Vanessa Cohen has many fond memories of her experience through Bronze, Silver and Gold. From hiking mountains, sheering sheep and sleeping under the stars to mastering piano songs from the production ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, she has stepped outside her comfort zone and achieved more than she ever thought she could.

However, the most memorable moment was spending time with so many lovely children, all sharing one common interest, as she coached them through gymnastics.

Before taking part in the Award, Vanessa participated in elite trampoline sports but it wasn’t until she began coaching trampolining and gymnastics classes for her service component when she really discovered her passion. Here she shares her story:

I was involved in elite gymnastics and trampolining up until the age of 14, so I was also able to become a volunteer coach for the recreational trampoline classes as my Service component. I continued this as my Service through my Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, which gave me enough experience to become fully accredited as an Intermediate trampoline and women’s artistic gymnastics coach at Bulleen Templestowe Youth Club (BTYC).

Since becoming accredited in 2014, I was given a job as a women’s gymnastics, men’s gymnastics, kinder gym, trampolining and tumbling coach at BTYC and continued my service as one or two extra volunteer coaching hours per week to meet the criteria of the Gold Award.

I have been interested in gymnastics coaching for as long as I can remember and it is one of my best accomplishments to be able to work in an environment that I love, sharing my passion with the next generation of children. I teach children aged 3-18 years and I love that I am involved with so many lovely people and that we all share a common interest.

There are so many kids who come bouncing into the gym for their classes and it’s my job to host an enjoyable and beneficial class for them and it makes me so happy when they tell me they’ve enjoyed themselves.

If I hadn’t done my Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, I wouldn’t even be close to where I am today – it was incredibly helpful.

The Award has definitely prepared me for my future career endeavors because it has encouraged me to work collaboratively with others as well as being able to work independently on different tasks. Throughout the course of my Duke of Ed experiences, I have gained so much more confidence in all areas of my life. In the future I would love to become a primary school teacher and work in a rural area of Australia to support kids who may not have as many facilities or opportunities and to continue my work as a gymnastics coach through the rest of high school and then university.

It is essential for me to build my discipline, people skills and confidence if I want to be a primary teacher in the future, and I feel that the Award has really helped me challenge myself, keep persisting and has given me so many new and exciting opportunities. I’m so glad I pushed through and continued my Duke of Edinburgh Awards and I am very excited to see what’s in store for me in the future.


The Service section of the Gold Award offers the opportunity to engage with society and gain an understanding of the importance of your role within both your immediate and global community. It gives you the chance to connect with individuals and groups you may have previously overlooked or not been aware of, and to make a real difference to your wider community.

On behalf of the team at Duke of Ed Victoria, we would like to congratulate Vanessa on her fantastic achievements. Vanessa will be receiving her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the Gold Award Gala in December this year. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to purchase a ticket to support more young people discovering their passions. More info here.

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