Tanner and Aiden Brine receive their Duke of Edinburgh Award from Prince Edward

[slideshow]To earn a Duke of Edinburgh Award is wonderful at the bronze, silver or gold level and several Clyde River youth have already had that honor. At the highest level, gold, youth can choose how and where they receive the award. For the Brine family in Clyde River, the chance to go to Ottawa to have Prince Edward present Tanner and Aiden with their gold Duke of Edinburgh Award was a wonderful opportunity.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, established the Award and 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the program in Canada. On September 12, Prince Edward, the future Duke of Edinburgh, came to Ottawa for a ceremony to kick off the anniversary year and to present Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Tanner and Aiden Brine were among the 130 Canadian youth recipients. Even though Tanner had just started his fourth year at Mt. Alison University and Aiden had just started attending Acadia University, their parents, Marie and Bruce Brine, accompanied them to Ottawa for what Tanner and Aiden Brine describe as an incredible experience.

The award ceremony took place on the 4th floor of the Ottawa Convention Centre. The room had glass outer walls so the Peace Tower and Chateau Laurier were part of the backdrop. Tanner and Aiden said Prince Edward was remarkable; classy, warm, well spoken and he gave lots of time to the young people. The recipients were seated in small groups with family behind. The Prince visited each one for their presentation and a chat and then turned to congratulate the parents. The Brine family thought this was a wonderful gesture, and the whole experience felt quite intimate.

The objective of the award program is to encourage personal and community development among youth ages 14-25. The youth at Bluefield Senior High and East Wiltshire Intermediate have been very active with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Program for some years now with several advancing to the gold level. This award recognizes a proven record of intensive volunteering and community involvement, physical activity, overcoming outdoor challenges and developing life skills. Participants say it teaches personal discipline, social consciousness and self-reliance.

Both Brine boys strongly endorse the program as a great way for young people to help others, learn new skills, stay active and stretch the limits of their personal abilities. Others, like the Ross, Wood, and Richards families would agree.

Clyde River has greatly benefited from Tanner and Aiden’s help in the past few years. These volunteer efforts helped them achieve bronze, silver and gold status and helped community development for Clyde River. Just a few examples are given in this article. When the apple pie fundraisers were held, Tanner and Aiden were always there to help. Their willingness and skill to help with all stages of the process were very much appreciated. Likewise Tanner and Aiden helped create Murchison Place Park and with annual clean up ever since the park opened in 2007.

While in high school, Tanner organized a birdhouse competition working with Bluefield art and carpentry students. These birdhouses added to the attractions at Murchison Place Park when it opened in 2007 and still do today. In recognition for his leadership, Tanner received a Canadian Youth Award on Canada Day of that year. Tanner was unable to be present to accept that award as he was off doing a wilderness canoe trip in northern Quebec.

Aiden was depended on even more when Tanner went to university, and whenever he was asked to help, he would respond willingly and independently set off to complete a task. In 2010, at a Youth Inspires Seniors forum, Aiden gave an inspiring talk on his own wilderness canoe adventure. Aiden took a leadership role at Bluefield High where he served as Student Council President in his graduation year. As part of this role, Aiden worked closely with Habitat for Humanity and the students built a home on site for Habitat.

Other sources such as teachers, sport leaders and friends could more completely describe the work and dedication that led to Tanner and Aiden’s achievement of a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, but from the community of Clyde River, all we can say is “congratulations and thank you for your years of help. You are an inspiration to youth as well as to the adults of this community and we are proud of both of you.”

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