Officially, Trefoil Guild started in 1943.
However, it's not so straightforward as that. Groups for former Guides, some recognised by Guide Headquarters, existed long before that. And although nowadays Trefoil Guild is often perceived as or assumed to be a 'pensioner's club', that was never the aim - and (on paper at least) still isn't. To try and clarify the picture, I offer a timeline.
April 1914 Girl Guides Gazette
"Letter re "Old Guides" - by N. Nicolls, Capt, Rhayader Company.
In case it should be of any interest for the Girl Guides' Gazette, I am writing a short account of our plan with regard to 'Old' guides. Nearly all our Guides at the age of 15, or even before, go out to work, and so are obliged to leave the Company as they cannot attend the meetings regularly, even if they do not leave Rhayader altogether. It seemed a pity quite to lose touch with them, so we started the plan of having 'An Honourable Order of Old Guides', that is to say, any Guide who has been an honour to the Company, and who is only obliged to leave through going out to work, or some other good reason, has her name inscribed on the list of 'Old' Guides which hangs in the Clubroom, together with the number of meetings she attended, and Badges she has won. She also receives a frame for her enrolment card, but I do think it would be a good plan if an 'Old Guides' Badge could be invented, so that they should have something to remind them that they are still Guides, even if they are not actually in the Company. I should very much ike to know what other Captains feel about this.
During the winter we have two meetings, one for Second-class Guides and one for Tenderfeet. Then once a month we have what we call a 'Social' for the whole Company together, and to this any belonging to the 'Honourable Order of Old Guides' who happen to be able to come are specially invited."
1921 POR - Lone Guides Branch B, for Guides over the age of 20.
"The object of Branch B is:-
a) To enable Guides and Guiders to keep in touch with the movement when through force of circumstances they have been obliged to give up active work with a Company.
b) To enable those to join the movement who have found their work, study, ill-health or duties at home too great a handicap to their joining a regular Company.
c) To make it possible for those to join the Movement who are interested in Girl Guiding and anxious to do propaganda work, but who do not wish to take up the practical side of Guiding.
Lone Guides in Branch B are formed into Circles.
Each Circle contains nominally 12 Guides, with a Leader. A Circle must be registered in the same way as a Company. The registration fee is 5s."
Lone Guides in Branch B had the option of working for badges if they wished, they "are kept in touch with each other and with the Movement by means of discussions and the exchange of ideas on interesting Guide subjects, the various papers and letters being circulated round the Circle."
"Circles are named after trees."
The Lone Tenderfoot badge is worn.
1924 POR - Branch B of Lone Guides is now for Guides over the age of 18, rather than 20, and can be formed into Circles, or be registered individually at Headquarters, or as Ranger or Cadet Patrols. The Circle Leader was to be a former Guider, so she could assist those who opted to work on badges.
"The Leader will keep in touch with her Guides by means of a circular letter, and will run her Circle, as far as possible, to meet the needs of all her Guides, as many who join may have little spare time for active Guiding, or for badge work, while others may have plenty of leisure.
1930 POR saw the 'Branch B' term dropped, and much more structure applied:
"Circles are formed in Counties for Guiders who wish to do active Guiding, but who cannot continue to undertake regular work or work always in the same place, and for those interested in Guiding but unable to undertake ordinary active Guide work, though willing to act as instructors in their own particular branch, i.e.country dancing, singing, lecturing, etc., and wishing to do this in the capacity of a Guider.
Circles are under a Captain, who will keep in touch with the members through correspondence. She will put members in touch with the Commissioner in whose area they wish to work, and will inform Commissioners of all Lone Guiders who are entering or leaving their District. Members of Lone Guiders' Circles are expected to do some active Guide work during the year. They will be temporarily attached to the district in which they are working but will belong to the county of their Lone circle.
Unless the county wishes otherwise, Lone Guiders do no work, as a Circle, through correspondence. They give what time they have to active work in their district or in helping with Post Guide companies. Members report twice a year to the Captain on any Guide work they have done."
1943 POR - Trefoil Guild
"All members of the Movement over 21 who have finished their training as Rangers, or have ceased active Guiding, are eligible for membership of the Trefoil Guild. For conditions of membership and details see "Trefoil Guild' leaflet."
