For many Londoners it will be any other day at Buckingham palace, but for a select group of young people, Monday 16 May will be forever etched in memory. Dario Harewood is one such person. The former Lodge School student will be the only Barbadian to receive his gold award at the 60th anniversary Gold Award Presentation. This event which is part of the DofE’s Diamond Anniversary celebrations will be held in the presence of HRH The Duke of
Edinburgh and TRHs The Earl and Countess of Wessex. At this presentation over 1,000 Gold Award holders will be presented with their certificates. The programme is the world’s leading youth development programme and was started in 1956 by The Duke of Edinburgh. It set out to inspire youth to make a greater contribution to their community and assist them in becoming adults.
Dario’s Award journey has been filled with many different kinds of adventures. Just this year he travelled alone to Trinidad and Tobago to join their local Easter expedition. There he rekindled friendships made in 2013 when Barbados hosted the regional camp and made some new friends. From cadets to being the St. John Parish Ambassador for 2013 Dario is heavily involved in his community and is a regular at his alma mater St. Margaret’s Primary School where he assist the cub scouts, Physical Education department and really however else he can.
Chairman of the National Award Council, Stephen Smith will also be attending. Stephen recalls when he received his gold award with fondness stating, “When Prince Philip walked up to me, shook my hand and presented my Gold Award at the Prime Minister’s residence Illaro Court in 1996, it was a very proud moment when all the hardship and struggles became worth it.” As with Stephen some 20 years prior, for Dario there is a huge sense of accomplishment now that he has come to the end of the of the gold journey.
Starting the bronze Award in 2011 was a no-brainer for Dario and since then it’s been loads of memories. “My most treasured Award memory would have to be my silver preliminary hike with a group of people I had met for the first time. We were camped in St. Lucy and while were starting to cook the rain began to fall. There was a rush to connect ponchos together so rain would not out the fire. This experience and the weekend bonded us together as a group and as friends,” states Dario.
The Award is a challenge to every participant but it provides the personal reward of undeniable self-improvement. As a youth development programme, the Award has defined what good non-formal education looks like. The four main sections: physical recreation, service, skills and adventurous journey provide experiences that shape Awardees into mindful global citizens. Come August Dario starts a degree in forensics and has these words for other young men, “I would tell any young man to definitely join the Award. It is totally worth especially in this day in age where society is looking down on the youths. The skills, knowledge and experience you gain in the Award will benefit you for the rest of your life.”