Gympie lads receive highest Scout accolade
TWO Gympie students received the highest accolade in Scouting recently, taking out the Queen's Scout Award.
The Queen's Scout Award is the highest youth award in the Scouting movement in the Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Jakob Larsen and Dylan Naidoo were presented with the award at Mary Cairncross Reserve.
Mr Larsen said he was proud of himself for meeting all prerequisites for the Queen's Scout Award.
"I first joined Scouts in 2013 because my grandmother thought it was a great idea and would give me something to do,” he said.
"I have really enjoyed the journey as it's allowed me to meet new people and connect with the wider community.
"When I found out I had the Queen's Scout Award, I was relieved. All the hard work I had put into the Scouts had paid off. It empowered me.
"The award represents the pinnacle of what the Scouting movement stands for.”
Three years after joining the Centenary group at the age of 13, Mr Larsen progressed to the Lone Scouts group.
"I'm still in the Lone Scouts but will hopefully join the Rovers Scouts group,” he said.
Rover Scouts is for anyone aged 18 and over.
Each year, Scouts Queensland and Guides Queensland invite about 80 special needs children as "guests” to participate in a week long camp at Baden-Powell Park, Samford.
Mr Larsen said it was his third year taking part in the camp.
"It's one of the biggest camps I attend each year. I help run activities for the children as I find it's a lot of fun and helps create friendships,” he said.
"As the camp motto says 'it's not about disability, it's about ability'.
"From my first camp to now I've noticed I have become a lot more comfortable being around other people and I feel as though I can make a difference.”
Mr Larsen graduated from St Patrick's College last year and said he was looking forward to getting an apprenticeship.
As a keen Scoutsman, Mr Larsen said he would recommend to other children to join a Scouts group.
"At times it can be mentally and physically exhausting but it's worth it,” he said.
"I believe anyone could join a Scouts group. You get to meet new people and participate in a wide range of activities.”
For 17-year-old Dylan Naidoo, the Queens Scout Award symbolised new opportunities.
"The Scouts organisation is an organisation that allows the youth hundreds of opportunities to achieve a plethora of awards and certificates,” he said.
"Because of this, I was able to use my existing extra-curricula activities to pave my way to achieving my Queen's Scout Award.
"Overall the Scouting movement has allowed me to achieve this great award and opened up many doors for my future.”