Last fall, Jennifer was honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, where twenty-two U.S. participants were recognized for achieving the highest level of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. It is a comprehensive, individualized development program for youth ages 14-24 that integrates formal classroom learning and focuses on progressive goal-setting, developing important life skills such as resilience, confidence, creativity, leadership, citizenship and communication.
Since 1956, the prize-the world’s leading youth affirmation program-has challenged young people to develop new skills, be physically active, have a sense of outdoor adventure, volunteer and step outside their comfort zone. In other words, the POBS program and mission go hand in hand. When she was asked to become an instructor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participants, Jennifer enthusiastically accepted.
At the ceremony, she was honored for her five years of dedication to providing young people with, as Prince Edward put it, “an experience that is not only enjoyable, but rewarding.” Most importantly, she discovered that there is more to POBS than meets the eye.
POBS is the only Outward Bound school in the country to offer training and support for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, giving Jennifer the opportunity to work with students from across the country. This role is another opportunity for personal learning and empowerment that she can pass on to her POBS students.
“Being recognized by Her Royal Highness was amazing and humbling, because I was honored for something I love and have a passion for. It is nice to be recognized, but what is more important is the work I do with my students. This is my recognition. We want them to be successful in their journey. To have that connection. To help students take the next step in their lives.”
As for the future, Jennifer will soon turn 25 years POBS and has no plans to slow down. But each day paves the way for the next generation to continue the mission on her behalf.
“If you stay true to yourself and are passionate about what you do, you will be inspired. It’s not about me. It’s about what binds us to each other: it’s how we spread the lessons and share the richness of Outward Bound.”