A 17-year-old from Mittagong has taken out the highest honour from Girl Guides Australia.
Anna Schindler is the recipient of the Queen's Guide Award, which is only awarded to 25 to 30 people each year due to the significant time and effort required to reach the achievement.
Only 20 girls from Mittagong Girl Guides have completed the award since 1970, 15 of whom have achieved the award since the year 2000, showcasing the strength of the unit and the outstanding girls in the Highlands community.
The Queen's Guide Award required Anna to challenge herself and connect with her community through advocacy and volunteer work as well as setting personal goals and displaying outstanding leadership.
The award is broken into two parts, one part covering each of the seven fundamentals of Guiding, and the second part consisting of interest activities.
Anna's journey saw her take aerobatics flying lessons, complete personal development courses, learn Latin, play the tenor drum in the Hume Scouts Pipes and Drums Band (including performing the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the then ANZ Arena), and completing a 60km, five-day canoe trek on the Flambeau River in the USA.
However, it was the leadership and volunteering elements that Anna rates as the highlights.
"The leadership focus consisted of so many amazing experiences and allowed me to work with, and develop, Scouts and Junior Guides," she said.
"The volunteering required me to complete a minimum of 30 hours of community service over three months. I volunteered with Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child which sent out donated gifts to children in need.
Unit Leader Pamela Howard said Anna should be proud of her achievement, especially in the face of the pandemic.
"Not many girls receive this award and it is a remarkable effort, especially whilst navigating through COVID, that Anna reached the pinnacle of Guiding. She should rightfully be incredibly proud of her efforts, she is a role model for girls in our community," she said.
Anna also paid tribute to all her leaders and fellow Guides who helped and supported her through the process.
"I cannot express how much I value the support of my leaders and friends in Guides," she said.
"They are all role models to me and I couldn't have completed it without them."
Mittagong Girl Guides meets on Monday evenings at the Mittagong Girl Guide Hall.
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