The Queens Scout Award
The County St George’s Day Dinner is a time to recognise various individuals, young and old, for outstanding achievements or extraordinary efforts over a number of years in Scouting. This year, five young individuals, including myself, were presented with the Queens Scout Award (QSA).
The QSA is highest award achievable by a young person within Scouting. Based around the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DoE), it sets out to challenge and develop individuals by encouraging them to test and push themselves out of their comfort zones, as well as providing some well treasured memories along the way.
My path to being awarded the QSA started in 2007, aged 17 at 1st Daedalus Explorer Scout Unit at RAF Kinloss. Having completed the Bronze and Silver DoE awards, I was encouraged to move onto the Gold Award and QSA. Gold requires participants to undertake Service and Physical Recreation activities for 12 months and to develop a skill for 6. On top of this, participants need to undertake a four day, three night expedition and at least a five day Residential Project.
After completing the skill phase, learning how to drive, my residential experience loomed, teaching Scouts from all over the world how to Kayak, during the World Scout Jamboree 2007. Lasting 13 days at Alton Waters, Suffolk, this proved to be one of the the most humbling and rewarding periods that I have had to date. Having in excess of 70,000 Scouts in one place is certainly a sight to behold and I was privileged to be one of them.
My expedition was set just North East of Loch Ness. Starting at Loch Mullardoch Dam, we as a group of seven would then walk approximately 40 miles through the Affric-Beauly Hydro System to investigate its effects on the countryside around it, the group having to be completely self sustaining throughout the expedition.
The team worked well together and we only had a couple of minor navigation errors. One individual did find however that his breakfast eggs didn’t survive in the bottom of his bag. A report of our findings during the expedition then had to be submitted to an external authority. This I completed when I was patching up the remains of the tops of my feet which fell victim to midge bites on the first night with 30 miles still to walk.
After joining the RAF in 2008, my efforts were put on hold whilst I completed basic and trade training. After arriving at Marham, I set myself the challenge of achieving ‘light blue’ levels on the fitness test which I managed after regular runs and circuit training. All that was left for the QSA and Gold DoE was 12 months service.
My service was possibly the most challenging aspect of the awards; running the Cubs Section at 2nd RAF Marham Scout Group. I didn’t intend on running the section when I arrived, but it’s funny how things work out. Four years later, three operational tours and a few grey hairs, I am still Akela and I still find my work with the section challenging but ultimately rewarding.
The Queen’s Scout and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards have taught me many things and given me many more memories. It has been a challenge to see it through and it was an honour to receive a certificate, signed by Her Majesty the Queen at the County dinner on 14th April, accompanied by my Explorer Leader.
Amazingly though, there was a King’s Scout present who was presented with his award at the time of King George V, but was still going stronger than ever having been awarded the Silver Fox that night. The highest award that a leader can be given by the Chief Scout. That’s loyalty and service that you can’t measure!