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2020 & 2021 Queen's Scout Award and Baden-Powell Scout Award, Government House


I begin by acknowledging that Government House sits on the land of the Ngunnawal People here in the ACT. If you’re a Canberran, you’ll know what a beautiful part of the country this is. We thank them for looking after it for us, for generation after generation, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

Good afternoon, all, and welcome to Government House.

Linda and I are delighted to have you here on such an important occasion in the lives of some of the young people here today.

Today, 26 fine young Australians will receive the highest youth awards possible in the Scouting movement.

Those of you who have heard me speak before will know the high esteem in which Linda and I hold the Queen’s Scout Award and the Baden-Powell Award.

They provide opportunities for personal development.

The Queen’s Scout Award requires a Venturer Scout to set a goal, plan progress towards that goal, organise themselves and overcome any difficulties to achieve that goal.

The Baden-Powell Award, which is the highest award that a Youth Member in Scouting can achieve, challenges members to broaden their interest and knowledge of Rovers and Scouting.

The skills acquired and the abilities developed through the respective Awards set young people on a great path in life and help instil in them the importance of service beyond self.

A Queen’s Scout Award or Baden-Powell Award are hard-earned and difficult to receive at any time. To have accomplished one of these awards during a pandemic is impressive.

For the awardees, it’ll be a great story to tell in years to come: that, despite the challenges of a pandemic, they still managed to achieve a Queen’s Scout or Baden-Powell award.

2020 and 2021 have been tough years. No one could have foreseen the extent of the impact of, first, the fires and then the pandemic on all areas of society.

Scouts are resilient. Scouts work together to solve problems and create new ways of doing things. This has included events and activities being conducted online and the development of new methods to interact virtually.

I am impressed by the range and extent of commitment each awardee has displayed in the fulfilment of the demanding criteria for these awards.

Testing yourself physically is a core component, and many of you have discovered new-found skills and abilities in activities such as abseiling, overnight hiking, rafting, snow activities and archery.

Some of the community services you have undertaken include supporting the Canberra Special Children’s Christmas Party, participating in WaterWatch sampling and analysis for the Southern ACT Catchment Group, and undertaking leadership roles in other sections of the Movement.

I want to acknowledge all who have helped the awardees reach this point in their lives.

To the parents and siblings, carers and guardians, and mentors and Scout leaders – thank you for the support you have provided.

Finally, to the awardees …

I can’t emphasise enough what an extraordinary achievement your Award is. It would have been so easy to throw the towel in.

Yet you didn’t. You kept going, you persevered, you weathered the storms, and you succeeded. Well done.

Your ability to focus and to achieve is impressive and tells me you have enormous potential to succeed in life.