The P.E.I. Duke of Edinburgh Award program is receiving $30,000 in funding from the province of Prince Edward Island.
This breaks down to $15,000 a year for two years for the program, which challenges youth to strive and achieve and become better citizens.
Participation in the program has grown over the past 19 years. In 2000, there were fewer than 100 participants enrolled, and this year participation was close to 1,400.
The P.E.I. division had the largest bronze and silver ceremony this past May, awarding 262 young Islanders from across the province.
The program operates at the bronze, silver and gold levels, challenging youth, between 14 and 25 years, in skill development, community service, physical fitness and an outdoor experience.
The reason for the growth in numbers is due, in part, to the addition of the external electives DOE 521T and DOE 621T as part of the high school external accreditation program.
The provincial division’s progress is also attributable, in a large part, to the support of sponsors such as the department of education.
Due to the growth and plans to expand the program, the workload for the executive director and volunteers has increased.
The aim is to spread the award program from tip to tip, targeting rural areas and increasing our bilingual presence in western P.E.I. With the new funding from the government of Prince Edward Island, the organization will hire a part-time bilingual field officer to spread the program across the Island specifically targeting rural youth, aboriginal youth, youth-at-risk and newcomers, as well as expand the program within the school system and community groups using an advanced electronic record book.