PETERBOROUGH-Nancy Sharpe was just 17 years old when she met Prince Philip. She was one of the first two Canadian women to receive the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
“I had the opportunity of meeting him in person in 1967 aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia as one of the first two Canadian women to receive the Gold Award.” Sharpe says. “Later that year I was among thirty other young people from every Commonwealth country in the world who spent a month long expedition walking the Bruce Trail, attending leadership camps, and visiting Expo 67 in Montreal.”
Sharpe was in the Peterborough Track Club and her coach approached her and asked if she would be interested in trying the program. “I did and loved it.” she exclaims.
She says she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh this morning at the age of 99. The Dukes death was announced by Buckingham Palace.
“Prince Philip was a champion for young people and has left an extraordinary legacy of shaping the live’s and vision of countless young people around the world. As a Duke of Edinburgh Program Gold,Silver and Bronze Award holder, to this day, our D of E group meets to celebrate, reminisce and enjoy being together again.” Sharpe explains. “We have reconnected in Canada, England and most recently Malta. There is a bond between our group that has lasted over 54 years. I owe a lot to Prince Philip for his D of E program.”
The award program is based on the belief that not all learning happens in the classroom and that some of life’s biggest lessons happen in the least likely locations. It’s described as a framework that helps young people discover a talent, trait or passion at which they can excel, giving them the confidence to take their future in stride.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global program with the goal of challenging, empowering and recognizing young people between the ages of 14 and 24. Since 1963, they say they have helped motivate young Canadians to set goals and challenge themselves to take control of their lives and futures.
“The classroom is not the only place to nurture the potential of one of our country’s greatest natural resources – our youth. We strive to reach young Canadians in communities across the country and provide a platform that helps them chart their individual lives and equips them with important life skills,” states the website.
Sharpe says his program changed her life.
“I am proud to be a member of his Award family. His program took me out of my comfort zone, gave me life changing experiences, pushed personal boundaries and built confidence, resilience and new skills.”
Today, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Canada can be found right across the country, engaging over 20,000 young people and over 2,600 Award Leaders annually.
“My heart is filled with gratitude for the wonderful legacy he has left. Rest In Peace – a sad day.” Sharpe said.