Her ability to sing and desire to grow as a person earned South Kamloops secondary student Brynja Paetkau a coveted Duke of Edinburgh Award.
And Paetkau, 15, put her talent to good use Saturday, singing O Canada and God Save the Queen in front of 10 other award recipients and their families, MLAs Todd Stone and Terry Lake and Lt. Gov. Judy Guichon during a ceremony at St. Andrews on the Square.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award, which was held in Kamloops for the first time, gives those aged 14 to 24 the chance to participate in global programs that encourage community involvement.
Talking to The Daily News prior the ceremony, Paetkau said the award has four components that explore physical activity, community service, new skills and adventurous journeys.
"For your adventurous journey you plan a trip to go camping or biking to get you outside," she said. "It's a really neat program."
She took a German exchange student kayaking up the Salmon Inlet, which was quite an undertaking given she'd never kayaked.
"I'd never gone on that sort of trip before. I've had lots of camping experience through Girl Guides, but I'd never gone kayaking," said Paetkau. "It's so much fun. It was the highlight of my award."
Her brother, Owen, is also a Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient. Kathryn McLaren Easton, also of Kamloops, is a silver standard winner.
Umeeda Switlo, executive director for The Duke of Edinburgh Award B.C./Yukon division, said Paetkau developed a talent for singing too, which is why she was asked to perform at the ceremony.
"We're really excited to have her host us," she said.
The ceremony is usually held in Vancouver or Victoria, making the trek to Kamloops a rare treat for the recipients, said Switlo.
Awards are handed out at bronze, silver or gold achievement levels. Paetkau received her bronze award Saturday. Awards are handed out in 140 countries around the world.
To learn more visit dukeofed.org.