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Program helps push youth to new heights

Two local students are excelling through the ranks of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Tyler Buck

Two local students are excelling through the ranks of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Local student Hahlay Buck was awarded her bronze medallion at a council meeting on Jan. 10. Her brother, Tyler, was recently awarded a silver at a ceremony in Victoria.

Gerry Yellowlees, local co-ordinator with the Ladysmith Trekkers, said they offer youth an extra challenge with a chance to earn some credits.

“A lot of these kids like to do things like volunteering and this gives them a rationale,” said Yellowlees.

“They feel like they’ve achieved something,” said Yellowlees, adding youth in the program earn school credits and good references.

For Hahlay, she followed her brother’s footsteps into the program. She also liked that there are four different aspects to the program: Volunteering, skills, sports and adventure.

“I thought it would make me well-rounded to be active in four different things,” said Hahlay.

In the end, Hahlay said she found the experience very rewarding and has already started her silver.

Hahlay said she would recommend the program to ambitious youth.

“It makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, but it’s a lot of work,” said Hahlay.

For volunteering, Hahlay was a candy-striper at the Lodge on 4th and worked with Big Brothers and Sisters, among others.

For her skills section, Hahlay performed in a jazz band.

Her sport was yoga and during her adventure she took part as a leader in a hike for two nights where she had to cook all the meals and do all the dishes.

“It was definitely challenging,” said Hahlay, who noted volunteering was her favourite part of the journey.

Tyler decided to take part in the program because he also wanted to challenge himself.

“I really wanted to test myself,” said Tyler.

“It was an excellent experience.”

Tyler said he didn’t really find it too hard to balance his life with the awards program, but noted he did have trouble keeping his activities logged.

“The volunteer work wasn’t bad at all.”

For his sports, Tyler was involved in rugby and soccer. For his trip, Tyler went on a three-day kayaking trip.

For his volunteering Tyler, worked with churches and food banks.

And for his skill, Tyler studied the technique of weight-lighting

The kayaking trip was Tyler’s favourite.

“At times it got pretty tiring, but you had to push through.”

Tyler said while the program looks big and challenging to complete, he encourages youth to sign up because of the rewards it offers.

“Stick with it and make sure you finish it.”

Tyler said he was close to quitting, but found lots of encouragement from his leaders and parents.

For more information, please call Yellowlees at 250-245-0029 or visit

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