Girl guides complete 60km hike surviving on €3.50 a day

TWO young Lucan women have reached the pinnacle of Guiding after hiking 60km in County Waterford while carrying all their camping and cooking equipment, food and clothes, and surviving on €3.50 a day.

Irish Girl Guides (IGG) members, Aoife Woods (17) and Alex Healy (17), also completed eight projects and kept a log book of their experiences during the five-day Chief Commissioner’s Award.

They partnered for the adventure challenge in which 18 participants competed in teams of two or three.  

Aoife Woods Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon Alex Healy

Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon with Lucan girls Aoife Woods and Alex Healy

The girls didn’t know the location of the event in advance so they couldn’t prepare for the projects (that’s part of the challenge). They were delighted to find themselves in the Ancient East, however.

“Taking part in Chief’s was honestly the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Alex. “We spent a week in complete isolation from our usual lives and got to escape social media and technology; I can’t say I even missed my phone.

"As for the Award itself, it was unforgettable. I made memories as well as friends for life. We had a week to explore and create our own adventures, which I will always remember.

“Every day was a good day but there were a few bad moments. I met some of the nicest people during the week. We were astonished by the kindness of people who welcomed us into their homes to chat and even give us a cup of tea.

"From filling up our water bottles to letting us use their toilets, I will always remember the people of Waterford whose small acts of kindness ultimately gave us the strength to keep going.

"I’d be lying if I didn’t say the blisters were a major challenge but, having Aoife to motivate me to keep going, was all I needed.”

The days could be long and tough

Aoife said that she knew by taking on Chief’s she was in for an experience. “But I didn’t know it was going to be as amazing as it turned out to be,” she said.

“Although the days could be long and tough, Alex and I got through it together and I don’t think there was a day where we didn’t laugh.

"Some of my favourite high points were being able to make new memories with Alex and meeting amazing people along our routes and bonding with the other girls participating.

“One of the best things I learned is that, if you don’t allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and take on things you want to achieve, you will never achieve them. I also learned there’s not an awful lot of shops around west Waterford!”

The two girls were thrilled to receive the Chief Commissioner’s Award pin at the end of the 60km challenge. This followed an assessment of their projects and log-books and a de-briefing interview with the organisers.

The Award – a silver Celtic knot pin - is presented only to those who enter wholeheartedly into the spirit of the challenge.

“I found the Award one of the most challenging, but most amazing, things I’ve ever done and the high after finishing it and being awarded the pin is definitely something I would recommend other people to consider for themselves,” said Aoife.

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