and drills turned out to be extremely tiring – too tiring, it becomes great.
I use to think Chinese as a language that’s almost impossible to understand and use. But when I was completing the award, my mentor helped me break down Chinese characters and pinyin into its meaning and how it evolved over time. And finally, I saw its importance and simplicity. My aim for my skills was to utilize my knowledge in Mandarin by composing a poem in English and translating it to Chinese pinyin, together with its Chinese characters in calligraphy painting. But in the end, not only did I meet my goal, but I was able to discover a skill which I can further develop.
Before the program, I barely know anything about the Red Cross, yet I see the red cross and red crescent symbol all the time – mostly in times of calamities and emergencies or sometimes I draw the symbol for “life-themed” posters. But after the program, not only was I fully educated of the works and initiatives of the Red Cross, but I became fully equipped if ever life threatening emergencies occur to myself or to other people’s lives – when life threatening emergencies happen in our community, it is important that we know the right thing to do to alleviate sufferings, to prevent further damage, and to prolong life while medical assistance is not available or delayed. I know now how to do the CPR and the Standard First Aid which was my goal 6 months ago.
The Duke of Edinburgh Program includes the adventurous journey. The practice and qualifying journey was both a challenge to discovering who you are and what you can do. It provided us plenty of activities that taught us life skills. As a team, we plunged rivers, passed by slippery trails, and went through high and low slopes to reach different mountain peaks. The entire program wouldn’t be 100% complete without immersing ourselves with the communities and tribes that lives at the foot of the mountain – and to me, it was the most significant activity from the past 6 months of the program.
It’s a big honor to have the Bronze Award from the Duke of Edinburgh International Program, but what matters now is that I was able to overcome difficulties to learn a new skill, to improve in Football, to get involved in the community, and to experience a team adventure in a new environment with the best of my abilities. I believe that these are the small wins that affirmed my direction to something big. Indeed, the program was both a personal challenge and a personal fulfillment.