The possibility of death and a sense of danger is what makes the Duke of Edinburgh award so appealing to young people. This is what Prince Edward said to an Australian newspaper as he was promoting the scheme.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is designed for young people between the aged of 14-25 to undergo programs of development in any of the following activities…
• Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.
• Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.
• Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.
• Expedition: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey.
The last being the most alluring. As it offered an element of serious danger, that “you could die doing this.” according to Prince Edward.
And indeed someone did. In 2006 of a 17-year-old from Sydney, who had set off for a bush walk in the Blue Mountains as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme died during his adventure.
The prince said that the tragedy had actually boosted interest from the young:
“The sense of adventure, the sense of excitement, that it gave you that sort of risk element. That’s going back many years but young people are like that, there’s still that sense of adventure.”
So is that what we need, an incentive to take risks and face danger? I can only speak about my life and I do lead a relatively safe one. My definition of danger would be coming home late and being mugged. But does living a fairly safe life make you lose your sense of adventure and more importantly make you lose your instincts to deal with danger?
And what about people in war zones? Listening to Lubna, Khadija and Fareedoone a few days ago, about their lives in conflict zones, I couldn’t help but think about how different my definition of danger is from theirs. To them, leaving the house everyday is taking a life threatening risk. To me it’s something I really don’t have to think about.