Three young Western Australian bushfire cadets are the first to receive the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh International Award through the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
Coolup Bush Fire Cadets Mackenzie Sattler, Thomas Kirkham and Harrison Kirkham received their awards at a ceremony with the Shire of Murray in late June.
The Duke of Edinburgh program is an internationally recognised charity and has engaged more than eight million young people across the world.
Participants from all walks of life take on the program that was developed to empower youth in setting their own goals and develop the skills, behaviours and attitudes to succeed in life.
To receive the award participants must learn a new skill, improve their physical wellbeing through activity, support their community through volunteering and challenge themselves in a team adventure.
Fifteen-year-old Mackenzie heard about the Duke of Edinburgh program as a bushfire cadet and felt it would challenge her in giving even more back to her community. She is now planning to complete the silver and gold components.
“I really enjoyed completing my bronze and I used bushfire cadets as my volunteer service, basketball as my physical recreation, piano and flute as my new skill, and an outdoor education camp as my adventurous journey,” Mackenzie said.
“To achieve the silver I will complete another six months of the program, changing my physical education to netball, and I’m currently planning on completing the gold which will include a school trip to Cambodia where I will help teach younger Cambodian students English.”
DFES Strategic Volunteer Coordinator – Youth Programs Lynelle Fozard said the Duke of Edinburgh Award was a great opportunity for young cadets and volunteers in the emergency services.
“The award encourages young people to set goals, challenge themselves and develop leadership skills across various activities,” Lynelle said.
“These are qualities and principles our emergency service volunteers show every time they pull on their uniform to protect and serve the community so it gives participants a greater understanding of the impact they can have as a volunteer.
“It is wonderful to see the first cadets receive this award and I look forward to seeing many more taking on this opportunity in the future.”
Young cadets aged between 14 and 25 can find out about the program on the Duke of Edinburgh website.