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Girl Guide leaders head to Bermuda for training

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International gathering: From the left, Anne Llywelyn-Jones (Branches Advisor to the Branch Associations to Girl Guiding in the UK), with Commissioners for Girl Guiding in a selection of British Overseas Territories, Yvette Martin-Stoutt (Virgin Islands), Coretta Fergus (Montserrat), Helen Smith (Girl Guiding trainer), Joy Frater (Cayman Islands), Cherie Clifford (Falkland Islands) and Shirlene Darrell (Bermuda)

The British Girl Guide Association is holding a conference in Bermuda this week in hopes of training the branch association’s commission leaders from UK Overseas Territories.

Branches association advisor Anne Llewellyn-Jones will guide representatives from the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda on methods of development and reform of the islands’ respective chapters.

The advisor told The Royal Gazette that representatives from five out of nine countries in the branch association are in Bermuda to attend the conference.

Representatives from Turks and Caicos, St Helena, and Anguilla could not attend.

Bermuda has grown to be the largest of the nine Girl Guide branches in the British Overseas Territories.

Bermuda has four programmes for girls aged five to 20 that allow them to join programmes for their age groups, such as Rainbows, Brownies, Guides or Senior Section.

This week’s conference focuses on the Girl Guides’ programme for girls aged ten to 14.

Ms Llewellyn-Jones acknowledged the different protocols and methods of educating the youth in each jurisdiction. Factors such as climate, geographic location and number of members affect how each branch is managed.

Most overseas guide leaders rely on the Commonwealth headquarters in London “to provide information and instruction”, she said, while some develop their own methods of guiding.

The branch association’s website notes that all overseas territory units “receive UK support with programme materials and training but are encouraged to develop their own activities too”.

These branch associations have their own presidents, councils and executive leaders.

In this year’s conference Ms Llewellyn-Jones stresses the importance of the extensive training of all leaders in overseas branches to ensure there will “always be someone to carry on branch duties.”

“If you don’t develop your leaders, you cannot develop your girls,” she added.

Ms Llewellyn-Jones also emphasises the importance of creating websites for all branch associations in order to spread awareness of the programme. She noted that the development of Bermuda’s website was going very well.

Ms Llewellyn-Jones acknowledged the Girl Guide programme often loses potential members to other after-school activities. She believes the Girl Guide Association must use a new means of promotion to both recruit girls and retain them.

The overseas Girl Guide branches plan on using social media, their respective government websites, and their islands’ local TV and radio stations to attract new members for their chapters. They also hope to visit schools, meet with young children to teach them about Girl Guides and encourage them to become members.

The island representatives also discussed activity ideas for their branches. One of the most prominent ideas was for the British Overseas Territories to plan a social and educational event with their country’s president or premier.

Planning: Shirlene Darrell (Island Commissioner for Girl Guiding in Bermuda) and her British Virgin Islands counterpart Yvette Martin-Stoutt create a hierarchy of roles and responsibilities within the Girl Guides during the gathering of leaders at the Bermuda High School for Girls
Conference: Anne Llywelyn-Jones, left, Branches Advisor for the Branch Association for Girl Guides in the UK, with Girl Guiding Commissioners Joy Frater (Cayman Islands) and Cherie Clifford (Falkland Islands)