Celebrating our members!

Written by Natasha Wilcock, leader, St Pancras Division, 18-30 member of National Awards Committee

There are so many amazing people doing incredible things in Girlguiding both young members and volunteers! But sometimes it can be hard to thank people for their hard work or recognise their achievements. One way this can be done is via awards.

What awards are out there?

There are two main types of awards: those given internally by members of Girlguiding to those who are also members or support the organisation and those given by external organisations to Girlguiding members.

We have a process of recognising long service, via our long service awards, but these “discretionary awards” are special because they recognise service which goes above and beyond.

Internal awards exist at many levels. The 'thanks' badge and 'good service' brooch are both great ways to celebrate someone’s work and are often given locally after events. These can be purchased via trading and to award them you don’t have to go through a nomination process. Some local areas from districts, divisions to counties may have local awards unique to their area- so it’s always worth talking to your commissioner to see what’s on offer. If you see a gap, you could always suggest creating a new award too!

All countries and regions have their own awards which are unique to them. LaSER have recently produced some new exciting awards to celebrate our members. These include the 'Chief Commissioner’s Award', the 'Diamond Award' to recognise the contribution of members up to age 30, and the innovative 'Make a Difference' Award which recognises a group of people who have made a project happen.

At national level, there are 3 key awards. The 'Guiding Star', which is our young member’s award and recognises resilience and contribution to Girlguiding in a range of scenarios. Then the two top organisational awards for adults are the 'Laurel Award' which recognises outstanding service and the 'Silver Fish' which is our top award for distinguished and exceptional service.

There are also many external organisations that recognise the impact and dedication of Girlguiding members. These may range from local community awards, business-led awards such as those organised by supermarkets right up to the national honours system including BEM and OBEs.

Why celebrate people with awards?

Every member of Girlguiding is doing something incredible and can be recognised for that! Awards are particularly special because they are usually given as a surprise and they tell someone how much others think of them! Members who have received awards tell us how humbled they are that someone has taken the time to nominate them and how special it has been to receive recognition from their peers and fellow members.

When we feel appreciated and valued, this makes us feel happier within the organisation and more likely to stay and try new things. As volunteers, we are all very busy within guiding and our own personal lives, but when we take the time out to thank or recognise someone, whether that be a young member or fellow volunteer- it is always so gratefully received.

How can I find out more?

Hopefully, by reading this, you’ve thought about all the wonderful Girlguiding members you know- and there’s someone (or lots of people) in your mind who you think deserves the extra recognition an award brings!

There are often new awards being designed at different levels and the processes are changing to ensure they meet the needs of Girlguiding in 2021. For example, the highest awards in the organisation are the Laurel and Silver Fish awards for adults, this means they may be awarded to any member over the age of 18 who meets the criteria, including those in the 18-30 age bracket!

For local awards, the best person to speak to is your local commissioner. Speak to her to understand what the criteria and awards process is. She may also know about local external awards too which are often wonderful ways to recognise members!

Both region and national awards recognise service at a wide range of levels and are the organization's top awards that go through a nomination process. Country/ region awards may go through any local committee then to the country/ region awards committee. Then national awards come through the country/ region first before being reviewed by the national awards committee.

It’s amazing to watch people being given awards and hear about the amazing contribution they have made to not only Girlguiding but their wider community- so keep shouting about the amazing work of our members, nominate those who are going above and beyond and share their stories around!

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