Philosophy of the Award
The Award Programme is not just another youth organization, there is no uniform, no stirring anthem. And no, it is not going to strain your already stretched time schedule! It is simply a satisfying use of leisure time to acquire new skills, experience adventure and make new friends, young and oldy.
Gold Award to a participant
Physical ActivityWith its emphasis on both individual sport and team games, is designed to build the sinews as well as team spirit. Learning to function together with other to build a team is an invaluable art. Sailors would describe this as learning to sink or swim together!
SkillDid you never wish you had learnt to paint? Or sing? Or open up a car engine? Well here was an opportunity to learn something new. Not in competition, but just for the sheer pleasure of it. The creative instinct in all of us lies dormant, but is easily awakened.
Voluntary Service“No man is an Island” said a 14th century poet. We know this to be still as true. Encouraging young people to get involved with the community in which they live was an imperative. Do we teach young people to eternally blame someone else? Or shall we get down to doing what we see needs doing?
AdventureEvery young person thrills to this section. Away from the restrictions of parents – doing and daring. How wonderful to accomplish something you never thought you could do! The levels of the Award ensured perseverance – that they were not a mere flash in the pan! Anyone can undertake a one-of activity. But sticking with the job, spending time to understand it and to pick up the finer nuances, calls for perseverance. That is not a quality that comes naturally to the impatience of youth, and yes, we all understand how valuable a trait it is.
Involvement of Adult VolunteersThe factor that proved wonderfully inspiring and immeasurably valuable was the inclusion of adult volunteers. Never before had there been so many older people reaching out and sharing expertise, in bee keeping or astronomy, woodwork, basketry and railways, thus building bridges between the generations. Young people were being given the opportunity to interact with adults who were neither parents nor teachers. Today, no one can say how many adults, worldwide, are involved in the scheme, but hundreds of thousands would be a modest estimate.
Importance of Childhood and YouthYoung people have the right to happiness. This is not the time to burden them with physical and mental expectations. Make their time with the Award a joyous experience. Adults in charge have to ensure that young people are protected but not mollycoddled. There is not thrill quite like the one of doing something you didn’t know you could. Let every young person experience that thrill.
Choice of ActivityMust be guided by what is in their best interest. Not the convenience of the school or Award Leader! Freedom of Choice is important. It should depend on the young person’s interests, not on a pre-determined activity that the school can provide. The Award is possibly the only area where young people can exercise Choice
IntegrityAdults interacting with young people should do so with integrity and respect for the young person. Choose your Award Leaders and Adult volunteers with due care. Adults who can provide an open, positive, encouraging atmosphere, respectful of the dignity and autonomy of the young persons, are an asset.
What are some of the signposts to success in the Award?
- Participation – The Award is open to all regardless of cultural differences
- Development – Young People grow in the Award, even if they don’t recognize it
- Sustainable – The Award does not call for huge resources
- Flexible – It allows for any number of permutations / combinations. Can use local conditions to perfection
- Focus on Success – every Record Book is a story of Success and Achievement
- Reach – The format demonstrated enormous reach to young people in every walk of life
- It is a Marathon not a Sprint! It teaches young people to persevere
- It gives young people two wonderful gifts – Joy and Choice!
- It enables young people to make a real difference in their community