Lukas Stodola’s Journey to Achieving the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

On November 23, 2019, Lukas Stodola received his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at a special ceremony held at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Lukas, a Rover Scout from Ottawa, was one of only 38 award recipients from across Canada. The awards were presented by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Lukas reflected on his journey for Scouting Life.

I started in Scouting as Beaver at age of five—so I have 21 years of Scouting experience! As a Beaver and Cub I was part of 4th Kanata, then I moved to 7th Kanata where I had great time as Scout and Venturer. I started as a Rover at 7th Kanata. I like the community service aspect of Scouting, so I moved to Voyageur Council Service Alliance, the Service Corps Rover Crew. This is my last year as a Rover. I am currently deciding on my next Group where I will be a Scouter. In a couple of years I would like to come back to Service Corps Rover Crew as a Crew Scouter.

The Duke of Ed (a shorthand for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award) is available for the youth aged 14-25 who are aiming for the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award level. The four areas of the program (Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey) are on the Gold level complemented by the Gold Project. As Scouting has similar goals, it was for me a natural progression to aim for Duke of Ed Award. When I started to fill the Bronze level requirements, I realized that it was possible for me to go all the way to the Gold level.

(My Scouter) coached me on the Duke of Ed opportunities, endorsed my achievements and cheered on my milestones.

I love to help in the community. So my Service part filled up easily: for example, by helping at the Garden Terrace residence, at the Ottawa Food Bank, at the elementary and high schools, at Scouts camps and Camporees, assisting at speech therapy sessions, removing graffiti and litter in my neighbourhood…

I go relatively regularly to the gym, which took care of the Physical Recreation part. I took interest in painting classes to broaden my horizons and motivate me to complete the Skills section.

My biggest challenge was decreasing mobility, which started to limit me since I was about 12 years old. I had to adapt my life to these circumstances. New Duke of Ed opportunities presented themselves in the form of the Summer Easter Seals Camp Merrywood near Perth, ON. For the first couple of years I attended this camp as a regular camper. Then for many years I participated in the camp’s Leader in Training program. This allowed me not only to expand my leadership skills, but also to fulfill my Duke of Ed Gold Residential Project. And my camp multiday canoe trip worked for me on my mobility level as the Adventurous Journey.

The biggest help came from 7th Kanata Scouter Sharon Lefebvre. She coached me on the Duke of Ed opportunities, endorsed my achievements and cheered on my milestones. I am also grateful for many years when Sharon was my Pack, Troop and Company Scouter. My dad, Jan, was my Scouter for 15 years. He kept me on the top of activities that built my Duke of Ed record book. And both my parents supported me by getting me where I needed to be when I became less mobile.

The Duke of Ed program is an excellent opportunity to try new skills and participate in new adventures.

My Duke of Ed Gold Award was presented to 38 recipients from all over Canada by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, at Queen’s Park in Toronto on November 23, 2019. This was the first time I visited the Ontario Legislature. I was very impressed by the red stone historical building and its magnificent interior. My parents and sister came to celebrate this very special moment with me; unfortunately, due to limited number of invitation tickets, my twin brother Erik was not able to join us. I was very honoured to receive my award in the impressive environment. After the ceremony we were ushered for a reception to the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite. There I had the opportunity to socialize with a few other recipients. Their opinions, experiences and plans were very impressive. It became quickly apparent that the Duke of Ed had a very positive impact on their lives.

I decided to receive my award as a Rover Scout, as Scouting was instrumental in preparing me for and helping me to complete my Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. I also wanted to showcase Scouting to others.

The Duke of Ed program is an excellent opportunity to try new skills and participate in new adventures. Ask someone to remind you from time to time on what you set to achieve, just to keep you on track. Set your own pace of progress: the journey is more important than the award itself.

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