Four Morpeth teenagers have achieved the highest accolade available to guides.
Lucy Nevens, Lauren Robson, Molly Taylor and Kate Walker did a range of tasks and activities over a 12-month period in order to meet the criteria for the Baden-Powell Challenge Award.
They have all come through the 1st Morpeth (St Robert’s) Girlguiding groups since the age of five and they were supported by Heather Smith, who recently decided to step down from her role as guide leader after 35 years at St Robert’s.
The award has five categories – healthy lifestyles, global awareness, discovery, skills and relationships and celebrating diversity.
Lauren, a Year 9 school student, did a sailing weekend on a tall ship along the Northumberland coast for her main activity. The guides on the trip were given various roles.
Lucy teamed up with other guides from across the region to do a ‘Cross the Tyne’ challenge using different modes of transport, which culminated in a trip along the river on a boat.
She said: “I was a bit nervous on my way to Newcastle because I didn’t know anyone there, but I’m glad I did it because I had a lot of fun and made some new friends.”
The 15-year-old visited a farm in Ulgham and her progress at Cambois Rowing Club also counted towards the award.
Molly, 15, went to Dukeshouse Wood for her challenge. This involved team building activities, going on a 3G swing and a blindfolded walk called ‘nightline’.
Her other individual tasks included going on a visit to Whitehouse Farm near Stannington and leading an orienteering-themed fitness night for the St Robert’s guides group.
“I really enjoyed my challenge weekend even though I didn’t think I would beforehand,” she said.
“I’m not normally keen on adventure activities, but they leaders made them fun and interesting and I got on well with the other guides.
“Running the fitness night was also an interesting experience.
“If you are in the guides, I would recommend giving the Baden-Powell Challenge Award a go. It pushes you out of your comfort zone because you will do things that you normally wouldn’t do.”
Lucy, Molly, and Kate, also 15, put together a fitness night and activities done in the guides group – such as making a bivouac outdoors and spending the night in it, creating posters about events and issues and nights focusing on particular countries and cultures – also counted.
In addition, the quartet had to make a collage about themselves and their local culture and put together their own healthy recipe book.
This is the second group of Baden-Powell Challenge Award girls that Mrs Smith has supported.
She said: “I’m very proud of them for achieving this prestigious accolade. They managed to juggle it alongside their homework and extra-curricular activities.
“They worked very hard and responded well when I asked them to approach some of their tasks in a different way to their first attempt.
“Doing the award helps them to organise their time, gives them responsibility for coming up with ideas and meeting deadlines, develops leadership and teamwork skills and boosts their confidence.”
Mrs Smith was involved with the Brownies group (ages seven to ten) for many years and became leader of the guides group (ten to 15) six years ago.
“I’ve enjoyed watching the girls grow up and achieve great things as teenagers and adults and I’m still helping out at bigger Girlguiding events in the area,” she added.