Participation in the award is voluntary. The award serves to challenge the individual both physically and mentally, while encouraging personal discovery, self-reliance, perseverance and responsibility to both oneself and the community.

The award was first introduced in the UK in 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh, Dr Kurt Hahn and Lord Hunt who believed that young people needed some encouragement to participate in activity, learn new skills and get involved in their community through voluntary service.  They also believed it was important for young people to experience adventure and to be challenged outside of their comfort zones.

The aims of the Programme are to develop:

  • Self-belief and self confidence

  • Independence and self-motivation

  • A sense of responsibly to others

  • A willingness to try new things

  • New friends and interests

  • An appreciation of the natural environment

Today young people in over 100 countries around the world participate in this award.