Queens Guide Award by Gemma Farley

As the ultimate award in Guiding available to any member of the Senior Section aged 16-25, the Queen’s Guide Award presented me with a series of challenges that allowed me to give sustained service to Guiding and the community as well as develop my own skills.

The Award is based on the concepts of personal challenge and participation, and gave me the chance to develop through activities that I enjoy. The Award helped me to further develop various skills such as teamwork, time management, organisational skills, planning and evaluation, and communication skills.

The 5 module areas of the Award are Service in Guiding, Outdoor Challenge, Personal Skill Development, Community Action and Residential Experience. This is a summary of what I did for each module area:

Service in Guiding

This module is designed to encompass a range of services to Guiding, requiring a significant commitment to The Guide Association and its aims and objectives. It was my chance to make a personal commitment to Guiding and I achieved this by completing 4 Elements, as follows:

Element 1 required that I carry out practical Guiding service for a period of 60 hours. At least 20 hours should consist of one activity or project. For a period between June 2007 and August 2008, I committed 76 hours to 2nd Crawley Down Guides providing a balanced and varied programme covering the 5 essentials. Initially I was the Assistant Guider but took over the Unit in September 2008 whilst working towards 2 modules for ‘Taking a leadership role in guiding’ of the Leadership Qualification. I completed modules 1 and 4 in July 2007 and July 2008 respectively.

Element 2 required that I attend a residential Guiding event and accept a responsibility that was new to me or that furthered my experience. The responsibility was to be appropriate to my capabilities and the event should last for at least 2 days and 2 nights. I camped with 2nd Crawley Down Guides at ‘Bull River’ near Chiddingly and took on the role of cook/ QM.

Element 3 required that I take an active part in the planning of an event, which involved the participation of at least 2 units. I became involved in and oversaw planning an event for Worth Division Guides and Senior Sections. The planning team decided to undertake a themed night hike from Turners Hill to Copthorne with a sleepover at Copthorne Guide Centre.  We named the event a ‘Midnight Monster March’ - as we walked until midnight, the theme was Monsters, and it was in March 2008!! There were 5 Guide units and 2 Senior Section units who participated in the event – which not only satisfied the syllabus for this element but also the criteria for the module of working within at least two Guiding sections.

Element 4 required that I actively participate in a working group or committee run by Girlguiding UK or my Country or Region, or get involved in an Association issue. I came across Girlguiding UK’s National Forum for Young Women aged 16-25 years old, Innovate. It is held annually over a weekend to allow members of the Senior Section to express their opinions and share their ideas in workshops to contribute to the direction of Girlguiding UK. I attended Innovate in Wroughton in March 2008.

I was involved in the ‘Social Buzz’ workshop which delved into the aspects of social networking.  Girlguiding UK now has a profile and social network on Facebook which is popular and a good source of information with links to the Girlguiding UK website.

Outdoor Challenge 
This module allowed me to meet a personal challenge, show leadership and teamwork, and developed my skills in preparation for the expedition.

Element 1 required completing 2 components before undertaking the challenge in Element 2: 
a)  I was required to complete the first 6 modules of the Camp and Holiday Scheme. I did this by organising a Christmas 2007 Residential Holiday for 2nd Crawley Down Guides at Blackland Farm.

b)   required the undertaking of further training as required to prepare me for the challenge. I had decided to undertake an expedition of an English Canal and therefore realised that it would be necessary to work towards Modules 1 and 2 (Canals) of the Girlguiding UK Power-cruising Scheme. I was directed to Girlguiding Hertfordshire who provide narrowboat Guiders’ training weekends. I attended a training weekend in April 2008 aboard the 72 foot narrowboat ‘Belfast’ from Nash Mills in Hemel Hempstead along the Grand Union Canal.

Element 2 required that I participate in an exploration or expedition to last 4 days (3 nights) accompanied by my peers.
The purpose of this module was two-fold:

to organise and undertake an expedition of an English canal with locks covering a minimum of 40 miles (65 kilometres) to last a minimum of four days (three nights) accompanied by my peers, and to explore the history of the English canals.

I organised and undertook an expedition of the Kennett & Avon canal in the West of England. Aldermaston Wharf, Berkshire to Pewsey, Wiltshire return covered approximately 62 miles with 90 locks in total and the expedition lasted 7 full days (7 nights). I was accompanied by three peers who were aged between 21 and 25 – one member of the group was female and two were males. We hired a narrowboat through Hoseasons and I took an active leadership role in overseeing the planning of all elements of the expedition.

Through planning and carrying out the expedition, I completed the elements required to achieve Modules 1 and 2 (Canals) of the Girlguiding UK Power-cruising Scheme.

Personal Skill Development

To develop a personal skill in this module I established personal goals and worked towards them. Having always enjoyed photography, and taking many photographs on a regular basis, I decided to develop my skill to a new personal level. I wanted to become proficient in using my digital camera, competent in composing photographs and able to manipulate images using computer software. I did this through a 10-week distance learning course with the Open University online entitled ‘Digital photography: creating and sharing better images’. Creative skills taught on the course have given me a greater enjoyment in taking and manipulating my images at a new level. I continue to use the skills learned and have shared my knowledge with others with an interest in digital photography.

Community Action

By participating in this clause I became more involved and developed a greater understanding of communities and the world around me. The topic I chose was not Guiding related. It included working in partnership with others over a 12 month period. This module required me to undertake 2 projects about my chosen topic; one of a practical nature; the other research orientated.

Element 1

Practical project: the chosen topic had to enable me to become practically in the community. Once or twice a month I became involved with a local Outreach project team from West Hoathly who prepare and serve a home-cooked meal at ‘Crawley Open House’ to the homeless and those less fortunate.

Research project: the chosen topic also had to allow me to undertake further research to deepen my understanding of the topic at a regional/ national and international level and be relevant to the practical project. I therefore researched the topic of homelessness, concentrating on the issue of food.

Element 2 required that at the end of the 12 months I present the findings of my research and an evaluation of the practical project, to those who had been involved with my project. I gave a presentation to 2nd Crawley Down Guides, my two assessors of this module and a few invited guests on Tuesday 21st April.

Residential Experience

By participating in a residential event with new people developed my communication, teamwork and networking skills, as well as the ability to rise to new challenges and think on my feet. My chosen event was to be designed to test my participation, initiative, teamwork and leadership skills which were assessed during the event. I chose to attend an INTOPS weekend in October 2007 at the Sir John Lowther Scout Centre in Kettering. The purpose of the weekend was to find out information about international opportunities available through Guiding.  It was also for the organisers to assess participants and determine individuals who may be suitable to participate in Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD) projects.

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