Queen's Guide Award

Girlguiding UK Queen's Guide Award

South West England Queen's Guide Award Achievements

Vicki, 27, from Bristol, achieved the award in three years

Tell us about the challenges you did to achieve the Queen's Guide Award. What was the most adventurous thing you did and in what ways did you surprise yourself?

I learned British Sign Language and achieved my level 1 certificate in BSL which helped me to put together a resource for scouts and guides on deaf awareness. The aim of the resource was to help the two organisations become inclusive of deaf children. I also helped organise a number of county events.

Firstly, was the opening of our new indoor accommodation at Briarlands campsite. This is our county campsite, and was opened officially by the Chief Guide. This was extra special, as I had attended the opening of the campsite as a brownie myself. I was on the organising team for the county big brownie birthday celebrations, helping organise the launch sleepover and our finale camp. At our finale camp I ran and organised a science zone for all the brownies. Activities included; balloon powered cars; volcanoes; fingerprinting; recycling and sewage. This was a big challenge as it was the biggest event I had organised - however this has led on to me having the confidence and ability to organise other big county events, with a joint scout/guide one being organised in May. Lastly, I was part of the growing guiding initiative for our county. With such big waiting lists, we looked at how to elevate the waiting lists - it was agreed a holiday out of term unit for both rainbows and brownies would be set up. We worked as the core team delivering these sessions from the offset, and continued to run sessions for the girls until last July.

What does achieving your Queen’s Guide mean to you?

Having been a member of guiding since I was 5 years old, to be able to say I have completed the highest award in Guiding, is an incredible honour. The Queens Guide Award, isn't an easily achieved award and is a more 'rare' award for people to achieve. As a ranger leader and now a county senior section adviser, its an incredible privilege to share my story on completing my Queen's Guide to encourage other young members to go for it.

Emily, 20, from Pewsey

How long did it take you to achieve your Queen’s Guide Award?

I started the award on 1st July 2013, and the award was signed off by the Chief Guide on 18th January 2017. However I completed the majority of the award within the first two years. To complete the award you need to do all five sections including all individual elements. Residential Experience was the first section I completed in July 2013, by going to Glenbrook Outdoor activity centre in the Peak District. Outdoor Challenge was the next section I worked on, I completed element one in April 2014. For this I completed my Senior section permit and a training weekend and practice expedition. I then went on to my final expedition and summarised the expedition which I completed in July 2014. Service in guiding, skill development and community action were all sections that had to be worked towards over a period of time. Skill Development I started in October 2013 and completed in October 2015, for this I did kayaking, developing my skill. In 2015 I worked towards the community action section for the year, completing it in December 2015. Research into Wiltshire Air Ambulance and involving the guides in collection of milk bottle tops were all part of this section. Finally the last section to complete was service in Guiding with four elements. The first three elements I completed in 2014, assisting on Guide camp as well as running meetings. Element four was the last section for me to complete in the whole award as it was very difficult to find a suitable event run by Girlguiding or my region. However I then completed this in August 2016 by being security staff at Wellies and Wristbands in Foxlease as well as gaining participant feedback. After this I gathered all my evidence together and sent it to county for signing off.

Tell us about the challenges you did to achieve the Queen's Guide Award. What was the most adventurous thing you did and in what ways did you surprise yourself?

