Olivia has had to modify three of her Award sections during lockdown; Physical Recreation, Skills and Voluntary Service. However, that hasn't stopped the innovative Aussie from thinking up new ideas in order to continue working on getting her Award from home.

What attracted you to doing the Award?

Something that attracted me to pursue the Award were the benefits I would take away from it. A whole variety of new skills would be learnt along with team building skills and a whole group of new friends.

One thing that specifically appealed to me was the adventure aspect of the Award. I was keen and excited to learn the skills and training and then use them in an outdoor environment I wasn’t completely comfortable in.

I was also excited to see how far I could push myself to try new things and I was amazed with the results of how much I accomplished.

Another thing that I was super happy with was how much I came out of my shell. What I mean by that is how comfortable I got with the other students doing the Award and helping each other along the way to stay motivated and continue to push themselves. The encouragement from your mates is very helpful to complete a goal or obstacle you thought you might not be able to do.

Did I have to change or planning to change any of my activities due to Covide-19?

Three of my activities were actually modified to be able to complete them in the conditions of Covid-19. For my Skills section, I was going to do my progress in Drama because it is something that I am strongly passionate about. However, my classes are located in the city with many people at a time thus had to be cancelled. Therefore, I changed the activity to AUSLAN (sign language) as it was something easy to do at home and I could learn it from a website my AUSLAN teacher set up for the whole class to refer to.

Web learning

For my Physical Recreation, I was going to strive to get my 2nd Dan black belt by the end of the year as it is something very important to me which I have been working very hard for. However, again as social distancing is important to stop the spread of the virus and it is a full contact sport, classes were also cancelled for that until further notice. I then changed the activity to improving my fitness and health at home through an app I found which gives me different training exercises everyday which I can complete in my home.

Girl boxing

For my Voluntary Service, I was hoping to do a fundraiser to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital due to Covid-19 just to help them out a little. As we are in stage 3 lockdown now, it was hard to come up with ideas to actually raise money that didn’t involve leaving the house or selling certain things like a bake sale. Therefore, I had to change it again to something that may or may not continue depending on if school comes back. If it does I will easily to be able to complete my volunteering hours as they are assigned by my Award Leader.

Even though I had to change most of my activities to suit the circumstances, I am actually thrilled I chose what I did. I am so excited to learn these new skills and see how well I executed them even with some of these restrictions because the Award still is doable.

What is the hardest thing about doing the Award in isolation?

I would say the hardest thing about doing the Award in isolation is finding an assessor. For most of my activities my Award Leader is my Assessor and my evidence is photo proof and description of the activity. Sometimes the activity will require me to leave the house and it is difficult to find places to pursue the activity where there aren’t a lot of people, making it difficult to maintain social distancing.

How would you encourage people who may think the Award is too hard to do right now?

Even though we all are going through a tough time right now I have found the Award as a way to distract me from it. Being able to do an activity that you enjoy can really take your mind off of things that may be stressing you out and keeps you busy. Like I said before, the Award is still doable especially with the assistance of the Award Online Record Book app. It is now so much easier to log hours and provide photos. This way, your assessor can always track and verify your progress too. Also, your Award Leaders are always there to help you so shoot them an email if you have any questions as their support and encouragement really helps you through the Award.  I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see my progress and the new skills I’ve learnt by the end of the year.