1947 POR - Trefoil Guild
"The Trefoil Guild is the link within the fellowship of The Girl Guides Association for members over 21 who have finished their training as Rangers or who have ceased active Guiding. Rangers (under 21) who are unable to continue active Guiding may join at the discretion of the County Commissioner and County Ranger Adviser, each case to be considered by them on it's own merits. Active members of the movement may join the Trefoil Guild as associate members (associate members being defined as those without vote or office).
Membership of the Trefoil Guild is open to those who:
a) Have loyally served Guiding in any capacity since their enrollment.
b) Continue to make the Guide Law and Promise the rule of their lives and so spread the fellowship and spirit of Guiding wherever they may be.
c) Undertake, when possible, some definite form of service to the community.
Election to the Trefoil Guild: When a Trefoil Guild is first started, the original members are nominated by the Commissioner concerned. Subsequently, a new member is proposed and seconded by members of the Gild and elected by vote at a meeting in their own locality.
Membership cards may be purchased from Headquarters.
Organisation: The method of organisation of a Guild is left to the discretion of the County Commissioner and her County Committee.
County Recorders: A County Recorder is appointed by the County Commissioner and the County Committee. Application for her warrant is made to Headquarters through the usual channels.
A Division/District Guild Secretary is appointed by the Commissioner concerned. This appointment is unwarranted.
Registration: Trefoil Guilds should be registered on a County, and/or Division, and/or District basis. Each Guild shall include, within the area named in the registration, all eligible ex-members of the Movement from any or all branches or sections. Guilds should be registered through the usual County channels."
1953 POR - Trefoil Guild
"Purpose of the Trefoil Guild: To link together in a world-wide fellowship all those women who, having taken the Guide Promise and served the movement, are prepared to carry out the Guide ideals in their daily life and in the community in which they live and work. Membership carries with it responsibility for:
a) Keeping alive among its members the spirit of the Guide Promise and Law.
b) Carrying that spirit into the community in which they live and work.
c) Giving support to Guiding as far as their other responsibilities will allow.
Election to the Trefoil Guild: New members of a Guild are proposed seconded and elected by the existing membership. Original members of a newly formed Guild should be nominated by the Commissioner concerned.
Rangers (under 21) who are unable to continue active Guiding may join at the discretion of the County Commissioner and County Ranger Adviser, each case to be considered on its own merits. Active members of the movement may join the Trefoil Guild as associate members (associate members do not hold office or vote).
Trefoil Guild badges (metal), membership cards, and cloth badges (for armlets) are registered goods and therefore obtained through the usual county channels.
Organisation: The method of organisation of the Trefoil Guild in a county is left to the discretion of the County Commissioner and her County Committee. Provision should be made for all types of membership to include those who desire the link with Guiding but do not wish for frequent meetings.
County Recorders: A County Recorder is appointed by the County Commissioner and the County Committee. Application for her warrant is made to Headquarters through the usual channels.
A Division/District Guild Secretary may be appointed by the Commissioner concerned to assist the County Recorder in her work in that area. This appointment is unwarranted.
Registration: It is recommended that Guilds should be registered wherever possible on a County, Division, or District basis, but where special circumstances or numbers make it advisable Guilds may be registered with a more local title at the discretion of the Commissioner concerned and County Trefoil Guild Recorder. Guilds should be registered through the usual County channels."
1957 POR saw some further amendments.
1) Aims. The Girl guides Association founded the Trefoil Guild to provide an organisation for enrolled members over the age of 21 who on ceasing to be actively connected with Guiding wish to remain in the movement.
Members accept the following responsibilities:
a) To keep alive among members the spirit of the Guide Promise and Law.
b) To carry that spirit into the community in which members live and work.
c) To give support to guiding as far as other responsibilities allow.
2) Membership. Membership is open to all enrolled members of the Association (except ex-Brownies). Women Scouters are also eligible for membership.
Provision is made for all types of member, including those who desire the link with guiding but do not wish for frequent meetings. In exception an circumstances a guild may be composed entirely of handicapped members.
Though the Guild is primarily intended for those who are unable to continue in active Guiding, Guiders are welcome. A Guider holding a warrant becomes as an Association Member and is not entitled to hold office or to vote.