For the residential section I went to Glenbrook Activity Centre in Derbyshire from 8th to 18th July 2013. I took part in woodland management as well as other onsite tasks and maintenance, including tree felling and trail activities. I also created new activities as well as revamped old ones, picture trails, smiley face trails, and orienteering. We also took part in evening activities such as swimming, abseiling and weaselling. During the residential we had to be self sufficient and cook suitably for all in our group. As part of the outdoor section I completed my Senior Section Permit. I ran a survival camp at Burbage scout hut for Guides from Pewsey unit between 14th and 17th April 2014. I provided a range of activities such as hiking, bivouacking, pioneering and backwards cooking. I completed my Gold DofE expedition as part of element two with BXM Expeditions. I took part in a training weekend on 15th and 16th March 2015 in South Wales. I later did a practice expedition between 8th and 11th April in Snowdonia. My final expedition completing this section was on 19th to 22nd July 2014 in the Brecon Beacons with two wild camps. Service in Guiding, element one was completed over 60 hours with 20 hours working with a small group of girls to help them achieve their Baden Powell award. As a young leader at Guides I helped run and plan activities. The activities involved; cooking, a party, bivouac, games, knots, crafts and more. I completed element two on summer Camp as an assistant activity co-ordinator. I oversaw and assisted with development of activities participated in by Guides throughout the week as well as encouraging those that were nervous. Element three involved local Brownies for games, activities and food. We ran a Chinese new year party for them which was also planned with the Baden Powell girls. The final element of this section was completed at Wellies & Wristbands 2016 as Security Staff. I collected feedback from participants, leaders and volunteers about their weekend at Wellies & Wristbands. Our findings and experience was discussed as a group at the end of the weekend. Community action was another section that was completed over time. I researched into Wiltshire Air Ambulance including; what they do and how they raise money. This also involved finding out the impact of Air Ambulances in the U.K as well as impacts of recycle funding worldwide. As a unit we collected milk bottle tops for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. To complete this section I did a presentation to the unit. I presented information that I found out about Wiltshire Air Ambulance to my unit including it's funding. In total we collected a total of 260,200 milk bottle tops which weighed 22kg (6 sacks full). The final section which was personal skill development was where I did the most adventurous thing but also where I surprised myself. I have always loved kayaking when I went on Guide camps, so I decided to take up regular kayaking with the local club for this section. By starting the new skill, I improved my ability with speed, distance and technique. I participated in regular sessions on the canal and in the pool which involved self rescue. This led to the most adventurous thing I did for the award and I participated in a white water session at Cardiff White Water Centre. I surprised myself as it was my first time ever being on white water, yet I managed to successfully manoeuvre down the course with very few capsizes. Not only that I also went from a 4 cumecs to an 8 cumecs course and managed to master it first time. This is something that I really enjoyed and the award gave me the opportunity to do this but I also want to do it again in the future.

What does achieving your Queen’s Guide mean to you?

Achieving my Queen’s Guide Award gave me a wide range of experience as well as an opportunity to try new skills & activities. I also have many memories from the range of things that I did to complete the award. The great thing about the award is its not just for your own personal achievements it also ables you to help others achieve new things and have a good experience. This was done through planning and running meetings and a camp for the guides. Involvement with a wide range of people is key to the award and develops personal communication skills to all ages. Involvement with a range of people for periods of time has also enabled me to make new friends with similar interests. The award also opens opportunities to do new things, for me this was taking up kayaking for skill development. The whole achievement of the award is great for the future as its all really personal to you. Its a great thing to put on your CV due to the range of skills you have obtained from the award.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Queen's Guide Award experience?

The whole award has been a great achievement and has allowed me to use all my skills and knowledge I have learnt through my Guiding life to be put together to gain more and gain an award. I really enjoyed doing this award and organising all the activities to complete. A few of my key memories are: White water kayaking in Cardiff which was a great experience, running my own camp which all the girls went away from asking when I was running another one, volunteering at Glenbrook and participating in activities and finally wild camping on my expedition in the Brecon Beacons with clear evening skies and shooting stars. I can’t thank all those within in my Guiding life for preparing me and helping me to gain this award. When I started out as a Guide at age 10, I was very shy and quiet but thanks to the wonderful leaders and opportunities I have become a very confident and outgoing person

Molly, 22, from Trowbridge, achieved award in 2 years 2 months

Tell us about the challenges you did to achieve the Queen's Guide Award. What was the most adventurous thing you did and in what ways did you surprise yourself?

