Mhairi Ferrier (she/her) is Girlguiding Edinburgh’s Queen’s Guide Advisor. Here she offers insight into what the award entails and some tips for completing yours.
(Pictured [second from right] at Oxford Castle & Prison during her Queen’s Guide exploration.)
My name is Mhairi and I am Girlguiding Edinburgh’s Queen’s Guide Advisor. I completed my Queen’s Guide Award in July 2020 after three years of challenging, but fun, adventures, as well as creating some of my best Guiding memories. I wanted to write this blog post to share what I learned while completing the award, which will hopefully be helpful to those working on, or thinking about starting, the award.
Why Do the Queen’s Guide Award?
There are a number of reasons why people decide to undertake their Queen’s Guide Award, ranging from their love of what Girlguiding stands for, to adding something to their CV, to just giving themselves a personal challenge. The Queen’s Guide Award contains five sections that include Service in Guiding; Outdoor Challenge; Personal Skill Development; Community Action; and Residential Experience. All have their own challenges and bring something different to the award.
Find out more about the requirements online.
Participants can be between 16 and 25 with your 26th birthday being the age limit. You have up to three years to complete the award and it does require a good deal of commitment. It won’t be easy but hopefully it will be enjoyable and worthwhile! There are lots of people within Girlguiding Edinburgh who can help you and answer your questions.
Plan, Plan, Plan
I would say that planning is probably the most important element of the award. By making a plan, you will be able to stay on track and complete everything on time. Although three years is a long time, so your plan will probably adapt in that time! That’s very common and most people end up changing their plans as they go along. Originally I had wanted to complete my exploration on a narrowboat travelling along the Oxford Canal. For various reasons, I didn’t manage to sign up to complete my narrowboating qualification so I adapted my plans. I still went to Oxford for my exploration, but this took place completely on dry land! Instead I went on a narrowboat trip for my Residential and learned lots about driving and manoeuvring the boat, as well as meeting lots of new people also working on their QGA.
I am someone who likes to plan, but I know that many people find it daunting. However, it will make the process of completing the award much simpler if you dedicate some time to planning.
Each award participant can take up to 12 months’ break from the award. People often choose to do this while studying, travelling, or during a busy time at work or in their life, or simply just to take a break away from the demands of the award. You can build this break into your plan or add it while working on the award.
Ask For Help
Don’t be worried to ask for help, as there are lots of people to support you! You will have a mentor who you can run ideas past and they can help signpost resources and people to you. My role as Queen’s Guide Advisor is also to answer any queries you or your mentor have. I try to arrange a meet up (either virtual or in-person) at least once a month, but you can send me an email email@example.com at any time you need!
When it comes to completing the Outdoor Challenge, the Outdoor Team can offer advice and answer any questions or concerns that you might have. They have a wealth of knowledge for you to delve into!
Make sure to tap into your pre-existing guiding network: If you already volunteer with a unit, think about how you can utilise that for the award—especially the first three elements of the Service in Guiding section. Getting your unit involved can also create special memories and experiences for them, too!
There are lots of opportunities to have new experience while completing the award. These could include going on an international trip, learning a new skill, making new friends, and taking on new roles.
For me, some of these new experiences included learning to drive a narrowboat, visiting the Girlguiding Scotland Archives, and creating great friendships while on my exploration in Oxford. There are so many experiences you can have!
Make sure to keep an eye on emails and social media posts sharing local and national events at both Scottish and UK level!
If you’re interested in the award or have some ideas for what you might do, why not chat to your leader or get in touch with me? We can get you registered for the award and ready to plan your award.