By Danielle Kutchel
Committing to more than 300 hours of community service at the age of 15 is no mean feat – but for Tahlia Morgan, a Rover with 2nd Springvale Scouts, it was par for the course on her way to achieve the Queen’s Scout award.
The Queen’s Scout award is the highest honour a scout can achieve, but it’s a lot of work. Fortunately, it can be spread over three years, and Tahlia was able to rise to the challenge despite the barriers of VCE and Covid.
The Queen’s Scout involves the completion of several scouting badges. The person striving for the award is responsible for setting their own goals to complete the badges, based on a standardised logbook of suggestions, and an assessor marks the person’s achievements towards these badges
Every Queen’s Scout’s pathway is different: Tahlia, now 18, focused on volunteering over her three year program.
She spent time volunteering with the Starlight Foundation as well as the younger members at 2nd Springvale Scouts.
She said her pathway to the award was also “very social – I used every chance I could to make new friends, experience new things and do new stuff.”
Much of this involved the famous scout camps, with Tahlia completing camps on the environment, where she learned how to contribute to a healthier world; a leadership camp which taught different ways to be a leader; and a New Zealand camp where she made firm friendships with scouts from around the globe.
Meeting those who were on a similar path to her was a highlight, she said.
The time she spent as a volunteer has even shaped her future career aspirations.
Much of her volunteering work was with kids with disabilities, and Tahlia will soon start a university course in teaching students with disabilities – a choice she made as a result of her Queen’s Scout work.
She made a special effort to complete the majority of the program before her year 12, to give her time to focus on her studies. That proved wise once Covid hit too.
Queen’s Scouts are required to document all of their work and supply reports and photos of what they’ve completed.
The paperwork to accompany the practical experiences was the most laborious part, she said – “that took longer than some of my camps!”
Now that it’s over, Tahlia says she is proud of her achievement.
“I wanted to do it because I felt like I could achieve it and I wanted to prove that to myself,” she said.
Family played a big part in her decision to go for the award; her mum, dad, aunties, Nan and sister are all Queen’s Scouts too.
In fact, Tahlia’s sister and best friend also completed the award in 2020, providing companionship for the duration of the program.
And the whole family was there at her official award presentation at Pearcedale Football Club at the end of January.
In front of 100 friends, family members and fellow scouts, Tahlia received the necessary honours in a ceremony filled with joy and pride.
Cr Tim Dark of Greater Dandenong Council, who attended the award ceremony, reflected on Tahlia’s achievement at a council meeting on Monday 8 February.
“It was good to attend and celebrate with friends and family and to witness how the community turned out and rallied around it. I wish to congratulate Tahlia Morgan on her acknowledgement and winning of the Queen’s Scout Award which is the highest award that you can win in Scouts. I think it was a very well achieved result,” he said.