Each year, students at Nicholas’s School are offered the opportunity to attend a lecture about the Award, where after attending those who are interested can apply. Nicholas had always done the bare minimum needed to help him grow, but decided to fill out an application and send it in, he was notified a week later that he would be taking on the Award.
Nicholas’s attraction to the Award almost purely came from a desire to do big things in the world. He had not yet done anything outside of what he had to and thought there has to be a first time for everything.
For his Gold Award he chose the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) and Rural Fire Service (RFS) as the primary volunteering activities, running as the Physical recreation, learning to drive as the Skill, hiking the Great North Walk as the Adventurous Journey and going on a 5-day research study with scientists in South Australia, as well as a 5-day camp in Katoomba with AAFC for the Gold Residential Project. These activities were all things that he felt passionate about. Nicholas was able to discover how much he enjoyed helping people, running, camping, science (namely chemistry) and being productive.
There are two elements of the Award that were the most enjoyable parts for Nicholas. The first was the amazing, unforgettable experiences and memories made with people he cares about enhanced by exploring new areas and activities. The second was being able to realize his ability and potential, the significance of being exposed to new opportunities and that it showed him he could, in fact, achieve what he wanted in life he says.
Nicholas thinks the number of challenges and issues he counted could be represented as a “reverse snowball effect”. Finding the courage and motivation to start the Award was difficult and certainly a challenge for him. One such challenge was maintaining motivation to continue the Award as many of the people whom he started it with did not have the stamina to continue on to complete all three Award Levels. Another issue Nicholas faced was financial issues surrounding funding the Award. Nicholas was extremely fortunate however to have come across my local Rotary who after applying was invited to a presentation dinner as a special guest to be one of about 20 selected to receive a grant and specifically asked to give a speech. He was extremely grateful for Windsor Rotary for this. Nicholas found as he progressed through the Award levels one journey at a time, crossing off his hours as he went along that the issues he faced seem to lessen as he grew as a person and his confidence improved.
The Award changed Nicholas’s life significantly. He went from a shy kid who was reluctant to get involved in anything, to someone who was chairperson of the SRC, School Captain, in the precision drill team in his local Air Force Cadets, receiving top of class Awards, a peer support leader and so much more. Nicholas graduated with an amazing result, receiving various Awards and now only 19 years of age has since joined various Government Panels, built multiple successful businesses including eCommerce brands and various agencies, worked with some amazing high-level mentors, received further education, built a successful website, blog and online following and even written multiple eBooks. This all stemmed from taking up that one opportunity to get involved which seems to have led to a lifetime more.
Nicholas’s Award Journey had left him feeling proud of his cohort’s and own personal achievements and improved self-confidence and had given Nicholas a new outlook on life helping me to appreciate the importance of taking on opportunities like Award that will help you in your future. Nicholas would recommend everyone who has the opportunity to take up the Award do so as it can truly shape you and consequently your life for the better.
Having completed the Award, Nicholas was left with both sorrow and eagerness to keep moving forward. While it was upsetting for him to have to end such an amazing string of experiences over the course of 4 years, since doing the Award Nicholas has had many more opportunities come his way and expects to have many more to come.