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HRH Prince Edward to present Gold Awards

MEDIA RELEASE
9 February 2004
For immediate release
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HRH Prince Edward to present Gold Awards

One hundred and twenty participants of the Young New Zealanders' Challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards will receive their Gold awards from His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex in March. The Prince's visit coincides with this year's 40th anniversary celebrations of the Challenge.

The first of the Gold Award ceremonies will be at Government House in Wellington. This is the first of four functions HRH Prince Edward will host on behalf of the Young New Zealanders' Challenge. He will also present Gold Awards at Columba College, Dunedin and at Government House, Auckland followed by a dinner to launch the organisation's new initiative, the Charter for Business.

The Young New Zealanders' Challenge, previously known as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, has been operating in New Zealand for the past four decades. It offers young people aged 14 to 25, the opportunity to participate in a voluntary, non competitive programme of extra curricular activities that provide a personal and individual challenge.

Participants contribute over 200,000 hours of voluntary work to their communities each year as part of their programme.

The programme is offered in all New Zealand secondary schools and national youth movements and is increasingly being used in community groups catering for disabled, disadvantaged and youth at risk. On average 5000 new participants enter the Challenge in New Zealand each year.

Chairman, Andrew Meehan said "it is a great pleasure to have His Royal Highness Prince Edward present the awards this year. It is important to recognise the enormous effort the participants have made towards achieving a Gold accreditation and to be recognised by royalty is an added honour."

To acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the Challenge, a number of celebrations will be held throughout 2004. Mr Meehan says "in its 40 years, it is estimated one hundred thousand young people have participated and we remain committed to helping our youth develop the life skills that New Zealand are renowned for."

BACKGROUND

About the Award

The Young New Zealanders' Challenge is part of the International Award started by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1956. It has a significant contribution to make in the drive to raise educational standards and to develop the all round competencies that young people need to survive and prosper in today's fast changing world. More importantly, it offers a framework for acknowledging success and achievement through its certification process that is recognised internationally.

At the heart of the Young New Zealanders' Challenge is the principle of encouraging in young people personal discovery and growth, self reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to the community. The requirement for success in the Award is individual progress through persistence and achievement; from the participants own starting point without any competition against others.

There are three levels to the Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold) and four sections to each Award; Service, Expeditions, Skills and Physical Recreation (a Residential section is also included at the Gold level). The Young New Zealanders' Challenge is a balanced, progressive Programme of extra curricular activities for young people aged between 14 and 25 years of age.


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