Admission is by election by members of a guild or, on the inauguration of a guild, by nomination of the Commissioner. Members receive a Trefoil Guild membership card and badge; these are registered goods for which guild secretaries apply to the County Recorder who orders thorough the County Secretary.
3) Organisation. The Guild, while remaining an integral part of the Association, has its own Constitution and is independently administered. The Guild refers decisions on matters of major policy to the association whose sanction must be obtained before action is taken thereon.
4) Administration. Administrative authority in The Guild in the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories within the Commonwealth is vested in a Central Council and a Central Executive Committee. Correspondence should be addressed to the General Secretary and Trefoil Guild Central Office.
5) The President. The President of the Trefoil Guild is appointed by the Executive Committee of the Council of the Association.
6) The Country Recorder and the Recorder for Overseas. The Country Recorder is appointed by the Trefoil Guild Central Executive Committee on the nomination of the Chief Commissioner for the country. The Country Recorder is responsible for the administration of the guilds in her country and is the link between the County Recorders and the Central Executive Committee.
7) The County Recorder. The County Recorder is appointed by the County Commissioner. The County Recorder is the authority in the County on all matters relating to The Guild. She is responsible, in consultation with the county Commissioner, for the guilds in the county and is the link between them and the country Recorder.
The County Recorder represents The Guild at County meetings , and expresses the views of the guilds in her County at national and area Guild conferences. She is responsible for the annual census figures of the guilds in her County, for collecting members' annual contributions to Trefoil Guild Central Funds and the International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides, and for raising and administering the County Trefoil Guild Fund.
A County Trefoil Guild Secretary and/or Treasurer may be appointed, by the County Commissioner, to assist the County Recorder.
8) The guild secretary, the guild chairman, and the guild treasurer. These appointments are made by the guild concerned.
9. Finance. The Guild is financially self-supporting at all levels and entirely dependent upon annual subscriptions and contributions received from its members. The County Recorder, in consultation with the Commissioner concerned, is responsible for the disposal of any funds belonging to a disbanded guild.
10) Warrants. The appointment of County Recorder is the only Trefoil Guild appointment to be confirmed by warrant. The County Recorder may not hold any other warrant during the period of her appointment. The holding of a warrant as a Recorder does not confer the right to wear uniform nor to be designated a Guider.
11) Registrations and Disbandments. A guild may be formed at County, Division, District, or unit level, or in any group or society considered suitable by the Central Executive Committee. To be recognised a guild must be recommended by the Commissioner and the County Recorder. It is registered at Commonwealth Headquarters through the County Secretary.
The disbandment of a guild is dealt with by the County Recorder in consultation with the Commissioner; the registration certificate is returned, for cancellation, to Commonwealth Headquarters, through the County Secretary.
12) Uniform. A member of The Guild, as such, does not wear uniform. The Trefoil Guild armlet (wine coloured with cloth Trefoil Guild badge) may be worn on the left arm when taking part in any form of corporate service; in particular at a Guide function.
An ex-Ranger under the age of 25 who is a member of The Guild may, with her Commissioner's permission, wear Ranger uniform if taking part in a Ranger activity. The Trefoil Guild badge is worn on the tie.
13) International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides. The guilds in the Overseas Territories are included in Great Britain's membership of the International Fellowship of Former Scouts and guides.
Members of The Guild are entitled to wear the badge of the Fellowship (a red fleur-de-lis superimposed on a white trefoil).
Members travelling abroad are recommended to obtain an International fellowship identity card.
15) Co-operation with Former Scouts. Every encouragement should be given to fostering close co-operation between former Scouts who are members of the B.-P. Scout Guild and former Guides who are members of the Trefoil Guild. At national level the two Guilds have a Joint Committee to which all matters of mutual interest, including those concerning the International Fellowship, are referred. The Guilds are also encouraged to co-operate at County and local level.
