Changing lives with the Queen's Scout Award

Changing lives with the Queen's Scout Award

01 December 2016

As the highest youth accolade in Scouting, the Queen’s Scout Award may seem tough but can also be extremely rewarding, helping young people to fulfil their potential.

Explorer and Network Scout Members aged between 16 and 25 can earn this award by completing a series of challenges including going on an expedition, camping, learning a new skill, undertaking a physical activity and carrying out a service for the community or an individual, and more. 

The award encourages young people to turn their hand to a range of skills and experiences, from jungle treks to sailing adventures. The benefits gained from these achievements can be long lasting.

We caught up with five of this year’s Queen’s Scout Award recipients to find out how working towards the award has made an impact on their lives.

Winning Olympic medals

Stephen Coyle took part in the 2013 Special Olympics as part of his Queen’s Scout achievements winning an individual Silver medal for swimming and Gold as part of the team relay. As well as demonstrating sporting prowess, Stephen learned how to play guitar, performing with local musicians, and developed the nautical skills to enable him to sail around the Clyde estuary with fellow Scout Cameron Ward. Stephen says:

“As part of my Queen’s Scout Award I went to Bath for the 2013 Special Olympics. It was an incredible experience and I won an individual Silver and a team relay Gold Medal. I’ll never forget it and the new skills I learned have given me confidence. I’m really proud that I have been able to achieve this.”

Setting Sail

Emma Menzies took part in a sailing residential at Ocean Youth Trust Scotland and is now a volunteer for the organisation. She also learned archery and passed her Grade 5 piano for her Queen’s Scout Award. Emma says:

“The expedition that I completed as part of my award was extremely challenging and the idea of making collective decisions as a team of strangers was tough but it has given me confidence to get involved with further expeditions. This year I will be heading to Finland on a 10 day walking expedition. I now know that expeditions require a lot of time management and people skills to ensure that the expedition is extremely organised.”

“Without being a Scout I would never have had the opportunity to go on a sailing voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, something which was a new experience for me. While it was quite scary at the time I know I learned a lot about myself and working with other people. This has already had an impact on my future: I took part in the Ocean Youth Trusts 2015 Leader Development programme and I have gained an SQA leadership Qualification as part of it. I now volunteer with the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland and will be helping other young people to have the same amazing experience I did.”

Making a difference in Indonesia

Jill Dalgleish travelled to Indonesia where she took part in a turtle conservation project, helped renovate a nursery and embarked upon a seven-hour jungle trek. Jill says:

“When I got to the end of the trek it was absolutely breathtaking, to the extent that I cried. I was so taken aback and amazed at what I had achieved for myself. Scouting provides opportunities like this that you just wouldn’t get anywhere else, and for that I thank everyone who’s ever been involved in my Scouting.”

Exploring Iceland

Geography student Graeme Galloway took part in a four-day expedition in Iceland, hiking, whale watching and sampling the thermal pools. He also challenged himself to learn more about cooking and baking, helping him secure his current job at the five-star Cromlix Hotel. Graeme says:

“Gaining my Queen’s Scout Award is an amazing achievement. I have learned so many new skills, met so many new friends and this has boosted my confidence. Scouting has had a huge influence on my life, giving me opportunities that would not have been possible before.

“As part of my Queen’s Scout Award I went on an expedition to Iceland, which was an incredible experience especially hiking in the northern part of the country. At the time of the expedition I was studying Geography at Stirling University so this was an amazing opportunity to get to undertake a project on a glacial flood, known as ajokullhlaup.“

“I’ll never forget it and I am now planning to take my Scout group to Iceland so they can experience the beauty of Iceland.” 

Tackling a 60-mile trek

Born with a rare medical condition, Iona Robertson has undergone a series of operations to correct serious hip and knee injuries. A year after her final operation, Iona wasted no time in getting out and about tackling a 60-mile trek around and across Ben Nevis, completing it in four days with her team. She also travelled to Zambia to help build a youth centre and upgrade a Scout Centre. Iona says:

“Scouting has been a huge part of my life and so to achieve the top award within the movement means everything to me. I found the most difficult part of the award was the four-day expedition. Many midges and lots of bogs made the walking tricky, but it was also one of the most enjoyable part of the award and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It may seem quite daunting and a lot of effort to complete, but it's definitely worth it. As with all Scouting activities, you'll have lots of fun and make great memories and friends along the way."

Find out more about the Queen's Scout Award