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Special Olympics


A guide to completing your Duke of Edinburgh's Award with Special Olympics New Zealand


What is The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award and why should I get involved?

The concept of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (the Award) is simple – anyone aged 14 to 24 can do a programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

Because Award programmes are all about getting out there, having fun and self-development, everyone can achieve something. You’ll find yourself helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing skills, going on an adventurous journey and at Gold level only, taking part in a residential activity.

What do I need to do to achieve my Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award?

The programme is made up of four sections (five at Gold). Over the required time you’ll need to do each activity for an average of an hour a week. You’ll need to show persistence, commitment and personal development.


Bronze (14+ years old)

To achieve your Bronze Award, you need to complete the following sections:


Silver (15+ years old)

To achieve your Silver Award, you need to complete the following sections:


Gold (16+ years old)

To achieve your Gold Award, you need to complete the following sections:



Choosing activities

There are a lot of activities you may already be doing that can count towards your Award. Here are a few examples to help get you started:

Service: Sports coach/volunteer, library volunteer, animal care, data entry/computer skills. You could volunteer with your local Special Olympics Club as a volunteer for your service section.

Physical Recreation: Do a team sport such as soccer or netball, athletics, horse riding, running, dancing. If you don’t play a sport you could try walking for fitness. Participating in a sport through your local Special Olympics club counts towards this section.

Skills: play a musical instrument, learn a craft such as jewellery making, referee or umpire for a sport, learn sign language, learn carpentry skills. Talk to your leader about possible options for achieving your skill section through school.

Adventurous Journey or Exploration: This is something that you will plan for, it involves being part of a team and completing an expedition for a set number of days. Journeys do not have to be done on foot, they can also be done on horseback, in a boat, on a bicycle – in fact anything without an engine! Talk to your leader about how you may be able to achieve your Adventurous Journey section through attending an overnight Regional Sports event with Special Olympics.

Residential Project (Gold Award only): attend a residential programme for five days and four nights with people you don’t know and undertake purposeful activity – helping at a youth camp, go WOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), attend a youth event overseas.


Getting started:

Step 1:   Decide which level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award programme you would like to do – this will depend on your age, time commitments etc

Step 2:   Talk to the Award co-ordinator at your club and arrange to register to do your Award programme

Step 3:   Decide with your Leader what you are going to do for each section of your Award programme

Step 4:   Get started! Don’t forget to log your progress on ORB, our online record book, and ask your Assessors to sign off each section as you complete them

Step 5:   Once your Award programme is complete, speak to your Leader or Co-ordinator who will arrange for you to receive your certificate or badge. They can also advise you about starting the next level of the Award if appropriate.



How long will it take?

The time it will take to complete your programme and achieve an Award is in many ways down to you. The shortest time in which you can complete your Bronze programme is 6 months; your Silver programme is also 6 months; and your Gold programme, 12 months. During your programme you’ll need to do each activity for an average of an hour a week over this time. Don’t forget – you have until your 25th birthday to complete any programme and achieve an Award!

Find out more…

Talk to your Award Leader to get more information and take a look at

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