When asked to put the spotlight on themselves, the Helen Anderson Trust felt the best way to show what they are about, is to shine the spotlight on one of their clients Amy, who in the last six years has been on an amazing journey of achievement, that has taken her out of her comfort zone and amazed her family.
Debbie Andrews, Helen Anderson Trust Manager tells of Amy’s inspirational journey in completing her Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award:
Amy is a quiet, softly spoken 26-year- old with a great sense of humour and a great deal of determination. This determination, coupled with commitment and perseverance culminated in Amy being awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Gold Award, this year.
Amy’s journey began in early 2006, when she decided to embark on the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Bronze Award. Bronze became Silver and Silver became Gold.
To achieve each award Amy had to complete four sections– a physical, a service, and a skills section plus an expedition camp.
In the physical sections Amy mastered many new skills, providing her with new found confidence and independence. She played in the Helen Anderson Trust Tball team, participated in mixed ability dance (Jolt dance and Movement) and spent a period of six months developing her swimming skills.
For the skills section Amy attended Riding for Disabled once a week and complimented this with a project on horses. Amy also wrote a book about herself and completed a module on “Popular Culture”, an ASDAN programme, run by the Helen Anderson Trust.
For the service section Amy volunteered at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, where she helped clean up the pens – not her favourite job. At times Amy got to groom the miniature ponies, which was a highlight for her. Amy then learnt about the importance and the correct method of recycling for her silver award and for her gold award Amy volunteered at PILLARS, where she helped in the office, making up party packs, putting information into envelopes, running errands and posting mail.
“Through these experiences Amy has grown in her independence and confidence. She has experienced things that she may not have otherwise, and through the service section has gained valuable work experience,” says Debbie.
Amy also had to take part in an expedition camp for each level. Each camp was longer in duration then the one before, and in each she learnt many important life skills through participation in team building and leadership exercises and becoming involved with cooking, cleaning and meal preparation. She also got to experience many new things such as kayaking, rock climbing and abseiling.
“All these new experiences were tackled with a constant smile and great attitude. She met many new people while partaking in the awards, many may have underestimated her abilities, and she surprised many,” says Debbie.
Everyone thought Amy’s journey would end at the Silver Award, but Amy thought otherwise, she was on a mission that took her out of her comfort zone and amazed her family as Amy decided to enter into the Gold level where once again she excelled in her achievements.
For the Gold Award Amy also had to complete a residential section in the form of a ski week at Mount Hutt. This was an amazing achievement and experience for Amy who showed no nerves, (though the same could not be said of her mum!).
On the 24th of March 2012, Amy completed her journey on the Award program and attended the Awards Ceremony at Villa Maria where she and 31 other participants were presented with their Gold certificate and badge by Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand.
“I loved the challenge of doing all the activities through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award programme. The biggest challenge for me was the ski week at Mt Hutt,” said Amy.
“What Amy achieved in this journey was incredible, and by sharing it, the Trust is able to provide a picture of who we are and what we are about, because Amy represents just that,” concludes Debbie.
The Helen Anderson Trust has been running the Duke of Edinburgh Award (The Young New Zealanders Challenge) as part of their service since 2002. In 2003 they were given written permission to run the programme for those over 25 years called the Helen Anderson Trust Awards. The Trust runs the complete Award programme including the camps.
“The programme compliments our mission and is focused on each person individually. The Awards provide an opportunity for participants to grow in so many different ways, most importantly in their independence and life skills. It can provide them with skills to gain employment, or to become involved in parts of community life they may not have felt confident enough to tackle previously,” says Debbie.