Gaisce - the President's Award is Ireland's national challenge award (the equivilent of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the UK) and is the most prestigious and respected individual award programme in the country. It is a challenge from the President of Ireland, to young people between 15 and 25 years of age.
There are three separate and progressive levels of the Award- Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each award works on the basis of a personal challenge set by you. There are 3 different challenge areas: Community Involvement, Personal Skill and Physical Recreation. To earn an award you choose your own activities within each challenge area in consultation with a President's Award Leader (the Civic Engagement Officer in TCD) and complete your application online. Once you have applied, you can begin your challenge: a minimum of one hour per week of each activity for a set number of weeks (see below), an Adventure Journey and, if going for Gold, you will also need to undertake a Residential Project.
If you are considering taking up the Gaisce challenge, you should meet with the Civic Engagement Officer to have a chat about your activities, maybe get ideas about what to do if you are unsure about a particular area, and fill out your application.
For the Bronze Award, you must complete 13 weeks in each of the following areas: Community Involvement, Personal Skill and Physical Recreation. You must also do an additional 13 weeks in one of the above three areas and undertake an Adventure Journey (2days, 1 night to either walk 25-35km or cycle 100-130km).
For the Silver Award, you must complete 26 weeks in each of the three activity areas and, if you don't already hold a Bronze Award, an additional 13 weeks in one area. The Adventure Journey at Silver level, requires that you plan, prepare and undertake a 3 day, 2 night journey either on foot (50-79km) or by bike (190 - 220km).
For the Gold Award, you must complete 52 weeks in each of the three activity areas and, if you don't already hold a Silver Award, an additional 26 weeks in one area. The Adventure Journey requires you to plan, prepare and undertake a 5 day, 4 night journey either on foot (80-110km) or by bike (300-350km). At Gold Level, it is also necessary to do a Residential Project- a shared activity with a group in a residential setting for 5 days and 4 nights.