Past Comox Valley student Leanne Herrndorf will meet Prince Andrew, Duke of York, as she receives the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Although she completed the goals of the award during secondary school, Herrndorf — who is now 20 and in her second year of electrical engineering at the University of Victoria — will receive the award May 18 in Victoria, as a member of the Royal Family must personally present the award.
The Mark R. Isfeld graduate completed goals in various categories, like volunteering to help her community and working to be physically fit, when she was living in Greenwood, N.S. She moved to the Valley in Grade 11.
Herrndorf completed her goals for the gold level of the award by Grade 10 and completed the bronze and silver levels of the award in Grade 8 and 9, respectively.
She volunteered at an animal shelter and a local food bank as part of the volunteerism component, trained for a 10-kilometre race as part of the physical activity component and trained for a multi-day cycling expedition.
“It was four days, and we biked basically across Nova Scotia,” explains Herrndorf, noting the trek was 125 km. “So we started in Greenwood, N.S., where I lived, and then we biked up along the coast (and across to Lunenburg) — it was really neat.
“There were a few other people who were doing this award with me — so there was a group at my school and there were some other people who were also working towards their gold award — so we planned the trip together and went.”
These accomplishments were just for the gold level; Herrndorf completed various other tasks to receive the bronze and silver levels.
“It’s quite a lot of work and you have to log a lot of hours and keep track of it, too — that’s probably the hardest part, is just keeping track of everything,” she says, adding she chose to take on the award tasks because she wanted to try new things and meet new people.
Herrndorf says participating in the award really helped her grow during her teenage years.
“I became a lot more independent because you’re responsible for figuring out these things for yourself and making sure you got it done if you wanted to get the award,” she says. “It definitely helped with my time management skills, especially for the expedition, planning everything and making sure we had all the things we’d need on the trip.”
Founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the award is designed to give youth a sense of responsibility to themselves and their communities.
Launched in Canada in the early 1960s, the award is open to all Canadians aged 14 to 25.
For more information, visit www.dukeofed.org.