The annual Saltash Ranger dinner and silent auction held in early January 2012 was an additional cause for celebration this year as not one but two members of Saltash District were presented with their Queen's Guide Awards. The highest award presented in Girlguiding UK, it was a proud moment for Leaders, friends and family alike! What Katie and Lydia have achieved is astounding – here is a flavour of some of the highlights.
Katie Finch, 22, now at Plymouth University in her third year studying psychology was thrilled to have completed the award. Katie overcame the challenge of changing universities and her mum being in hospital in the middle of working towards the award. Katie is interested in children with special needs and this was reflected in some of the elements that she completed for the award. Katie visited an orphanage in Romania and worked with children for two weeks with a group of other young people from the UK. The children were shown how to have fun and play as well as being encouraged to express themselves through drawing, writing and laughing with their visiting friends. Other activities that Katie got herself involved in was improving her trampolining skills and visiting London with the aim of visiting all the sights on the Monopoly board. No mean feat as the weekend when she and Guiding friends opted to do this there was a tube strike! Needless to say, as a Queens Guide in the making that little hiccup was soon overcome as they walked everywhere! Katie, a qualified Rainbow Leader, then took on a final challenge to complete the clause of “gaining a residential qualification in Guiding”. Katie joined forces for a year with 5th Saltash Brownies and planned and organised their 2010 Pack Holiday – a stunning centenary Pack holiday to Foxlease incorporating a Region Brownie Fun day event at Foxlease and an Alice in Wonderland themed holiday. A holiday to remember for all the fun and enjoyment and making hundreds of jam tarts in the barn! Katie is now working hard for her dissertation undertaking research with a psychologist and doing lots of studying.
Lydia Butler, 18, completed her Queen's Guide Award with a year to spare, spending only two of the three years allowed completing all the clauses as she was so busy in Guiding. Lydia started out with Katie’s mum in 3rd Saltash Rainbows, went to 5th Saltash Brownies and became a member of 1st Saltash and also 8th Newton Abbot Guides whilst at Stover school. With the support of Saltash Ranger Leader, Susan Haley, and mentoring from Guide Leader Lynn Dixon in Newton Abbot, Lydia gained her Senior Section Camp Permit at 15 at the Devon County campsite, which provided a catalyst for starting the QG award at 16. As part of the SW England contingent Lydia went to Iceland in July 2009 for a Scout and Guide Jamboree then just a few weeks later visited the Eastern Cape in rural South Africa with Truro Diocese Youth team. Painting school rooms, making hay boxes and delivering food parcels to families affected by AIDS was all part of the visit. Party-decorating skills were employed for the Masquerade Ball for the South West England Senior Section launch at one of the first Centenary events. The event, held in the Pump Room, Bath, was made all the more exciting with Regency dancing and meeting the Chief Guide. Next, Lydia headed off to seven different European countries in ten days with a bunch of seven Guiding friends who had met or knew of each other from her Iceland trip. The seven girls used facebook to plan in minute detail their exciting itinerary – including a tour around Budapest on a wobbly Segway and undertaking a “Sound of Music” tour in Vienna complete with singing! 2010 also saw Lydia gain her Grade 8 recorder exam for the skills section.
As Katie’s mentor and Lydia’s mum as well as a Leader with 5th Saltash Brownies myself, I am immensely proud of what both girls have achieved. Guiding is wonderful; it provides opportunities, friendship, challenge, stimulation, commitment and service to others. Katie and Lydia have shown all these in abundance. Well done! Alison Butler
Lydia is now helping at 2nd Durham Brownies whilst at St. Johns College, Durham taking a Human Geography degree. She has just applied for a new challenge: to be a leader on the tall ships going from her temporary Guiding home in NE England in July 2012 for a week sailing from Hartlepool to Portsmouth!
Katie is working with St. Johns Ambulance in Cornwall giving her vital work experience and another challenge!