We are delighted to announce that Year 9 Sydney Ellison has recently achieved the Chief Scouts Gold Award, the highest award achievable in her Scout group.
We chatted with Sydney as part of the #aspire24/7 campaign which focuses on inspirational hobbies and interests by pupils/students outside of school life.
Q Which Scout group are you with and how long have you been in the group Sydney?
I’m in the 34th Lancaster Scouts at St Chads in Torrisholme. I joined about 4 or 5 years ago, started in primary school.
Q Tell us about the sort of things you do at Scouts?
We have a range of activities which give you circular badges. These have to be displayed on the right hand arm and then we have harder challenges for the left arm which are hexagons. To make Chief Scouts Gold you need to have achieved 9 challenges.
The challenges can include things like expeditions. I did one starting at our scout hut and walked to Silverdale then camped and walked back the next day. Like a mini D of E really.
We’ve also done different personal challenges, so at the moment, I am in Matilda, the school production and am making Key Chains for £2 to sell for funds for Ukraine. There are watersport challenges and other camps to get involved with too.
Please don’t ask how many badges I have as I can’t remember, but not a lot of room left on my scout shirt!
Q What was the last badge you achieved which gave you the magic golden 9 figure?
I think it was the personal challenge badge. I had to make badges for charity and also prepare and cook a meal once a week for a period of time.
Q Do you get to choose what you do or is it specified by your Scout Leaders?
Half and half really. We talk about it together.
Q Who presented you with the award?
In the attached photo my scout leader Jim is presenting to me but at the time it was Sarah, the Assistant District Leader of Lonsdale but there was no photo opportunity at that time.
Q Is there anything else you can move on to or have you reached the pinnacle of what you can achieve?
Because I have a late birthday I can’t move up with lots of my friends to Explorers yet until next year so I can just enjoy the next year and start again with explorer challenges. The bronze Silver and Gold awards are for Beavers, Cubs and then Scouts.
Q Are you going to carry on and what do you enjoy about it?
I really like the camps, meeting new people especially district camps. I think I am going to be a Young Leader in September as well and that will contribute towards my D of E too. I start Bronze in September in Y10 and my brother is currently doing this but knows that he has his volunteering and Skills through scouts and all he needs to do is his expeditions.
Q I know you are still very young as far as subjects in school and things and things but do you think your scouting activity makes a difference to what you are choosing to do in life?
I don’t know if it makes a difference but I probably want to go to University and they will see that I have the Gold award. It should contribute to my CV and personal statement. Then there will be my Young Leader activity which should help too. I’ve just chosen Spanish, PE and Technology for my GCSE options, all different to each other.
Q Last question – if anyone reads this article and wants to join scouts can they just join at any age?
Yes, they can join age 10-14. You don’t need to have gone through Beavers and Cubs first even though I did. There has just been a new Squirrels group added too.
Thank you for chatting with us Sydney – many congratulations and good luck for future challenges, both in Scouts or school D of E!