The Prime Minister's Youth Council
Hey there Duke of Ed peeps! Are you a passionate individual bursting with great ideas that you think will help make our country a better place, but you aren’t too sure what to do with them? Well, do we have an exciting opportunity for you! The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Minister of Youth, has launched the very first Prime Minister’s Youth Council. Approximately 30 youth from all across Canada will meet directly with the Prime Minister to provide non-partisan (non-biased) advice on national issues such as employment, access to education, building stronger communities, climate and clean growth, and many others.
Every day is Mandela Day
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award empowers young people to make a difference in their community by encouraging them to look beyond their comfort zone to tap into their sense of leadership and discovery. Participants of The Duke of Ed live by Mandela’s mantra that “it is in your hands now.” Nelson Mandela saw himself as a servant of the people. He understood that each individual has the responsibility to change our world for the better, and that rings especially true with our generation.
Canada's Parks Day
People have long been inspired by the wonder that is the Canadian landscape. Even today, we continue to be awed by the marvels that nature provides. However, in the hustle and bustle of every-day life, it is easy to forget that there is a world beyond our computers – beyond money and cars and material things. There is an old Native American saying that states:
Top ten summer activities to get you moving
Summer is finally here, and as Canadians, we know we must cherish, and take advantage of the few warm months that our country has to offer. The prevalence of technology however, stilts motivation and keeps many of us glued to our computer and televisions screens even in the summer. The Duke of Ed recognizes, and is concerned about the epidemic of inactivity among Canadian youth. More than 26% of children and youth are overweight or obese. That is 1.6 million people! Exercise is important not just for your physical health, but it is incredibly important for your mental health as well. Exercise increases both serotonin production and release. Serotonin is the chemical in your brain that carries signals between nerves and is responsible for maintaining your mood balance. A fun activity can lift you out of a bad mood, build your confidence, and create lasting friendships all the while reducing stress. After a great day of exercise, you’ll sleep better at night, leaving you nice and refreshed for the next warm summer morning. Here are just a few ideas to get you moving. Don’t be afraid to leave your own fun ideas in the comments!
International Public Service Day
Here at the Duke of Ed, we believe that a culture of giving and volunteerism is the key to a successful society. We want to encourage the younger generation to pursue careers that contribute to a community’s sustainable development. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award helps people to connect with and give back to their communities. According to the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, 49% of Canadians aged 15-24 don’t volunteer because they’ve never been asked. Well, the Duke of Ed is taking great strides to bridge the gap between organizations and volunteers. In fact, 72% of our participants seek opportunities to help people, and 79% of participants will continue to volunteer in the future. On International Public service day, we want to acknowledge the achievements participants glean by becoming active members of their community. In a statement regarding National Public Service Week here in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarks, “Every day, public servants work hard to ensure that we receive the services we need, no matter the pressures they face of the challenges before them.” Public servants serve Canadians while instilling pride, creativity and inclusion in our communities, and while volunteerism serves the public, it is also a service for ourselves as we experience how great it feels to help others. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own.” But don’t just take our word for it! Let our participants tell you all about their own rewarding experiences.
National Aboriginal Day
“It’s part of my job to sing for the people,” says Brock Lewis, an Aboriginal artist from the Anishinaabe tribe in Ottawa. Today on the 20th Anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, Canadians are reminded of the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In 1996, the federal government along with Aboriginal leaders, chose to recognize National Aboriginal day on summer solstice – a celebration of the return of the warmth of the sun. Summer is the season we reap the crops we have sown, and like the beat of Lewis’ ceremonial drum, reminds us of our own connection with Mother Nature. It is a time to clear out old energy and to make room for new possibilities. Recently, there has been a national dialogue regarding the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada outlined by Senator Murray Sinclair. Celebrating the diversity within the arts, crafts, dancing and music of Canada’s Indigenous culture is one of the many ways in which our communities can come together to build strong and lasting relationships. In honour of National Aboriginal Day, take a look at this list of inspiring and innovative Indigenous community builders brought to you by the CBC. Here at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Canada we want to celebrate and recognize all of our Indigenous participants across the country for their unique achievements that are paving the way for future community leadership.
Building a community in a new country.
Did you know that there are more displaced people in the world than there are Canadians? In 2015 alone, 51% of the displaced population were children under the age of 18. That’s 98, 400 kids without a place to call home. World Refugee day is a reminder of the isolation, hopelessness and fear many displaced people face when coming to a new country. Although she is not a refugee, moving from Mauritius to Canada at the age of 14 caused Gold Award Holder Tracey to feel “isolated and lonely.” Finding out about The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, she says, “changed my life.” The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is about more than a medal. It is about building relationships, and creating a community rooted in compassion and generosity. “Thanks to the Award,” says Tracey, “I [have] an amazing story to tell.” With the Award, you can begin writing your story today.