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Jack’s golden path

Saturday, 13th March, 2021

Jack Dickson is undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Jack Dickson is undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Young local, Jack Dickson is on the path of completing the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Gold level.  

The award is a leading structured youth development program, empowering all young Australians to explore their full potential and find their purpose, passion and place in the world regardless of their location or circumstance. 

Participants are required to complete four sections at each level; voluntary service, skill, physical recreation and adventurous journey. 

The award is comprised of three levels; bronze, silver and gold, each more challenging. 

Gold level is for participants 16 and older and the level which Jack will be partaking in, having never completed previous levels he must complete an added six months in one section. 

Jack was inspired to undertake this award when he was in year seven and first joined the Army Cadet Corp.

“It’s a big thing there because the Duke of Edinburgh is a Commander in Chief of all the cadet regiments and it’s very heavily promoted for junior cadets to go and do,” he said. 

“But I went to boarding school and it was quite frowned upon because the school just didn’t have a capability to do it so I’ve decided now that I’ve been out of school for two years I’m going to go and do it before I turn 25.

“I’ve always wanted a career in aviation so I’ve decided to use this to sort of springboard myself into that career.

“Part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a skills section so for that I’m trying to get my private pilot’s licence (PPL) so I’m training with Jim Nezbit a local flight instructor to go and get my recreational licence and that way I can be working my job, doing my Duke of Ed Award and still be working towards the career that I want.

“Then once I’ve reached as far as he can take me I’ll go down to Adelaide and continue training for it.”

For the community service section of the award Jack has resumed his grandfather’s job at St Vinnies.

“My grandfather died in August last year and he was one of their heavy lifters which is a little bit ironic because they’re all above 80 but I go in there and do the same job that he did and it’s mainly just weighing bags, tying them up and handling that.

“I also used to work as a kitchen hand so I help out in the kitchen there, I do half a day every week just helping. 

“For the physical recreation I’m going to the gym every week twice a week, I can only record one session per week but I’m going as much as I can because frankly I’m a twig.

“I really need to put on some muscle so I thought this is a good way to kill two birds with one stone. 

As for the adventurous journey, that is the final section and comes last.

“I haven’t planned that yet but I hope I’m able to do a big flying journey, generally people go hiking or on a bivouac of some sort, some people for their gold level even cross oceans, paddled across or sailed across.

“But because I want to fly, I want to fly across the country so there’s a lot more planning to go into that.

“Everything is up to my discretion and the way that that works is they want to make it universal for all young people in the world so they give you as much leeway as they can, they just need to ground it within those four foundations.” 

Jack began a little over a month ago and had around 17 months to go to complete the award.

“The way that gold works, if you haven’t done the previous two is that you have to do an extra six months in one of your three sections so either recreation, skills or community service, it doesn’t contribute to your adventurous journey so I’m doing 18 months of aviation, hopefully by then I can get my PPL and start on my CPL, commercial licence. 

“I’d really like to encourage young people in our community to go and at least do the bronze, you can do that since you’re 14.

“I believe and you can do it concurrently with school so it would be a great thing for people in Broken Hill to get behind and go and do to better themselves and you get a medal from the Duke of Edinburgh.”

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