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Southampton Queen Scouts Celebrate at Windsor
Posted on Sunday, April 30th, 2017
Young people who have achieved the Queen's Scout Award are invited to form the parade for an annual day of Celebration held at Windsor Castle. Four recent Queen's Scouts of Southampton City district had the opportunity to attend.
Last weekend, 250 Scouts who had recently achieved their Queen Scout Award, the highest youth award in Scouting, came together to parade at Windsor in celebration of St Georges Day.
The Queen’s Scout award involves Scouts taking on and committing to a new skill, physical activity and volunteering service for a year or more, undertaking a self-sustained expedition and complete a residential project as well as working on various topics within the areas of international, community and values.
Four of these Queen’s Scouts, Ben, Tom, Henry and Oli, were from Southampton and have written a little about what their Queen Scout Award means to them.
Taking part in the St Georges Day parade at Windsor was the culmination of a six year journey which has seen me mature and develop. The time I spent on Dartmoor for my expedition challenged me both physically and mentally, particularly when the fog and rain closed in, however the sense of isolation while walking in the middle of the moor with just a few friends is something I will cherish for a long time.
While most people will tell you that their expedition was the most challenging part of their Queens Scout Award, for me it was my residential; I spent several weeks volunteering at an orphanage (Open Arms) in Malawi. As a 19 year old, seeing the very different realities of life in places that I’d previously seen only in documentaries was a perspective changing experience that made me place far more value on the simple things in life that we often take for granted in the UK.
Having started my QSA as a fresh faced Assistant Beaver Scout Leader I’ve made use of the opportunities presented by Scouting, taking on new roles, developing skills, gaining permits and most importantly growing as a person as I’ve seen the impact that I’ve been able to have on those young people around me – the smile of a six-year old who has learnt to tie a knot with strawberry laces is priceless!
All these experiences and challenges were topped off by the St Georges day parade at Windsor, this was a chance to meet other members of the select group of Queens Scout who have achieved the highest badge available in Scouting. Seeing the diversity of people and uniforms (whether the blue of the sea and air scouts or the tartan of the Scot’s kilts) made me so proud of positivity of those in the Scout Movement, with so many enthusiastic people from across to country (and world) taking the opportunity to step up, get involved and take a hand in providing the chance for those in our communities to fulfil their potential.
As part of the QSA service in St George’s Chapel all scouts present renewed our promise.
On my honour I promise that I will do my best – throughout the whole process each of the requirements have required me to do my best, and to push my boundaries.
To do my duty to God – for the values section of the award I was involved in my church and grew in my relationship with God.
And to the Queen – Not only do I feel an immense sense of pride in completing the Queen Scout Award and being invited to receive it at Windsor Castle, but the combined efforts of the 253 recipients in the Environment section will have a positive impact on our country and the global climate.
To help other people – Through volunteering and service. Many have done this alongside helping the next generation of scouting.
And to keep the Scout Law – A combination of everything that has contributed to this award has helped me develop in all areas of the Scout Law. Whether it be camping, travelling abroad or writing a report the activities have refined me towards the role model a Scout is intended to be.
Participating in the St Georges day parade at Windsor castle this year was a great experience as I thought it was a culmination of the hard work I put into my Queens Scout Award and the many years I have been in scouting.
Out of all the experiences I had during my Queens Scout Award the defining was when I undertook my explorer belt expedition in Poland which I found fun but also challenging.
All of Queen’s Scout Award was great fun and has given me new experiences and skills which I would have never done if I didn’t complete it.
Attending Windsor as a Queen Scout really hit home the importance of Scouting in my life, what it means to me, and just what a family Scouting is. Everyone came together as one, with a day of marching in the sun and celebrating our own journeys and challenges, along with a service reinforcing the importance of bringing communities together, kindness to others, friendship and the true meaning of Scouting and a chance to renew the Scout Promise: On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.
Before getting involved in Scouting, I didn’t have much confidence or courage, I let most opportunities pass straight by me, I just went where life took me and did what I thought was needed. Since finding Scouting through the Student Scout and Guide Organisation at university and getting involved with a newly starting Network in Southampton and embarking on my QSA, it’s fair to say it has completely changed my life. I now spend more time outdoors and camping than in, I’ve pushed myself in every area, and I’ve had more experiences, learn more things and met more amazing people in the past few years in undertaking my award than I had for the rest of my life before, so both Scouting and the QSA itself mean a lot to me.
My award for me was my first steps into that new life, those first set of new challenges to take. I undertook hiking expeditions in both Dartmoor and Brecon, going through the whole process of learning how to put up a tent and read a map and navigate through to pushing myself to new heights (figuratively and literally) and camping for the first time! I continued this through my physical skill, in getting involved with the university Hillwalking club taking me to Yorkshire, Cornwall, the Peaks, the Lakes or even just to the Isle of Wight for challenging but always incredibly enjoyable walks – always trying to push myself that one step further on the more technical walks, learning to scramble, bog hop and handle the ice without going for a slide! With my new found and growing confidence and skills, for my volunteering, I took up a student representation role, representing the students in my faculty at university to the staff and for my skill taking up a role in organising and planning events for freshers who weren’t living in halls. For my residential, I pushed my limits on going and helping out on a SSAGO international trip to Slovenia, my first proper trip out of the country and learning and discovering a new culture, but also how to run an international camp, a skill I’ve since put to use in now running a similar camp myself to Switzerland. For my international, I put my technical and computer skills to use in helping with the Essex International Jamboree as the Web Team lead.
All together, it’s impossible to put into words how much this pursuit changed my life and opened up new possibilities beyond anything I ever imagined. Scouting now fills every moment I’m not studying or working and I love every minute of it and cannot thank Scouting enough for the opportunities, the people I’ve made friends with and who have supported me or how it’s changed me as a person from a quiet, shy person passing by life, to the person who can organise and run events, seize every opportunity and actually try to make a difference in the world.
You could be next
Don’t forget, if you are aged between 18 and 25 and are currently involved in Scouting, you can be working towards your Queen’s Scout Award. You can find out more and register within minutes online at https://members.scouts.org.uk/qsa.