Two Swift Current siblings have been recognized by a prestigious international organization for their volunteer service in the community.
Alexandria and Eve Boss received The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award bronze level certificates from Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault during a presentation ceremony at City Hall, Oct. 7.
Fifteen-year-old Eve is a Grade 11 student at Swift Current Comprehensive High School and 17-year-old Alexandria is a Grade 12 student at the same school. They feel it is important to be volunteers and to give back to their community.
“With volunteering it's us giving our time,” Alexandria said. “So it's a way to show our appreciation towards others and it might make someone's day a little bit easier.”
Eve added that volunteering is a good way for them to show that they care about their community.
The purpose of The Duke of Edinburgh’s award program is to help young people to transition from youth to adulthood, to provide them with opportunities to be of service to others in their communities, and to help them understand their own capacity to make a difference in the lives of others.
This award program was established in 1956 and now operates in over 130 countries. Currently over 200 youth from 90 communities in Saskatchewan are pursuing the award at three levels (bronze, silver, and gold).
Award program participants achieve recognition on each level after completing a minimum number of hours of volunteer service, physical activity and skill development. They also need to spend time on an adventurous outdoor journey through hiking and camping.
Alexandria and Eve were already participating in volunteer and other activities before they heard about this award program.
“We saw this as a good opportunity to kind of explore what we were already doing and a good way to contribute to our community with volunteer time,” Alexandria said.
Eve mentioned that participation in this formal program is a great way to help youth to approach their volunteer efforts in a more structured way.
“It's just a really good program if you want to kind of get into the groove of volunteering around and maybe improving your skills set in different areas,” she said. “This program is fantastic if you want to improve in those areas.”
Her advice to other young people with an interest in the program is to keep a regular schedule, to make sure they do the hours, and to have fun with it.
Alexandria emphasized it is important to do things that you love, because that will make the entire process even more enjoyable.
“I find it's a lot easier to do anything when you like doing it in the first place,” she said. “So we kind of explored what we already like to do as hobbies and around the community, and expanded on that.”
Eve’s skill development to receive the bronze award was to play the saxophone. Her physical recreation activities are long distance running, archery, and keeping fit. Her adventurous journey was at the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
She has completed various voluntary activities to qualify for the award. She volunteered at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in various positions, including at the triathlon venue, at open water swimming as flag and medal carrier at medal presentation, she participated in the opening and closing ceremonies, and she was a torch bearer at Saskatchewan Landing.
Eve participated in the Swift Current Comprehensive High School Best Buddies program, she has helped elderly neighbours with yard work, she completed the Respect in Sport Activity Leader Certification, and she completed her voluntary service at the City of Swift Current dog park.
Her biggest challenge during all these activities was in physical recreation, where she learned the new skill of archery.
“I joined a club in my school and I found that I really enjoyed it after working on it for several weeks,” she said. “So that was a challenge at first, but I learned to really appreciate and love the sport.”
Alexandria’s skill development for the award was to play the trombone. Her physical recreation is swimming and she completed her adventurous journey at Grasslands National Park.
For voluntary service she became very active with the Swift Current Comprehensive High School drama department. She won a technical certificate of merit for lighting design at the 2019 Saskatchewan Drama Association Regional Festival.
She also participated in the school’s Best Buddies program and carried out voluntary service at the City of Swift Current dog park. Her volunteer activities at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games took place at the triathlon venue, she was an open water swim flag and medal carrier at medal presentation, she participated in the opening and closing ceremonies, and she was a torch bearer at Saskatchewan Landing.
Her most challenging experience occurred during her efforts to improve her musical skills on the trombone.
“I joined the more senior bands to help improve my skill set and learn more with that and in the process just achieve those hours,” she said.
They are now working towards achieving their silver level certification in The Duke of Edinburgh’s award program.
“It will take a little more time than the bronze, but we're willing to put in those hours,” Eve said.
Alexandria added that they will thereafter continue and do their best to also achieve the gold level certification.
“I think it's all a bit more of a challenge, but we'll do our best to complete as much as possible,” she said. “It's nice to have something to tell us what we have done.”
More information about The Duke of Edinburgh’s award program is available online at www.dukeofed.org or call 306-780-9278.