15 young women take on Guiding’s toughest outdoor challenge

Fifteen IGG members are preparing to take part in the Chief Commissioner’s Award. The girls, who come from Lucan, Cork, Bray and Edenderry, will be hiking 60 kilometres while carrying all their camping and cooking equipment, clothes, food and water and surviving on just €3.50 a day.

Competing in teams of two or three, participants will also have to complete eight projects and keep a log book of their experiences during the five-day survival challenge starting on 8 August 2016.

The projects that participants must complete are based on exploration of the area in which the event takes place but it is impossible to prepare for this in advance as participants never know what part of the country they will be competing in until the day the challenge starts. This adds greatly to the excitement and anticipation!

Nicole Moore (age 19) from Bray says she has always wanted to do the Chief Commissioner’s Award: “It’s so exciting being dropped anywhere in Ireland and not being told where you are going. I love the sense of mystery! I can’t wait to start the hike and all the challenges that go with it.” 

Her team-mate, Emer Curtin (18), is also really excited. “I want to increase my fitness and challenge myself in a way that I never have before,” she says. “The challenge is completely unique and I look forward to making some great memories and gaining new experiences.”

Aislinn Porter (19) of Bishopstown says she and her team-mates have been busy getting ready. “We’ve been busy planning, packing and re-packing our bags, road-testing the old hiking boots and route-planning. The most difficult aspect of Chief’s for me will probably be the endurance aspect of the award: balancing project work, route-planning and hiking every day will be difficult and probably exhausting (but I can’t wait)! I feel really grateful that I have the opportunity to take part in the Award, not to mention the wonderful people I will meet and the memories I will make, which are all added bonuses.”

Niamh McSweeney (16) of Macroom says she has received tips from previous Chief’s participants. “I personally think the rationing of our meals will be the hardest as I am a food lover,” she says. “I also think keeping our heads through difficult times and during hard tasks will be challenging.

Suzanne O’Brien, one of the event organisers, says: "The Chief Commissioner’s Award 2016 is fast approaching and excitement and nerves are in the air as the secret location is soon to be revealed. 15 brave participants will take on the adventure of a lifetime whereby their survival skills are put to the test. They are required to complete projects along their marked 60km route and meet the locals to find out more about the area and its history.

“Motivation, high energy, teamwork and enjoyment are the key to success,” she continues. “This challenge is both mentally and physically demanding but also extremely exhilarating to undertake. Not only can you achieve a certificate, woggle or pin but furthermore gain friendship, a sense of accomplishment and good memories that will stay with you forever.

“We wish everyone the best of luck and remember: Have Fun!”