A teenager has spoken of the ‘overwhelming’ moment she received her Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award at Buckingham Palace.
Jodi Adams, 18, from Yapton, was among 25 people from West Sussex chosen to attend the palace to be presented with their cerficates by Prince Edward.
Supported by West Sussex County Council, 65 centres across the county are delivering Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards (DofE) programmes.
Jodi completed her award at The Open Centre in Chichester and has gone on to train as a DofE volunteer leader. She said: “The experience of the award ceremony at the palace was overwhelming and a bit surreal. You were able to look around and see what Her Majesty’s garden looks like.
“I decided to become a DofE volunteer leader as I wanted to carry on what I love doing, walking, and enjoying the outdoors and I wanted to other young people to realise that DofE is such an amazing, enlightening experience and rewarding.
“I want to encourage other young people to try the experience and show them that it is something they may want to take on. I want them to realise it’s a challenge that is so achievable if they put their mind to it.
“I have made new friends through all aspects of completing the award for example I became a young leader at my local Beaver unit as a result of volunteering and have made some very good friends as a result.
“The expeditions have helped me develop organisational skills. I think doing DofE has made me more resilient and given me more determination to continue with things. It has also made me more outward looking.
“I think these skills will definitely help me in the future as I want to go into a job where I am going to be able to work as part of a team and at points maybe take on some leadership roles within the job.”
The event coincided with the first ever DofE expedition run by staff from West Sussex County Council’s service for families.
Stephen Hillier, the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I would like to thank the dedication of everyone who took part, including council staff, as it meant the expedition was a great success. The DofE assessors apparently spoke of how impressed they were with the young people and noticed a real change in them over the two days.
“The confidence that DofE gives young people is incredible. It has made such a difference to so many lives and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have fun whilst building up their skills.”
The DofE Award programme is designed to take young people through a challenging and rewarding programme of personal development with three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold.
To find out more about taking part in West Sussex, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/dofe, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact a school, college, youth group or one of the five Open Centres in the county.