Fourteen-year-old Harriet Martin is running an Adventure Race this Easter to support Cambodian children. She tells Expat Parent how she got involved.
Introduce yourself to us…
My name is Harriet Martin, I’m a secondary student and I’m from Clearwater Bay.
So how did the Adventure Race come about?
At school I’m working towards my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. It’s an optional course which has three stages, bronze, silver and gold. It’s also known as AYP, or the Hong Kong Award for Young People. It teaches you new skills and and an important component is getting involved with charity or community work. Other sections include completing a skill and a physical challenge. It really helps build your independence, personal organisation and teamwork skills. Each stage culminates with an expedition.
Where are you up to right now?
I’m currently working towards my bronze. I’ve finished the physical section, for which I took tennis lessons for an hour every week over three months. For my skill I am learning to play the piano for an hour plus practice each week. I only have a few more lessons to go and should be finished around May. I’ve also been doing some volunteering work for about six weeks so far. I have chosen Feeding Dreams Cambodia as my charity. Everything I’ve done has been logged online.
Tell us more about your charity work…
Feeding Dreams Cambodia is a voluntary organisation that provides support, meals and education to over 800 families living in the slums of Siem Reap. I really enjoy the volunteering aspect of the award and I went out and visited the Feeding Dreams team in Cambodia last Easter. It was great playing and interacting with the children and helping them learn. The charity really has changed so many people’s lives.
So tell us more about the Adventure Race…
Yes, this month I will be running my volunteering event and I aim to raise around $6,000. I’m hoping this money will sponsor a week’s worth of meals, or help with some of the projects they’re developing. My event is an Adventure Race around Clearwater Bay called the Dream Team Challenge. I’m hoping to involve around 30 local children, with parents helping to run the event. It will involve activities like hiking, swimming, paddling and beach games, which I hope everyone will enjoy.
What do you enjoy most about the award?
I enjoy it all – my main sport is tennis and I do love playing the piano. Also the thought that I’m helping Feeding Dreams is great. I really hope I reach my $6,000 goal.
And what have been the tough bits?
The hardest part so far has been organising the volunteering section. I had to think of ideas to raise money and contact people to participate in my event. I also have to put together a PowerPoint presentation about how I organised it all. I also have to do an hour of voluntary work each week. And at the end of the summer term I have to participate in an expedition which lasts a few days. I’m hoping to have my bronze award by the end of the school year.
I might move on to my silver and gold awards – it’s a great thing to have on your resume for university!
How can other kids get involved?
You can sign up through your school if they offer the programme, or through any other organisation that offers it – often girl guide and scouting groups run a programme. I would say you need to choose activities you enjoy and that you can participate in year round.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I enjoy playing tennis outside of my award commitments, as well as hanging out with my friends and going swimming. I also enjoy water skiing, ice skating and going to the movies. I love trying new activities.
If you want to find out more about the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme in Hong Kong, see www.ayp.org.hk.
For more information about Feeding Dreams, see www.feedingdreamscambodia.org.