A local young man recently received a high level of recognition for his efforts to better himself and his community.

Ethan Courteau took part in the Duke of Edinburgh program, a program designed to encourage youth ages 14 to 24 to get involved and make a difference. On Sunday he received his gold pin, presented by Vaughn Schofield, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, and will soon get the chance to visit with a member of the royal family and be presented with his certificate of completion.

Several challenges had to be met and overcome over a year's span to be eligible for the award.

"You have to do at least one hour a week for each section, and each section can be no less than 52 weeks," he explained.

Those included community service, learning a new skill and physical recreation.

"I completed about 93 hours of community service, volunteering with the Student Representative Council, 74 hours flying gliders as a new skill, and 150 hours of physical activity, including cross country and track and field."

There was also an 'adventurous journey' section, and for that he chose a 300 kilometer bicycle trip.

"It was very challenging, as a large portion of the trip was a gradual incline. However, we managed to pass through it," Courteau shared, adding that it was the hardest part of the process as well.

"It's a great program. I really enjoyed it, and feel it helped me with my leadership skills and getting involved in the community. I've become a part of organizations that I probably wouldn't' have otherwise, and I feel that I met a lot of new people along the way, while achieving the award."

Courteau was able to fulfill the majority of the requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh levels through the Air Cadet program. His commanding officer, Captain Danielle Fleury, who herself received the same award a few years ago, was pleased at his accomplishments.

"It's great to see that the youth in our community are stepping up and taking on a program like the Duke of Edinburgh. It's something that includes all aspects of life, so it's great to see one of our cadets finish the program, and that I was able to be a part of him completing it," she said.

Looking ahead a few weeks time to where Courteau will get to meet a member of royalty, she reflected back on her own occasion.

"I received my gold award from Prince Edward at a ceremony in Regina. It's a very neat experience to meet royalty, especially when they've been through the program themselves. He got very personal when we met him, and he asked a lot of specifics about how we went through the program, what aspects we did and what kind of skills.

"It was interesting to hear what he did to complete his award, and great that he was so intrigued by what we did," she concluded.


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