Gemma McKechnie, 25, a Guide and Senior Section Leader from Bearsden, headed to the House of Commons to receive her Queen’s Guide Award – the highest award you can earn in guiding.

Here, Gemma shares how achieving her Queen’s Guide Award, has given her the confidence to take the lead – in guiding and in her career!

Gemma says

To achieve your Queen’s Guide Award you have to complete several challenges – from organising a social action project to learning a new skill, going on an adventure to volunteering in your community. Plus you have to do all before you turn 26!

Working towards my Queen’s Guide Award was a big challenge, especially while studying and starting out in my career, but it also gave me the opportunity to try new experiences.

I led my Senior Section on a Monopoly-inspired island-hopping trip, going from Largs, to Cumbrae to Arran. I’ve been away with guiding before, but I’d never been the one in charge of every aspect of the trip like route-planning, first aid, food. Thankfully I have a fantastic Senior Section who helped me through it all.

For my social action project I chose to focus on bullying, as it is something I experienced when I was younger. I wanted to research what support is out there and create a resource that could help my Guides and other girls talk about bullying and know where to go for help. It was great to see my Guides getting involved in the project and I hope other girls will too.

I even got to learn a new sport! My dad is a greenkeeper and I’ve lived on a golf course my whole life but I’ve never actually swung a club so I chose to learn golf as my new skill.

The confidence I’ve gained from doing my Queen’s Guide Award has helped me take on new challenges and opportunities, not only in guiding but in other areas of my life too. I’ve recently been made a Ward Nurse and I believe the leaderships skills I gained through my Queen’s Guide Award played in a big part in helping me achieve this.