IGE: Grasping an opportunity that shaped my life

Jason attending the IGE 2005

Jason, from the UK, attended the IGE 2005 in Hong Kong. Here, he explains the direct impact the global leadership event has had on his life.

Seizing an opportunity

“After gaining my own Gold level Award, I first became involved in helping other young people through the Award in 2002, in Reading, UK.  I continued to volunteer in co-ordinating that open Award group for 8 years when unfortunately work duties took me elsewhere.

Luckily, this was not the end of my Award journey. At the 50th Anniversary event in Cardiff, I first heard of the IGE and fortunately I was able to be a part of the 2005 IGE in Hong Kong.  

This was an incredible experience with such wonderful people from around the world. We packed so much in to those two weeks. Sharing that experience with so many others who had the same kind of drive for life as me, meant there was never a dull moment.

An eye-opening experience

Not only was I able get a glimpse into the cultures of the countries represented by those other delegates present, but we also had a much greater insight into the lives of people in the host country itself.  It still moves me to remember the passion and pride of the children we met in that remote village in China, and how so many of their aspirations would be to work in one of the many factories that lined both sides of the road for so many hours coming out of Hong Kong.

One of the other IGE delegates in particular became an inseparable friend during the event, and still remains a great friend over 12 years later. We still talk by phone and email often, and visit each other in person even though we live oceans apart.

For anyone who has the opportunity, the insights gained from the IGE alone can shape your life in ways you might not otherwise imagine. There are so many references in my life to key events from around that time, and lessons from the people I met, as a direct result of the IGE. 

Thanks to the AwardJason at IGE 2005

The mindset of the Award in developing yourself across multiple areas (skills, service, physical, journey, residential) is a style of living that has suited me incredibly well through most of my adult life.  

I’ve continued to be known as someone who maintains multiple interests across diverse areas, ever since starting as a Bronze participant of the Award in my teens. In business this enabled me to run multiple businesses concurrently, and subsequently emigrate from the UK to New Zealand.

I now live on an old wooden sail boat in Wellington harbour, New Zealand, having sailed from the UK to Australia in 2013 on a racing yacht on a five month journey. I’ve recently taken on the role of part time General Manager of Wellington Circus, which is a charitable trust inspiring passion in the circus arts. I continue to work as an independent handyman and carpenter. I’m also fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been through multiple weekly circus classes such as hand balance, adagio, and aerials.

The Award has done so much for my life. I urge other people to get involved and stay involved- through the three levels of the Award to the IGE and beyond. You will never regret it!”