Administrator for the Europe, Mediterranean and Arab States (EMAS), Dorothea Gorman, talks about meeting the special guests and her unexpected chat with The Duke about her own Award experience.
Dorothea Gorman, Administrator for EMAS at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.
“When I heard that HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh were going to visit our new offices and officially open them I was excited, very excited. At that point I just thought that they would be in the same building, I would see them unveil a plaque and it would be an interesting day. This did all happen, but we were very fortunate that they also took time to meet with all Award staff. As a result I had the chance to talk to HRH, our Founder and Patron, and feel thoroughly inspired as a result.
“The Duke asked me questions about doing my Silver Award. I completed the Award at school over 15 years ago now but the answers came readily to my mind. I think that really sums up the benefits of the Award for me – it leaves you with lifelong memories, skills and experiences.
“For example, The Duke asked what I had done for my Service section. My friend and I visited an elderly lady who lived on our estate for an hour every week after school. Ostensibly the role was ‘Assisting with housework’, polishing silverware or dusting the skirting boards, but when we were finished each week we would also have a drink and a chat with her. She lived alone, her family did not live nearby and she told us she was grateful for the company. My friend and I thought that we were just grateful for getting our Service section signed off, but actually we were learning valuable skills such as being reliable and how to talk to people who were different to ourselves. These days my friend is GP, which involves a lot of talking/listening to people and I continue to volunteer with the elderly, as I realise that a few hours out of my busy life can be invaluable to someone else.
“I don’t think that I would have undertaken this activity without The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, the same for the Adventurous Journey section, and although I would still have done Physical Recreation and learnt a variety of Skills at school, it is the combination of them all, the effort working towards an ultimate goal, the chance to undertake new activities, to work in a team with peers, to challenge yourself and all of the other great benefits of the Award that enables you to find, what HRH himself has referred to as, ‘an added purpose and pleasure’ in life.
“In my role at the International Award Foundation, as Administrator for the Europe, Mediterranean and Arab States (EMAS) regional team, I get to support National Operators and Independent Award Centres across the region to offer this opportunity to young people and today I will do so with an added spring in my step thanks to the memories of the day HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited the International Award Office.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is delivered in more than 140 countries and territories around the world, overseen by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and its staff in the four regions of EMAS, Africa, Americas and Asia Pacific. Find out more about the Award and how it’s empowering young people across the globe.