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Ailís strikes Gold!

Congratulations to Ailís Ward of Kinsale Senior Branch on receiving her Gold Gaisce Award at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle on 4 December 2019. Here Ailís writes about her experience working towards the Award:

I have been a member of Irish Girl Guides since the age of five. I moved through the ranks from Ladybirds to Senior Branch, enjoying every minute. I recently completed a pharmacy technician’s course in Letterkenny Institute of Technology and I am currently studying in Cork doing Applied Bioscience.

I started my Gold Gaisce in September 2015. My personal skill was literacy as I worked on improving my creative writing and functional writing. I struggled with the physical writing as there is a lot expected in an English exam. My high was staying calm during the exam.

For my physical activity I took up swimming at the local leisure club. I found this difficult as I suffer from dyspraxia. For my Gaisce adventure walk, I walked 80km over four days with Kilbrittain Venture Group. I enjoyed this as I had to plan and budget for the walk.

For the community part of my Gold Gaisce, I spent 52 weeks helping out with Ladybirds. I  helped the Ladybirds complete the enrolment challenges and then I helped them complete the Discover, Grow and Fly challenges over three years. We did games, outdoor activities, art and crafts. We also did trips to the cottage and worked on a number of badges, including Fire Safety, Bird Watcher and First Aid. By the end of their time in Ladybirds, the girls left the group as confident team-players.

My highlight of Gaisce was my residential, which involved going to Lourdes to help sick people and make their stay an enjoyable one.

My reason for wanting to do the Gold Gaisce was because I enjoyed helping people as I have a disability myself – I have autism. Things do not come easy to me. I wanted to give back to people because the Irish Girl Guides have very much included and encouraged me within Guiding.

I have reached for the stars regardless of my background and disability. I have gone on two Roverways – one to France in 2016 and another one to the Netherlands in 2018.

I hope this inspires other people to do the Gold Gaisce too.