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2021 Open Award Training

Over the last few weeks young people from across the island attended the DeNavigators-Open Award Training for Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels. The National Award Office have revived the Open Award to offer all three levels of the Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold) to participants not associated with a school-based Award Center. This face-to-face training supplements the online training that participants have been actively engaging in since November 2020.

During the practical training sessions participants were separated into small groups to engage in various levels of navigation training, including a first ever night navigation exercise, teambuilding, first aid, camp craft and the eleven components of an Adventurous Journey. This year we were pleased to welcome Linda Tailford, from the Bermuda Scouts Association who demonstrated how to build a safe campfire.

Karen Simmons, Programme Director stated, “It was fantastic to see all the young people step outside their comfort zone and work with one another to engage in the Award. Due to Bermuda’s small size and participants knowing much of the island already, we decided to think outside the box to set the Gold Level a navigation exercise that would really challenge their map reading and compass skills. On the Friday evening, the Gold Level group undertook a night navigation exercise at Ferry Reach Park. This was the first time we have offered night navigation and it was very exciting for the participants and Award Leaders to have to work together to find the orienteering markers and return within a reasonable time frame. The participants rose to the occasion, worked well together and completed the challenge successfully. Having worked with these young people since their Bronze Level, it was encouraging to see their advancement in skills.”

“The Award also partnered with a number of organisations to offer cultural explorations in both the City of Hamilton and St. George’s. Thanks to the Corporation of Hamilton, the Corporation of St. George’s and The Bermuda National Trust for providing the content, participants engaged in the City Art Walk in Hamilton and a historical scavenger hunt in the town of St. George’s. The Award in Bermuda partners with lots of different organizations to introduce young people to the benefits of engaging in positive cultural, artistic and physical activities that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”

Karen Simmons concluded by saying, “This practical training will prepare these five groups for their Adventurous Journeys (AJ). The Bronze Level group will undertake a hiking AJ in March. For the Silver Level, we have partnered with Waterstart to offer an alternative water-based AJ in which participants will kayak and take part in a number of conservation projects such as turtle grass restoration. The Gold Level will take part in a variety of water-based AJ options through USail Bermuda in August.”

Jovanna Douglas, Award Chair, stated, “The Open Award is an important part of our programme because it makes the Award more accessible to all outside of the school-based Award Centers. The Open Award affords participants the opportunity to enter at any stage of a calendar year. It offers the opportunity for participants to engage in other modes of transport such as horse-back riding, cycling, kayaking, sailing and developing other exploration activities. The programme could not happen without the support of our many volunteers and donors. On behalf of the Award Council, I would like to thank the volunteers who give their time year-round to work with our young people. The Award is provided free of charge to ensure it is accessible to all and this is thanks to our many donors including the Centennial Foundation, Argus, Axis, the Argo Foundation, the Chubb Foundation, the Bermuda Community Foundation, the 100 Women in Finance, Conyers, AXA, Butterfield Bank, Edmund Gibbons Ltd., Butterfield and Vallis and Zurich.”

The Award develops well-rounded, global citizens who take pride in themselves and their communities. If you are interested in getting involved in the programme or would like to donate, please email or call 737-8959.

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