Gemma gets highest Girlguides award

Gemma McKechnie recieves her Queen's Guide Award from Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant at the House of Commons.
Gemma McKechnie recieves her Queen's Guide Award from Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant at the House of Commons.

An inspirational young woman from Bearsden has achieved the highest and most prestigious award in Girlguiding.

Gemma McKechnie (25) was presented with her Queen’s Guide Award at the House of Commons on Saturday, September 24 by Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant, Girlguiding’s most senior volunteer.

Gemma completed a series of personal challenges including social action, voluntary work, travel and learning a new skill, all of which had to be done before she turned 26 to achieve this award.

Fewer than 150 Girlguiding members are presented with the award each year.

Gemma, who volunteers as a leader with the Killermont Senior Section and 2nd Bearsden Guides, took three years to finish her challenges. For her community action project she chose to research and create an anti-bullying resource for girls to find out more about the issue and how they can get support.

Gemma said: “I experienced bullying when I was the same age as my Guides are now, so I wanted to come up with an activity pack that could help them and other girls find out more about this issue and how to get help.”

As well as her social action project – Gemma has to complete a wide range of challenges to gain her Queen’s Guide Award – including organising a Monopoly-themed island hopping adventure for her Senior Section, helping to lead a Pirate themed fun-day for Girlguiding Scotland members, and learning a totally new skill, in her case, golf, inspired by her dad’s job as a greenkeeper.

Gemma said: “Working towards my Queen’s Guide Award wasn’t easy but the experience and confidence I’ve gained has helped me take on new challenges and opportunities, not just in guiding but in other areas of my life too.

“I’ve recently been made a Ward Nurse and I really believe the leaderships skills and confidence I gained through my Queen’s Guide Award played in a big part in helping my achieve this.

“I’m really proud of earning my award and want to continue taking on new challenges and developing new skills with Girlguiding Scotland.”

Girlguiding’s most senior volunteer, Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant said: “Gemma is a shining example for all that can be achieved through dedication and hard work. They should all be extremely proud of their achievements.”

For more information about joining Girlguiding Scotland - visit www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/get-involved