Petah earns her badges for top scouting award

WORTHWHILE JOURNEY: Petah Ritson was presented with the highest scouting award possible, The Baden Powell award.
WORTHWHILE JOURNEY: Petah Ritson was presented with the highest scouting award possible, The Baden Powell award. Sarah Harvey

FOR an actor, winning an Academy Award is considered one of the greatest honours.

For athletes, an Olympic gold medal is the glory to any sporting career.

But for youth members of Scouts Australia, like Petah Ritson, there's only one award to aspire for: the Baden Powell Award.

It is the highest youth award achievable in the Scout and Guide movement in several countries.

This month, Ms Ritson became one of a handful of Queenslanders to receive the honour in the past 15 years.

She said the achievement was designed to challenge and test those who set out to attain it.

The 25-year-old, who joined the Camira scouts in 1994, said it had taken her more than four years to complete the requirements for the award.

It takes into consideration the aims of scouting: to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people.

Only rover scouts - members aged 18 to 25 - are eligible to undertake the journey to the Baden Powell Scout Award, which is made up of four badges that must be completed.

"It was a lot of hard work; you really have to stick at it," said Ms Ritson, who also works full time as an instrumental music teacher.

"It took me at least a year to complete each badge - a service badge, scoutcraft badge, project badge and rambler's badge."

As an example, the service badge requires the scout to complete at least six months of service to a community service organisation.

Ms Ritson said she was pleased to finally receive the award, which will be presented by the Governor-General at a ceremony later in the year.

"Some of my scout leaders, who taught me when I started scouts at six years of age, are also proud of my achievement," Ms Ritson said.

"I've kept involved with scouts for 19 years because it was a great way to meet new people and the perfect thing to do for those who enjoy doing a lot of different things."

Ms Ritson is now preparing to take part in an International Scout Jamboree that will see her travel to North America, Canada and Cuba in August.

For more information: scoutsqld.com.au



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