Jarod McCombe, has become the first FLO* participant in South Australia to achieve the Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) award. He travelled to Sydney earlier this month to meet His Royal Highness Prince Edward and receive the international award.
“I was nervous to meet the prince but he was very friendly and welcoming and it was a really great experience,” says Jarod.
Jarod’s achievement included completing 72 hours of volunteer work, a gruelling seven day trek over Tasmania’s Overland Track, and two outdoor education camps at the Flinders Ranges while also completing Certificate II in Hospitality.
“I’d never been on camp before. But the outdoor camps and adventurous journeys were key aspects of the DOE that really appealed to me…I was mentally and physically pushed to my limits, but I achieved things I never thought I would be able to.”
Today, Jarod is an impressive, motivated and community minded young man with proven leadership skills, who is on track to complete his SACE in 2020 and pursue a career in cookery.
But just five years ago, Jarod was a shy 13 year old who had stopped going to school.
Years of bullying had left him wary of groups and new people. FLO staff encouraged Jarod to take part in our Soul Good program; where his passion for cooking was sparked and he worked alongside other young people “without judgment”.
Jarod returned to school part time to gain skills in hospitality. He also joined our Active Youth fitness program. As Jarod’s confidence and wellbeing grew, he seized the opportunity to challenge himself and meet new people through DOE.
While working towards his Gold Medallion, Jarod shed 15kg, became a peer mentor and was quick to help out his peer community in any way he could.
Congratulations Jarod on your incredible achievement! We wish you all the best for the future.