Taking the lead with Queen’s Guide

What does it take to earn the highest award in guiding? Edinburgh-based Guide & Senior Section Leader and recent Queen’s Guide Award recipient Jennifer Walker shares how she achieved hers.

Achieving your Queen’s Guide takes time – in my case three and half years – so it is a big commitment – on top of work, studying and everything else in life! But having just visited Westminster to pick up my award I can definitely say it was worth it.

To gain your Queen’s Guide Award you have to complete several different tasks and projects – including learning or improving a skill, planning and going on an adventure to somewhere totally new, supporting other members of guiding and delivering your own social action project.

For my skill I chose to learn French and where better to do that than Paris itself? I signed up to a two week long course and had the chance to practise my French out and about in the streets of Paris. It was nerve-wracking and I felt a little home-sick at first but I really enjoyed getting to know the other students. I was especially proud when a Paris taxi driver complimented me on how good my French was!

My new language skills proved especially useful when I took my Senior Section on their first international trip to Paris. It was a new experience for the girls and for the Senior Section Leaders and being responsible for arranging every aspect of the trip – from flights to sights, food to accommodation – was a big task but the experience taught me to feel more confident taking the lead.

Working towards your Queen’s Guide Award also means choosing a project around an issue that matters to you. I chose to research maternity rights around the world and as part of my research I interviewed a mother form Poland, a health worker supporting mothers in Sierra Leone and conducted my own nation-wide survey that got responses from 450 mums.

Through my research I also had the chance to work with SiMBA a charity supporting bereaved parents, supporting their fundraisers and knitting blankets for the memory boxes they give to parents. This was one of the most emotional but also most rewarding parts of working towards my Queen’s Guide Award.

I’m really proud to say I’m a Queen’s Guide. Working towards my award gave me so many opportunities and pushed me to take on new challenges that I might never otherwise have tried. Plus it’s helped me to become a more confident Leader which means I can give my Guides and Senior Section girls new experiences too!