A group of young people are meeting with royalty in Calgary on Friday to be congratulated for their excellence in sports and their efforts to improve their communities.

Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son and Earl of Wessex, will be presenting the awards to local youth who are recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The award was created by Edward’s father Prince Phillip.

Maria Higuerey from Fort McMurray received the award through a lot of hard work. “It taught me a lot of resilience and not to give up on whatever I am doing.”

She spent a lot of time volunteering in Fort McMurray. “It’s inspiring because you really want to help others.”

She says she is excited, even a bit nervous to meet the Prince.

Sarah Stumpf, from Calgary, played on her high school’s volleyball team and volunteered a great deal of time at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. “I coordinate a lot of visits with my school.”

“I think this award has made me a better person.”

Sarah’s school, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir, played a big part in inspiring her to go for the award. “My school constructs a lot of the aspects that this award is as well; the well-roundedness, determination and those sorts of things.”

Ryan Stumpf, Sarah’s brother, also attended the same school and achieved the award when he was in Grade 11.

“I was already doing volunteer work throughout my career leading through junior high. Once it got to Grade 9, I continued doing what I was doing.”

He says he also taught kids baseball and a number of other sports.

The award, he says, helps young people to push their boundaries and try things that may not be in their comfort zone. “It pushes you and motivates you to do those sorts of things.”

Following the presentation of the awards at Canada Olympic Park, the Prince will meet with his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, for a reception at the new Studio Bell at the National Music Centre.

Sophie toured Fort McMurray, meeting with first responders to the wildfire, earlier in the day.