For my exploration, I organised a trip to Sweden for six days to explore the many wonderful sights and learn more about the Swedish culture. Three friends and I had a great time exploring different places of interest including both the busy city life of Stockholm and Gävle, but also contrasting with the quieter, rural landscape of Skärså. As part of the trip we also stayed with my friend Louise, who I met when volunteering at Our Chalet in Switzerland ,at her summer house where we went kayaking, swimming and cycling, fully embracing the Swedish culture making our own Swedish food, enjoying traditional games and practising the Swedish language with her family. As part of my personal skill development, I worked on my swimming techniques with a particular focus on improving my speed and endurance. I put this to the test by taking on the challenge of the Marie Curie Swimathon when I swam 5K in 1 hour and 52 mins which was a great improvement from when I first started training! I surprised myself throughout this element, as it took a lot of dedication and determination with training most evenings after work, something which I was not going to give up on! I also raised over £500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care which was a great motivation to complete this challenge and of which I am very proud!
Paragliding from TschentenAlp over Adelboden valley was one of the most memorable and adventurous experiences I had during my time working as a volunteer at Our Chalet. Together with this was our hike up Bunderspitz mountain to a Cheesemaker’s Hut on Bunderalp (1770m) at dusk where we slept for a few hours before getting up at 2am to continue the hike to the summit of Bunderspitz (2546m) to watch the sun rise over the distant peaks. The hard climb was certainly worth it as the views were breath taking and I felt inspired by the spectacular surrounding Alpine scenery. It was during this moment of awe that made me realise that one way to get the most out of life is to look at it as one big adventure and make the most of everyday!

What does achieving your Queen’s Guide mean to you?

Achieving my Queen’s Guide Award is a great honour and a huge personal achievement. For me, it is the culmination of many years of commitment to the Guiding movement and I feel very proud to have completed the highest award in guiding, having certainly challenged myself and achieved significant goals along the way. The Queen’s Guide Award is an excellent addition to my CV and has most certainly been a great talking point at interview, which I believe has helped to secure a variety of positions both at University and in the world of work. I am most grateful for the guiding movement and in particular, the opportunities the Queen’s Guide Award has given me to discover new adventures and lasting friendships.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Queen's Gu ide Award experience?

I thoroughly enjoyed the community action element. For this I chose to research ‘Living with a terminal illness’. This was a subject very close to my heart and something I was very keen to learn more about. Through an in-depth study using a variety of research methods including the internet, books and talking to several health care professionals, I was able to apply my acquired knowledge during my time volunteering with St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth. St Luke’s is a very worthwhile charity, offering palliative care for terminally ill patients. My role at the hospice was to prepare and serve meals and drinks to the patients whilst engaging with them and their visitors. After twelve months of researching this topic locally, UK-wide and internationally, I collated my research and put together an information book which I presented along with my findings and experiences to a group of senior section members and leaders.

Amy, 22, from Waterlooville

How long did it take you to achieve your Queen’s Guide Award?


It took me 3.5 years to complete my Queen's Guide Award. This included an 8 month break I took to write my undergraduate dissertation. During the last 6 months I was very close to giving up, but everyone from my home division was so supportive and wanted me to succeed that I pushed through the last challenges (mainly time and finding participants for the exploration) to completed the award.

Tell us about the challenges you did to achieve the Queen's Guide Award. What was the most adventurous thing you did and in what ways did you surprise yourself?

