A 19-year-old Wexford Girl Guide Leader, Emily Allen, has received a Silver Gaisce Award at a special ceremony in Griffith College Conference Centre in Dublin.
The event, which was hosted by 2FM's Stephen Byrne, celebrated the achievements of young people from across Dublin and Leinster who had completed a series of challenges over the course of a 26-week period and undertaken a three-day adventure journey.
Having volunteered with the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) as a Brownie Leader, Emily also volunteered with Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club. In addition, for physical recreation, she chose to do a TRX fitness class once a week and, for personal skills, learned sewing and quilting, all while studying for her Leaving Certificate.
Discussing her time with Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club, Emily, who's from Whitebrook, said, 'I have made such connections there and I am even the volunteer representative on their committee. I have learned how to work with athletes who have special needs. In fact, they certainly taught me a thing or two.'
Emily's exploits culminated with a 53km along the South Leinster Way, a trip she underook with IGG members and leaders, Cathy Connolly and Una Wafer. And the physical demands of this, and other challenges, left a lasting impression. 'I learned that fitness is a slow journey and one that everybody must take at their own pace. A new love of hiking was instilled in me and I was even shown how to properly tie my hiking boots; who knew I had been fastening them the wrong way all this time? I guess everybody learns after they get a sore ankle,' she laughed.
Emily joined IGG when she was seven years old and became a Leader with Wexford Brownies last year. 'It is a large group of like-minded people and they are always willing to help when you have a new idea,' she said. 'It has provided me with friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
Due to sit her Leaving Cert at Loreto this month, Emily said she hopes to go to college and study translations when she leaves school.