One hundred and eighty-four young Ghanaians have received the Gold Award at the 13th Duke of Edinburgh Awards held at the Jubilee House in Accra.
They were rewarded for exhibiting progression and persistence in voluntary self-development activities, physical activities, life skills and expeditions in their communities within the last 18 months.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who graced the occasion with the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, lauded the young Ghanaians for choosing to enhance their personal development by participating in the awards scheme.
He said the scheme helped to develop the talents and personal skills of young people and also gave young people the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“We believe that every young person should be given the opportunity to develop their true potential and learn things and skills that will give them a better chance in life,” Dr Bawumia stated.
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According to him, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had resolved to reposition the Head of State Awards Scheme back under the Presidency to use it as a vehicle to equip and empower the young generation.
Dr Bawumia, who supported Prince Edward to give out the awards, said the fact that the participants experienced team spirit, became aware of the needs of the society in which they lived and decided to help in the development of their communities was commendable.
The Duke of Edinburgh International Awards, otherwise known as the Head of State Awards Scheme, have operated in Ghana since 1967.
It is a youth awards programme founded in the United Kingdom (UK) by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956.
With the efforts of two other personalities, Kurt Hahn, a German educationist and founder of Outward Bound, and Lord Hunt, the leader of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, the awards scheme has expanded to about 144 nations.
Since its inception in Ghana, the scheme has continually empowered young people to develop practical life skills, learn about themselves and others and gain confidence.
Eight million young participants have had the advantage of this experience globally, with over 300,000 coming from Ghana.
Earl of Wessex
In a brief remark, the Earl of Wessex said the awards brought with it a great feeling after going through the entire process and urged the beneficiaries to go out and make a difference in their respective communities.
Prince Edward further thanked the supporters, parents and friends of the recipients for their assistance during the service.
Executive Director of the Head of State Awards Scheme, Mr Peter A. Anum, for his part, said the awards sought to celebrate the achievements of young people who had successfully completed all the activities and training prescribed in the scheme.
Mr Anum described the programme as exciting but challenging and said the Head of State Awards Scheme pushed young people to the limit of defining and redefining themselves for life and work.
Special awards were given to some personalities who contributed immensely to the success of the scheme.