The number of hours I clocked up in guiding over the duration of my award surprised me. Working towards the award coincided with the Big Brownie Birthday, and as a brownie leader, this meant I had a year of non-stop guiding. I did my first two residentials as an adult leader, gaining a huge amount of self-confidence as well I providing exciting opportunities for my brownies. My unit went to London, Butlins, Isle of Wight PGL as well as local events in the county/division. From residential to day trips and even just regular unit meetings, barely a day would pass without me doing something guiding-related - it was fantastic! For the personal skill evelopment I took my 1 hour weekly ballet class to the next level. After starting college, I emailed a local dance school and asked if they would be willing to take on a 16 year old with no ballet experience. I started off in classes with 7/8 year olds, but I loved every minute. The teachers were great and I went up through the grades faster than I could have imagined. After just 18 months my feet were strong enough to start point classes. I though my adventure onto pointe would be the perfect journey to track for my personal skill development. The award gave me the chance to explore more than just classes. I learnt how to take care of my body, learnt about pointe shoes, and went to performances and screenings of ballets. The highlight was visiting the Royal Opera House to see a performance of the Nutcracker. My goal, and final achievement of this section was dancing en pointe in school's end of year showcase - something I never thought would be possible! The most challenging part of my award was that I was still working on it when I moved away to university. I left my support network behind and had to make contact with guiding in my new county to ensure I could continue. I also joined my university's SSAGO group. The Queen's Guide Award gave me a mechanism for making new friends and finding new support while starting University - a time that can be challenging and lonely. I attended a SSAGO rally in Lancaster. It was great to meet so many guides and scouts from all over the country. We went for walks in the Lake District and completed activities at the campsite. We camped in January's sub-zero conditions - on the second night my tent and my water bottles froze solid! The most adventurous thing I did was the outdoor challenge. To achieve my senior section permit I hiked a section of the south downs with fellow senior section members from neighboring counties. The women that came with me were friends I had met during my award, at Peer Education and other senior section events. For the final exploration I lead a group to Penzance to complete a section of the south west coastal path. We went in January, making the path a little precarious. Several locals warned us of hiking in windy conditions. We combined all of our outdoor experience to ensure we completed the hike safely. While completing an A-Z of our trip was our main aim, our trip became a story of haunted youth hostels, warnings of dramatic coastal deaths from locals and explorations of smuggling coves and old mine workings. I retold this story to an enthralled hall of people during an evening with the local trefoil guild.

What does achieving your Queen’s Guide mean to you?

I have been involved with guiding since I joined at 6 years olds as a Rainbow. I have been through all the sections, then went on to become a leader. Achieving the Queen's Guide Award brought together all the experiences I have had, all the people I have met and all the skills I have learnt. Achieving the award is the highlight of my time with Girlguiding. It is a great way to give back to the people who enabled me to have such a great childhood in guiding, and to help ensure the next generation are able to have that experience. I come from a family of guiding and scouting. My mum is also a guider, and completed her Queen's Guide Award as a ranger. I like to think that I am following in her footsteps.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Queen's Guide Award experience?

It is an absolutely fantastic experience that I would recommend to any senior section member. The most brilliant part of the award is you can make it completely your own - I am yet to meet any fellow Queen's Guides who's activities/experiences were even similar!

Megan, 23, from Plymouth, took three years to complete

Tell us about the challenges you did to achieve the Queen's Guide Award. What was the most adventurous thing you did and in what ways did you surprise yourself?

I ran a Division trip to the local zoo for over 100 people quite earlier on in QG award. I felt very nervous on the day because I had to be so organised but it went really well and all the leaders agreed, and the girls certainly had a great time! First time I QM'ed was in Switzerland for 43 people in a tiny kitchen. I hadn't planned the menu because it was supplied by Jekka. I thought that would be easier that way but I was so wrong! I would say this was my biggest challenge! For the GAWS, I took a group of Guides to a bunkhouse in the middle of Dartmoor. We went rock climbing and abseiling and did lots of activities about survival in the wilderness. It was great to see the girl experience something which they wouldn't necessary do. I would say my proudest moment was when I completed my research and practical projects. Before I started them, I thought I wasn't going to complete the QG award because I was facing mental health issues but after receiving so much support from the advisers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire and Devon, I completed them. I couldn't stop smiling and it made me realise that I could do anything I wanted, even though I have a mental health condition.

What does achieving your Queen’s Guide mean to you?

It means so much to me! Before I started it, it was just an award I could achieve but now I feel I've learnt so much and gain so much experience throughout the award that I am so proud to have completed it! I admire anyone who has completed it because it encourages so many skills and certainly is a challenge.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Queen's Guide Award experience?

Wellies and Wristbands a fab experience, it allowed to me to connect with a friend I had seen in a while and allowed me to make new friends and I was so pleased that I was my last challenge to complete because it was such a fun way to end.