Between Christmas and New Year, Queen’s Guide Buddy and I went on our Queen’s Guide Award exploration.
This was the second element of the “Outdoor Challenge” bit of the award (the first element being completing the relevant modules of the “Going Away With” scheme). The exploration had to last at least three nights/four days, be done in a group of 4-7 people of our age, and
“be at least 30 miles (50 kilometres) from your home, preferably in a location (urban or rural) that is not known to either you or the other members of your group. If you have visited the area or place before, your exploration must challenge and extend your knowledge of it.”
(For more details, see p.10 ff of the Queen’s Guide Award syllabus.)
We had a narrow window of opportunity to do the trip: it had to be between August, when QGB did her “Going Away With” modules at Guide camp, and my 26th birthday in February. It also had to be in the school holidays, to fit in with some group members’ work. We couldn’t rustle up enough friends to go in autumn half term, so Christmas it was. We found three friends to join us for the whole trip, and another two for a day of it, and we chose York and the surrounding area, on the basis that neither of us knew it very well, and we thought there would be plenty of good things there to explore.
We gave the trip some structure by doing an A-Z of attractions and activities (an idea I totally ripped off someone’s Queen’s Guide presentation I watched a couple of years ago). Some were obvious (M for Minster), some led us off the beaten tourist track (D for Dick Turpin’s grave), some we did in the comfort of our holiday home (Y for Yorkshire puddings), some required a bit of creativity (Z for zebras in a toy shop), and some were just fun things we fancied (P for pony trekking). We did a mixture of free and non-free things, and part of the planning was deciding how much we wanted to pay for and ask our friends to pay for.
We’re doing a “presentation” about the trip to our Guides tonight in the form of a guess-the-letter-of-the-alphabet game, so more about that another day.
It was a very pleasant few days, and a good way to fill the quiet days at the end of the year. QGB and I did wonder if, by going on what was essentially a holiday with friends, we were cheating a bit: it would have been an adventure if we were 17, but hardly such a challenge for 25-year-olds Queen’s Guide candidates. Still we met the criteria, and we did do much more planning than we would for a normal (non-guiding) holiday, and got more out of it because of that. I tried a few new things (never been on a ghost tour before), learned some pub quiz facts (Guy Fawkes was born in York – managed not to find that out until we actually got there), got to know a couple of new people, and I feel like I know the city tolerably well now, for what that’s worth.
Onwards and upwards: only a few more signatures in the QG book!