Karen Boulting

In high school, I had the opportunity to do the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with a couple of my teachers and a few classmates.

I am so grateful, to this day, that my teachers took time from their weekends to supervise hikes. Those hikes were some of the best times of high school. The award challenged me on those hikes, but also opened up my love of community through volunteer work in our local hospital. I still feel courageous when I think of all that I accomplished during the award.

Gaining skills and confidence for life. The experience will never leave me, nor will the memories and stories. I remember on one hike playing baseball with a rolled up pair of footy socks and a log with shrubs as bases! The Royal National Park south of Sydney and Govett’s Leap from our Mt Victoria walk remain two of my favourite places to this day. Apart from their natural beauty and the chance I had to connect with nature there, they are places where I found out who I was and what I was made of and maybe I wasn’t just a shy, quiet girl. Maybe there was more to me.

I thank the Duke of Edinburgh for having the foresight to enable this award and to continue to support it for his long life. With much gratitude and humility.