A Guider who helped thousands of young girls through the pandemic said she is “humbled” to have been made an MBE.
Moira McKenna is the chief commissioner and lead volunteer for Girlguiding Scotland, responsible for around 9,000 adults and 35,000 young people across the country.
During the pandemic, the 56-year-old worked to ensure guiding could continue online so that girls weren’t suffering in silence.
She said: “We knew our girls were going to be isolated, we knew they weren’t going to get the support of their friends during lockdown. Guiding stepped in and said ‘let’s do this differently’.
“They were very isolated and very frightened about Covid and what was going to happen.”
Due to their dedication to keep Girlguiding moving throughout the pandemic, the organisation now has its longest waiting list ever.
The small victories
Dr McKenna works as a GP in Dingwall and said her role with Girlguiding helps her balance the stress of her job.
She said: “As an adult it has given me balance to what can be a challenging career and a difficult job, you go out after a hard day at work and see the girls, it’s always just such fun.”
When considering the most rewarding aspect of her work, she said big international trips often don’t compare to the smaller victories of boosting the girls’ confidence.
“Sometimes the biggest moments are when you see the shyest girls coming forward and leading an activity,” she said.
“Some of the little things you can give young people, and giving them the confidence that they can do it, they’re really important, just watching them grow and develop.”
As well as maintaining her role as lead volunteer, she leads two local guiding groups, which she feels is important to keep young people at the centre of the decision making process.
Dr McKenna was “stunned” to have been made an MBE for services to young people.
She said: “Youth work is about opening up opportunities for young people and showing them all the opportunities that are out there and giving them the skills to access them throughout their entire lives, not just when they’re in guiding.”