Scuba diving and tropical storms - My Queen’s Guide Award

What do a rainforest, a turtle reserve and a freezing cold reservoir have in common? Assistant Leader Briony visited them all gaining her Queen's Guide Award

Completing my Queen's Guide Award has been an amazing experience. Every step of the way, I surprised myself by how willing I was to challenge myself. There were times throughout when I was daunted by the tasks ahead, but I came out of it a stronger, more confident person.

I received my Queen's Guide Award as part of a huge ceremony, alongside a host of amazing girls, some of whom I'd been lucky enough to spend time with on my journey.

Getting to this stage was certainly challenging, but this award involved some eye-opening experiences I wouldn't have otherwise had. Here are some of my highlights from an exciting two years.

I volunteered in Costa Rica

For my Community Action section, I decided to focus on the environment and got the opportunity to volunteer in Costa Rica. I spent a week restoring a path through a cloud rainforest (that's a tropical, green forest characterised by low-lying cloud) so it could be opened to visitors.

I then spent a second week in the depths of the rainforest at a turtle reserve. We had to help the staff there patrol the beaches looking for traces of turtles coming to hatch, and were also responsible for cleaning up after massive storms wrecked the beach.

Seeing and hearing things in the rainforest I'd never seen before - and having to deal with cockroaches in my bed and fire ants on the floor - certainly strengthened me as a person!

I became a trained scuba diver

I'd always loved scuba diving, so for my Skill section, I decided to join a scuba diving club to learn new skills and how to set up equipment.

My first open water dive occurred while it was minus 5 degrees and snowing, but that didn't put me off - after two years of hard work I earned my British Sub Aqua Ocean Diver qualification.

I trained to be a Peer Educator

As part of my Residential section, I travelled to London alone for the first time in my life and trained to become a Peer Educator. It was incredibly exciting, a little bit frightening, and one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.Through the training, I learned how to deliver sessions on sensitive subjects that are relevant to girls, such as self-esteem and body confidence.

The trip (and all the peer education I've done since) has equipped me with leadership and planning skills and buckets of confidence.

And the rest…

I did so many fun things as part of my Queen's Guide Award it'd be impossible to cover everything, but some of my other highlights included:

  • taking part in fracking protests as part of my Community Action project
  • presenting to local businesses in my area about environmental issues
  • running quiz nights, dinners and tombolas to raise money for my Costa Rica trip.

But the thing I am most proud of was when I was chosen to go to Costa Rica. I had to push myself to my limits to even get selected, and the trip made me more confident and open to new experiences and people. Once there, I felt proud knowing that I was helping charities and making a difference in the local community.

Completing my Queen's Guide Award has been an amazing experience. Every step of the way, I surprised myself by how willing I was to challenge myself, and I found out that I don't give up easily (it was my third time trying to get selected for an international trip when I went to Costa Rica!). There were times throughout when I was daunted by the tasks ahead, but I came out of it a stronger, more confident person.

If you're considering taking on the Queen's Guide Award, don't hesitate - you can do it

Challenge yourself

If you're inspired by Briony's achievements then find out more about the Queen's Guide Award.