For my CAS Project, I decided to join the Hong Kong Award For Young People (known as AYP or the Duke of Edinburgh). A program at school which I have been involved in since Grade 9 and have already completed the Bronze and Silver Level, and just have the Gold Level left to complete this year. AYP is a very challenging program because of the many sections it covers, which includes physical, skill, service, and expedition sections, which participants like me are required to complete a number of hours throughout a spread of a couple months to a year (depending on the award level), and for Gold a residential project as well in order to achieve the award.
Needing to complete all the mentioned sections in order to meet the requirements, thus is a long term commitment. Many of the extra curricular activities which I do outside of school which I count as parts of the skill, activity, and service sections of AYP are also a part of my CAS Projects. This includes activities such as football for Hong Kong Football Club and the school U20 Football Team (Physical section), learning to play the guitar every Saturday (Skills Section), Hosting and planning a football charity fundraiser tournament at school for InspirignHK Sports Foundation or participating and volunteering in the Amnesty club at school, learning and getting a First Aid Certificate (Service Section), and participating in the Camp Bizsmart Crowdfunding Start Up Week in Stanford University (residential project)
During the Investigation stages for my CAS Project, I didn’t really have to identify my interests and talent for CAS experiences, mainly because I have been participating in the AYP Program since Grade 9, when I already decided on joining. AYP was something I found very enjoyable since I am a person who really loves nature and enjoys being outdoors. Another thing which did require myself to identify my interests, skills, and talents for my CAS experience would be when I was considering what activities I should count towards my skills, physical, and service sections for AYP. However, this was also relatively easy since I have been involved in those activities like playing guitar, going to football training, and volunteering long before joining AYP, some even for longer than 10 years.
In the Preparation/Planning stage for my CAS Project, I would have to sign up for the activities which I would like to count for my AYP sections (however I have already been doing those activities prior to AYP, so I was able to skip this step). However, I did have to gather all the AYP forms for all sections and go to each person who was in charge of organizing my activity and inform them about my intention to count the particular activity as part of my AYP award. And then hand them into the AYP Coordinator Mr. Hamilton 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the activity for each section. Planning stages for the expedition section is the section which requires the most time and commitment. This is because, in order to begin an expedition, there must be a lot of planning which includes setting up the route, marking the map, finding emergency contacts, a food plan, allocating who brings what, etc. And this requires me to regularly chat and meet with my group to get the logistics and planning done in time for the expeditions. This is especially important because my AYP group and I hike and camp overnight for a number of consecutive days. So having everything well planned and thought out would help the expedition run much smoother.
The Action stage of the CAS Project is essentially where I complete the expedition sections with my friends where we hike and camp overnight for consecutive days and requires lots of strength, fitness, and perseverance. The longest number of days out camping is in the Gold Level where we camp for 4 nights. This is also where I complete the other sections including the skill, activity, and service sections as mentioned above.
The Reflection stage of the CAS Project for the expedition section is usually done at the end of the night when we are at the public campsite or the youth hostel. Where we gather as a group and reflect on the day, and discuss what should be improved on. We also write an AYP report after our expeditions in order to reflect on ourselves, how the well we worked as a group, and evaluate each group members contribution. In order for us to improve for future expeditions. For example, we realized how inefficient we were at packing up our tents and other equipment in the morning. So we decided as a group to have assigned tasks during the morning and wake up earlier in order to boost efficiency.
In the Demonstrating/Celebrating sections I demonstrated and communicated to others about our achievements at the AYP by creating a promotional video in order to attract more students at the school to join. We can also celebrate when we are awarded an award for each level, and finally, the big celebration will be when we are awarded the AYP Gold Award which will be presented by the Hong Kong Chief Executive at the Chief’s office once we are finished with all sections.