Lithgow girl Aurora Gough is a confident young lady, proudly able to stand up and talk to anyone and more than capable of running her Girl Guides unit.
But that wasn't always the case, when she started three years ago she was shy, timid and a little scared.
But now the 12-year-old has just become the first Katoomba girl guide in 25 years to achieve her Baden-Powell award.
"I'm the first guide at Katoomba since 1996 to do this and this is the highest award my age group can achieve and the second highest in Guides," Aurora said.
To achieve this award she had to complete 18 challenges in six different categories, where there were three challenges per category.
The categories included promise and law, guiding traditions, service, outdoors, world guiding and patrol systems.
"Some of them were challenging, but the more difficult the more fun you had," Aurora said.
Aurora had been working on this challenge for over a year and a half and is proud of her achievement.
The different challenges that Aurora completed were:
- How girls can help challenge
- Write about different religions and compile a collection of music and religious items and run an evenings program
- Create a collage of what the guide law means
- Contact another guide over the internet and hold up signs to thank doctors and nurses for their work during COVID
- Run a campfire program with the unit
- Create videos reading allowed the Brownie story for other guides during COVID
- Contact WWF to learn about their project and donate $30 of your own money, then share your findings with the unit
- Take part in Earth Hour and encourage your unit to participate
- Help your elderly neighbour two hours a week over six weeks
- Extend an existing skill by learning to ice skate backwards and teach others to ice-skate
- Organise a tracking wide game for your unit
- Camp in the garden during COVID
- Plan and carry out an activity which introduces my unit to the five girl guide world centres (Switzerland, England, Mexico, India and Africa)
- Make a poem about world guiding friendships and perform at the AGM with my patrol
- Take part in multi guides corona challenge
- Conduct a debate on veganism
- Plan and carry out litter picking party and create environmental games
- Run some Kim's Games for your unit
Aurora said her favourite activity to do was the religion night, despite being one of the hardest activities to run.
"I'm not religious but all the girls were so cooperative and were really interested and involved," she said.
"It was good, at the music section they all got involved and played the drums and rattles, and even though they've probably never played the drums before some of them were really good at it."
The challenges got more complex as she got older as the last few she completed were more in depth, but this just showed the growth within her and her leadership skills.
Aurora is now the patrol leader for Katoomba guides and it is something she looks forward to each week.
"I'm home schooled so I enjoy guides because I like having friends, getting a confidence booster and the activities are fun," she said.
Aurora who is autistic really struggled at Guides at first, but now the younger members look up to her.
"I can now read things aloud, I don't look nervous and I ran an entire evening program for an hour and a half," she said.
Aurora was doing so well at guides and getting her badges that her leader suggested she start the BP Award.
"She said if I was doing so well getting my other badges why not try the BP Award," she said.
"Not many girls achieve it so I am very proud."
Aurora said she wanted to thank her Unit, her previous Guides leader Elizabeth Elwell and her current Guide leader Mia Gyameshwar as well as her Mum and Nan for their support.
"I really want to go for my Queens Guide but I have to wait a few years before I can start that one," she said.
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