Congratulations to Harriet Townsend a Guide Leader from Newport IW on gaining her Queen’s Guide Award. Harriet was presented with her Award by Girlguiding IW Island Commissioners Shirley Saunders and Lesley Clifford. Harriet’s sister who is a Guide was there to join in the celebrations.
Harriet tells of her experiences whilst working for the Award:
On returning to the Island after university and travelling aboard, I stepped right back into Girlguiding and was welcomed back, which was amazing, however I felt a bit low and lost with what to do with myself. Someone had mentioned about doing my Queen’s Guide Award and after looking into the criteria and speaking with Shirley and Lesley about how to start, I set off.
My first consideration was my age, at 23, I knew I would have to be quick in starting and completion as the deadline for gaining the Award is your 26th birthday. However, looking back, I am so proud and glad I decided to give it a go. When handing my completed booklet to Tammy, IW Queen’s Guide Adviser three days before my 26th birthday I was so happy.
To Achieve the Queen’s Guide Award, I had to carry out 5 main challenges each with different elements which I achieved by doing the following:
Service in Girlguiding;
Part 1 local Guiding – being an Assistant Brownie Leader attending weekly meetings, running activities, attending termly planning meetings, attending section and county meetings. I also gained my module 4 Leadership. I took over and ran the Yarmouth Guide unit for a yea., Furthermore in the last two years I ran and helped with several Guide camps and Brownie Pack Holidays.
Part 2 New Responsibility – I gained my going away licence for this element and was leader in charge for a Brownie pack holiday, I ran an Alice in Wonderland themed weekend with 12 girls. We made mad hats, tried to make our Cheshire cat laugh and went swimming.
Part 3 Working with other units – For this section I joined the county events team and assisted with the planning and running of the Isle of Wight Country Carnival Day. I designed the badges and assisted with the transport arrangements. On the day I was setting up, running activities, and on pack down duties.
Part 4 World wider Guiding – The ICE project to Amsterdam was chosen to fit this element, this was the harder and most long running challenge, but a lot of fun. I was first aider and an assistant leader for the community project which consisted of 2 selection weekends with community- based activities, a pre- weekend again with a community projects and finally taking 24 guides to Amsterdam for 5 days where we helped clean and decorate a local scout camp site. I loved this project so much I have gone on to lead another international trip which will take place April 2021.
Part 1 Planning the trip- For this I had to ensure I had all the relevant licences for ages, equipment, accommodation etc. I spent ages emailing advisers and HQ for advice and details. As my expedition was involving over 18’s and no dangerous equipment, I was covered with all paperwork correctly and my District outdoor adviser was informed.
Part 2 Challenge – Two other girls and I took part in a challenge to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall whilst camping on 5 days. Sadly, we only made it 56 out of the 72 miles however it was an amazing experience. As friends we really bonded, saw so much and tried new things. There were a few bad bits when we lost toe- nails and had to pop nasty blisters but an overall great life experience.
Part 3 Presentation – I presented and spoke about my trip to my Guide unit and Rangers and offered it as a great Girlguiding opportunity. I took along with me maps, books, tour guides, menus and other bits from the trip.
Personal Skill development
For this section I learnt to Knit. I chose knitting as my skill as I thought it would be useful to learn for later in life and was a project I could pick up and put down and make knitting fit into my busy life.
I struggled at first but since, I have learnt to add new colours, knit in different sizes, and pearl. Within the 12- month time scale I set I Have completed a snood and am tried to make a chunky knit jumper.
Part 1 Practical – I chose to assist Age UK as I thought it to be a meaningful and important charity in my community. I volunteered with the good- neighbour scheme and have been visiting an elderly lady once a week for a period of 6 months. We would have tea and biscuits, watch TV and chat. There are lots of people who have a small or no social life and can get very depressed and suffer so the good- neighbour scheme offers lots of help. I am very proud to be a part of it.
Part 2 – Research project. I carried out a research project to identify if the island residents were aware of the services offered by Age UK and if the services could be improved. I complied a Questionnaire which i handed out to my friends, family, work colleagues and Guiding members to try and reach a wide audience. I analysed how other Age UK units work World- wide to compare services and projects to the Island’s projects.
The overall response was that elderly people were unaware of the services and thought it needed more marketing to promote services. I also found out that the younger the person the more likely they were to help or volunteer in the future.
I learnt a lot form this particular challenge and was deeply moved by some of the stories and people I have met. I will continue to try and help as much as possible.
The final Challenge was to take part in a 2- night residential event where I knew none of the other participants. For this I chose to attend an Adult INTOPS selection weekend at Foxlease, where I knew no one out of the 60 participants. We were put into teams to carry out tasks which included, an egg drop, dream holiday task, ready steady cook challenge and campfire. I had a lovely weekend with other leaders, learnt some new songs and games and did make some new friends.
I loved every minute of my Queen’s Guide experience even when stressed with family, job and moving but it was defiantly worth it. I am so happy to have completed it. A huge thank you to everyone who supported and helped me with this award. It is not just for me but everyone.