1961 POR saw amendments to the membership rules.
"Full and Associate membership of the Trefoil Guild is confined to women over the age of 21 years.
a) Full Membership is open to:
i) A member of the Association who has made the threefold Promise and who holds no appointment in the Association or the Boy Scouts Association for which a warrant is required.
ii) A woman who has held a warrant as a Scouter but holds no appointment in the Association or the Boy Scouts Association for which a warrant is required.
iii) A British national, resident in a foreign country but British by birth, provided that she was enrolled in a British company.
iv) A former Guide resident or temporarily resident in the United Kingdom from a country belonging to the International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides.
v) A former Guide of another country who is now a naturalised British subject.
vi) A former Guide of a member country of the World Association married to a British subject and now resident in the United Kingdom.
b) Associate Membership is open to:
i) A member who holds an appointment in the Association for which a warrant is required.
ii) A woman Scouter who holds an appointment in the Boy Scouts Association for which a warrant is required.
An Associate member may not hold office in any part of the Guild and may not vote at any meeting thereof.
1) Aims. The Girl Guides Association founded the Trefoil Guild to provide an organisation for all enrolled members who on ceasing to be actively connected with guiding wish to remain in the Movement. Members accept the following responsibilities:
a) To keep alive the spirit of the Guide Promise and Law.
b) To carry that spirit into the community in which they live and work.
c) To give support to Guiding.
A Guild is inaugurated by the Commissioner concerned after which members are admitted on election by the Guild members.
Membership entails an annual subscription to the Country/Region funds of the Guild. On payment of the initial subscription the member receives and signs a membership card and may wear the Trefoil Guild badge. Membership cards and badges are registered goods obtainable only by Guild secretaries from the County Adviser who orders them according to the agreed procedure in County or Country/Region.
a) Full Membership. Open to women over the age of 18 who hold no appointment for which a warrant is issued in either the Girl Guides Association or the Scout Association.
i) To be eligible for election a candidate must:
a) Have been enrolled into the Girl Guides Association; or
b) Have held a warrant in the Scout Association; or
c) Have been enrolled into a Girl Guide or Girl Scout Organisation recognised as a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and be resident in the United Kingdom.
ii) Former Guides in countries which are not members of the International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides must have the approval of the Secretariat of the International Fellowship before joining a British Guild abroad. A former Guide in her own country wishing to join a British Guild there must have the approval of her own National Association.
b) Associate Membership. A woman over the age of 18 holding an appointment for which a warrant is issued in either the Girl Guides Association or the Scout Association may be admitted as an Associate Member but may not hold office in a Guild.
12) Uniform. A member of the Guild, as such, does not wear uniform. She may wear the Trefoil Guild lapel badge when taking part in a Guide function or other form of corporate service, and with the Commissioner's permission, the Guiders' dress when helping in a Guide Camp or Pack Holiday.
LINK is an organisation, administered by a sub-committee of the Central Executive Committee of the Trefoil Guild. LINK is intended to provide a flexible framework for groups of young people to maintain an association with the Guide Movement while pursuing some form of service, not necessarily within the group. Membership is restricted to men and women between the ages of 18 and 30.
2005 Guiding Manual - The Trefoil Guild
The Trefoil Guild is part of Girlguiding UK but has a separate constitution and is independently administered. The Trefoil Guild office is situated in CHQ.
The aim and objectives of The Trefoil Guild are:
* to give practical, financial and moral support to guiding and Scouting.
* to keep alive among members the spirit of the Guide and Scout Promises and Laws.
* to carry that spirit into the communities in which members live and work.
The Trefoil Guild refers matters of major policy to Girlguiding UK's Executive Committee which also appoints The Trefoil Guild Chairman.
Full membership is open to anyone aged 18 or over who has been a member of Girlguiding UK or The Scout Association or who makes the Guide or Scout Promise.
Associate membership is open to anyone aged 18 or over who holds either a Guider's or Scouter's unit appointment card or a Commissioner's warrant card in either Girlguiding UK or The Scout Association.
Affiliate membership is open to anyone aged 18 or over who has not made the Guide or Scout Promise but who subscribes to the aims and principles of the two Associations.
There is no Trefoil Guild uniform but a Trefoil guild member may wear a red Promise badge and a red badge tab.
The Trefoil Guild is financially self-supporting. Each Guild, County, Country and Region is responsible for its own finances. Every member of The Trefoil Guild pays an annual subscription to the Guild, the amount of which is agreed each year by the Central Executive Committee and recommended to the Central Council for approval. There may be local subscriptions which are collected at the same time as the annual subscription.