Two young women from Cessnock Girl Guides have recently earned the peak achievement award for their age groups in Guiding.
Lucy Donn, 17, was presented with the Queen's Guide and Lauren Gray, 24, received the Olave Baden Powell Award, after many years of hard work and dedication.
The awards were presented by Governor of NSW, Margaret Beazley AO QC at a ceremony at NSW Government House on September 21.
Lucy, of Cessnock, worked for three years to achieve her Queen's Guide Award, which covers the seven fundamentals of Guiding: promise and law, guiding traditions, services, outdoors, world guiding, patrol systems and leadership development.
This included 30 hours service to the community; researching guiding traditions, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts and more; a major interest (for which she chose to study yoga); and obtaining her Junior Leader qualifications in the Cessnock District.
Lucy, who starts her HSC exams at Mount View High this week, said she was "really excited" to go to Government House in Sydney with her family and friends and receive her award.
She even had a private meet-and-greet with Governor Beazley before the ceremony.
"She was a lovely woman who instantly put me at ease and it was wonderful to talk to her about what I had done to complete my award," Lucy said.
Lucy said she would like to continue to be involved in Guiding next year, helping girls achieve their own goals, while working on her leader qualifications and seeing what other exciting opportunities she can explore through Guiding.
And she has a great mentor in Lauren, who worked equally as hard to achieve the Olave Baden-Powell Award.
The award can be completed over six years, but Lauren set herself a challenge and completed it in 979 days - or just over two-and-a-half years.
The Olave Baden-Powell Award is also broken down into seven parts; promise and law, our community, heritage and traditions, international guiding, social networking, self-development and further development.
A third-generation Girl Guide, one of Lauren's favourite parts of the award was researching the history of Guiding in Cessnock.
"I could see photos of my mum (Kylie Gray) and her mum (Janice Limn) enjoying their time at guides and camps, along with all the leaders who were my leaders seeing what they got up to when they were guides," she said.
From the information she sourced, Lauren has made a record book for future generations to view and add to.
Another activity Lauren enjoyed as part of her award was making fidget blankets for local aged care residents with dementia and for children with special needs at a local day care centre.
She also travelled to India, where she participated in the Young Woman Changing Tomorrow Program at the World Guide Centre, Sangam.
Lauren also held a dinner part for past, present and future Olaves (Guides aged 18-to-30) for the social networks section; while for self-development, she obtained her gun license and an outdoor camping qualification.
"Like guiding I live and breathe camping and it is like second nature to me," she said.
"The one thing that was a major challenge for me in this section was the paper work. I think I'll leave that to the other leaders now!"
Lauren estimated she sent 123 emails, printed 1258 pages of reports and travelled 12,459 kilometres in her car on the way to achieving her award.
She was part of the planning committee for the Sydney International Jamboree, ran a unit and was an active member of the Hunter River Olaves during this time.
"And I somehow managed to have a social life in between all of it!" she said.
Meanwhile, Lauren is one of the driving forces behind the Hunter River Olaves' Project Uplift campaign, which is currently collecting bras for women in disadvantaged and developing countries.
Bras can be dropped off at a number of sites around the Hunter until November 23.
Read more: Olaves collect bras for women in need