Youth Work Week – Kimmy’s story

This Youth Work Week we caught up with 1st Darvel Guides’ leader, and Duke of Edinburgh Advisor Ruth to talk about an inspirational Ranger called Kimmy who has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Ruth first met Kimmy when she was a Brownie and now she’s the proud holder of a Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. Kimmy’s story shows why the support and encouragement our volunteers offer is so important.

When Kimmy first joined Brownies we were made aware of her Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We chatted to her mother to ensure we knew of all her needs and so we could offer the right support week after week. Her two main fears were loud noises and fire. To help make her feel more comfortable we’d discuss our unit programme in detail ahead of time so she knew what was coming. Whenever Kimmy felt uneasy about an activity we had planned I took time to talk her through everything and help build her confidence.

As time went on Kimmy became more independent and started her own relationships with the other girls. It was really great to see her settle in and subsequently make the move up to Guides. Kimmy challenged herself at every step and has overcome tough hurdles in order to learn new skills – watching her journey was nothing short of amazing.

When I first started talking about the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme at Guides Kimmy was certain she wanted to take part. Seeing how far she’d come since her time as a Brownie, I was in no doubt that given the right support she’d do well if she got involved.

When it was time to move up to Rangers we arranged for Kimmy to have another transition programme and she quickly from formed a trusting relationship with her leaders, Lorraine and Elizabeth. They were instrumental in preparing Kimmy to take on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Her leaders supported her by discussing her fears, putting her mind at ease and reassuring her she was more than capable of completing the expedition section of the award.

As a result of this encouragement and her determination, Kimmy went from not being able to be near a lit match to confidently building and lighting a campfire, and more importantly a Trangia. Now, Kimmy has achieved her Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, and she’s currently working towards earning her Gold Award.

Here’s what Kimmy had to say:

I have always enjoyed being part of Girlguiding Scotland. It’s not always been easy for me but my leaders supported me whenever I was scared and anxious, and helped me achieve my goals.

Through Duke of Edinburgh I have joined a local walking group and developed my baking skills well enough to start my own cake baking business. The DofE expeditions were tricky for me, but my leaders knew me well and were able to support me through everything. I’m not afraid of challenges anymore and I’m so thankful for all the Brownie, Guide and Ranger leaders who have helped me over the years.

Being a member of Girlguiding Scotland has made a huge difference to Kimmy. She is living proof of just how beneficial youth organisations are and the difference they can make. Having volunteers who can provide a nurturing environment for young people to grow, develop and explore their fears in a safe space is invaluable.