Scouting skills translate into more than learning how to build a better campfire or pitch a tent in the rain. They help youth become better leaders, teammates and citizens.
Certain aspects can also help Scouts’ other passions. Eliza Sutton saw how earning The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award would enhance her personal organization and leadership skills — and even how she plays the viola.
The 15-year-old Able Sea Scout with Ship 26 of Canyon Lake, Texas, recently earned the Bronze level of the award. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is available to young people ages 14 to 24. It’s not a Scouting honor, per se, but the BSA has partnered with the award program to help offer the opportunity in the U.S.
Eliza is the first in her council to earn the award, and she plans to work on the honor’s higher levels.
“It helped me in Scouting,” Eliza says. “It helped me focus on what I’m already doing. I’m very happy I pursued this award. It’s a great opportunity.”
How to earn it
To earn a Bronze-, Silver- or Gold-level of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, youth must devote a certain amount of time toward service, physical fitness, developing a skill and completing an “adventurous journey.” On the Gold level, youth must also carry out a residential project.
The requirements call for at least six months of work for the Bronze level, 12 months for the Silver and 18 months for the Gold.
“The main thing is you have to stay on task,” Eliza says.
To fulfill the requirements, Eliza devoted time to work on her flexibility, which would help her dancing abilities. She also focused on improving playing the viola and spent time teaching others how to play.
For her adventurous journey, Eliza planned an overnight trip to nearby Inks Lake State Park in Burnet County. There, she and her fellow Sea Scouts would camp and go on a nature hike, seeking native plants and animals.
But before they went, she mapped out trail routes, reviewed the necessary equipment and ensured Scouts were trained in certain first aid in case an emergency arose. This detailed planning included Eliza preparing a 20-page report that featured all costs, packing lists for each person and even the weather forecasts.
At the campout, the group spotted prickly pear cactus, a variety of tree species, deer, ducks and fish. After the trip, Eliza created a video presentation, which she posted to her ship’s social media page.
“It was to show what the award was, how much fun it was and what all we learned,” she says.
Keep on advancing
Eliza intends to work on the Silver level of the award. Each level calls for youth to improve on their skills. Eliza hopes to keep working on the viola — and, this time, improve her swimming skills with the goal of earning the Mile Swim BSA award.
Award recipients, at all levels, are awarded an international certificate of recognition and a medal for their achievements at local celebrations. Gold-level recipients are also celebrated at a national ceremony hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA.
If your Scout is interested in getting started on the award, you can check on this page on the program’s USA site.