The Queen's Guide Award was introduced to Girlguiding UK (formerly known as The Guide Association) in 1946 and is the highest award attainable by its members. The award is based on the principles of personal challenge and participation.
Who Can Take Part in The Award?
Girls who are following Girlguiding UK's Ranger or Young Leader programme, must be at least 16 before they can begin working on the award. All participants must complete the requirements for the award before their 26th Birthday, but within three years of beginning. During this time participants of the award have the option of taking up to 12 months off. Guiders who are no older than 25 may also take the award.
How to Get Started
You will need to contact your Queen's Guide co-ordinator to find out what arrangements are made in your particular county. You will also have to inform your District Commissioner of your decision to take the Award. Your Queen's Guide Co-ordinator will ask you to complete Girlguiding UK's Queen's Guide Award Form, so that you can get started on the Award. You will also need a Queen's Guide Record Book. Once you have completed an element make sure your chosen assessor for that element signs off your record book: for example, if you are volunteering at your local Brownie Pack, your assessor could be the Brownie Guider who can verify that you have been there for the required number of hours and you have completed the work required.
Participants of the award will need to choose a personal mentor; this is someone who can offer help and support to you over the next three years, and your Queen's Guide Co-ordinator will help you do this.
What the Award Involves
The award has five different sections:
- Service in Guiding
- Outdoor Challenge
- Personal Skill Development
- Community Action
Service in Guiding
This can be doing something as simple as working with your local Guide, Brownie or Rainbow unit, right up to volunteering for international service, or helping at one of Guiding UK's training and activity centres, or even applying to work at one of the World Centres. There are four elements to this section.
Element One - involves carrying out your service for a set number of hours. This means that you will have to carry out a Guiding service for at least 60 hours. 20 hours of this should be on one particular activity or project.
Element Two - you should attend a residential event that lasts more than two nights, taking on a responsibility that is new to you.
Element Three - involving at least two units, help plan an event for them.
Element Four - there are working groups and committees run by Girlguiding UK or your county/region. You need to take an active role in one of these.
You will also need to record your progress so that you will be able to give feedback and inform others of your progress.
This is exactly what the title suggests. There are two elements to this section. For the first element you need to have completed the first six modules of the Senior Section Camp Permit or The Camp and Holiday Scheme. The second element involves either an expedition or an exploration that lasts four days. An expedition should be over the following distances:
Foot, bicycle or horseback - 50 miles on foot, 170 miles by bicycle, 75 miles or six hours per day on horseback.
Canoeing - 40 miles by rivers and canals with locks, 50 miles in the Norfolk Broads, 40 miles by rivers with white water, or six hours per day.
Sailing - 100 miles offshore, 80 miles inshore, 60 miles in the Norfolk Broads or other inland waterways, 60 miles dinghy sailing, or 24 hours over four days.
Rowing - Six hours per day, or 30 miles by river.
Power Cruising - Eight hours per day including travel through locks.
An exploration should be at the very least 30 miles from your home and in a location that is not known to you or any other members of your group.
Personal Skill Development
You have the choice here to either build on an existing skill or to take the opportunity to develop a new skill. It can be something you may at the moment just do as a hobby, such as photography, or maybe you would like to start something new that interests you. An example of a skill would be learning to dance and aiming towards getting a basic qualification in it. You will need to put in at least 60 hours over a period of 12 months.
This section is to get you working in your community. This can be something as simple as clearing and keeping a children's play area tidy or maybe you would like to do something for one of your local charities. There are two elements to this section: the first being to research, prepare, carry out and evaluate your projects over a period of 12 months and the second being to present your findings to those involved. Remember to pick a topic that interests you, such as animal cruelty or homelessness - this way you'll find completion of the elements easier.
This is probably the easiest section. It involves you taking part in a residential event, that lasts no less than three days, where the majority of the participants are unknown to you. Ask your District Commissioner about Queen's Guide Residential Weekends.
Girls who are taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme can cross credit clauses from that Award Scheme over to their Queen's Guide Award. Your chosen mentor will help you do this.
Presentation of the Award
On completing the Award you will need to send your completed record book to the Queen's Guide Co-ordinator. She will then confirm that you have, in fact, finished the Award, and sign your record book. It is then sent to the Central Head Quarters to be signed by the Chief Guide. You will receive confirmation of completing the award. You will be asked to attend a presentation of the award, where you will receive a silver brooch that can be worn on your uniform and a certificate signed by the Queen. You can add the certificate to your Record of Achievement. Completion of the Queen's Guide Award displays certain things about yourself: dedication, leadership skills, planning, reviewing, teamwork, organisation skills and knowledge. All things that a university and/or a future employer would be interested in.
In 2005, 75 young women were dedicated enough to be awarded with The Queen's Guide Award. This award is not for everyone - it takes up a lot of time and skill and this is one of the reasons the award is so highly valued among its members.
Girlguiding UK Chief Guide Jenny Leach said:
The presentation of the Queen's Guide Award is a very special event held to celebrate the successes of high-achieving members of Girlguiding UK. They have shown unparalleled dedication to Guiding and a determination to succeed.
The award is presented by the President of Girlguiding who, at the time of writing, is HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex.