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Trefoil Guild: Keeping the Spirit of the Guide Law and Promise Alive

Girl Guides Victoria is putting the spotlight on the Trefoil Guild, the adult branch of the Guiding family and a major source of support to the wider community.

Newly appointed Victorian Trefoil Guild Adviser, Sue Viney kindly shared some of the rich history of the Trefoil Guild and what she believes the future has in store as they approach their 75th anniversary next year.

What is the Trefoil Guild and what do they do?

The Trefoil Guild is an integral part of Guiding, administered independently.  Membership is open to all adult women who have made the Guide or Scout Promise anywhere in the world or who are prepared to make the Guide Promise. Trefoil Guild members are members of their State Girl Guide Organisation. Each State has its own State Trefoil Guild Adviser. The Trefoil Guild adheres to Girl Guide principles and policy. The purpose of Trefoil Guild is to keep the spirit of the Promise and Law alive, carry this spirit into the community, and to lend support to Guiding.

As a Girl Guide, an Olave, and finally a Trefoiler, you grow attached to your Guiding family – who can sometimes become closer than real family! You are surrounded by a strong network of like-minded peers with whom you develop a real camaraderie.

The friendships you form last a lifetime.

The Trefoil Guild has access to many of the exciting experiences open to Guides. Contingents travel internationally for Trefoil Gatherings, and come together to raise funds for and donate to meaningful causes.

We are always looking to give back to our own Guiding community – so if your Guide Unit needs a hand or is looking to fund a project, please get in touch with your local Trefoil Guild.  

Trefoil Guild is passionate about passing on skills and knowledge to the next generation of Girl Guides.

Of course, as adult Guides, Trefoil members also partake in a range of activities outside of the regular Girl Guide experience. We lunch, dine, and go to shows and events in Melbourne. Some Trefoil Guilds meet every month, some meet every two months, depending on the Guild itself. They might meet in each other’s homes, at a Guide Hall, or in a cafe or restaurant. There are a few Trefoil Guilds who have their own special names such as Cappuccino, Wine-a-lot, and the Go Club… reflecting their preferred meeting format!

How old is the Trefoil Guild? 

In 2020, the Trefoil Guild will celebrate 75 years in Australia. There will be the Australian Trefoil Gathering in Perth, “Walk on the West Side” on 11-14 September 2020. A National Campfire will be celebrated on 16 May 2020. We will also be issuing a brand new badge as well as a Challenges & Activities Booklet to help celebrate 75 years of Fun, Fellowship, Friendship, and Service to Girl Guides.

Strzelecki Boomerang Trefoil Guild learning about rose planting at the Morwell Rose Gardens.

How long have you been a part of the Trefoil Guild?

I first joined the Trefoil in Black Rock in about 1993 before moving back to Brisbane in January 1994. I started Sylvia Ringrose Trefoil Guild in The Gap, Brisbane in 2004 and have been a member of Trefoil ever since. Moving to Phillip Island in 2011, I then joined the Lady Nelson Golden Wattle Trefoil Guild.

What does a Trefoil Guild Adviser do?

Good question – I am still finding out! Since becoming the Victorian Trefoil Guild Adviser in August this year, I have primarily acted as a liaison between the Victorian Guilds and the Australian Trefoil Guild Adviser. I give advice, help Guilds resolve any issues, and help Guilds apply for Years of Membership and Awards, including both Guiding and Civil. I have a team helping me: Roxanne Purvis (Trefoil Guild Merchandise), Barbara Handson (State Trefoil Guild Treasurer), Jane Pennington (Admin and Go-To Person), Jan Gray (my People Person – she knows more people than I do) and Lorraine Otway, who helps me look after Western Victoria.

The Highton Girl Guides join forces with the Trefoil Guild.

What inspired you to apply for the job?

I was Region Manager for Gippsland and after my initial three year term came to an end, the State Trefoil Guild Advisor’s job became vacant. I thought about applying but then it was decided that my job, and that of my Region Team, was not finished and we went on to serve another two and a half years. Then the job was advertised again! I felt drawn to it and after talking with Amanda Kelly, Lynne Emblin, and Jane Pennington, I decided to give it a go. I felt I had something to bring to the job.

What does the future hold for the Trefoil Guild?

The Victorian Trefoil Guild recently held its Annual General Meeting and changeover. Every member received a badge titled “Celebrating into the Future” and we discussed moving forward – we are not a bunch of old ladies sitting around knitting or whatever!

A lot of our Guide Leaders are baby boomers thinking about retiring from active Guiding, and looking for something to keep them involved. Trefoil Guild is for them – whether that’s an established Guild, or a new one that they start in their local area.

We also want to attract younger women, such as those who have been members of Olaves. Ladies who have reached the age of 30 plus, come and join Trefoil! We already have several Guilds for younger members, such as SWAT.

We need to let the uniformed Leaders know that Trefoil Guild is there and can be a vital resource for them. Most members of Trefoil Guild have, in their time, been either Leaders or District/Region Managers, even members of a support Group, so they have a lot to offer historically as well as practically.

It is my aim to increase the lines of communication within the Guild Movement. To that end, we have a monthly newsletter, and we have started the Victorian Trefoil Guild Facebook page which is gaining momentum as we speak.

The Barwon Trefoil members host a campfire and pizza night with the Highton Girl Guides.

How can the Trefoil Guild help Guiding Units? Where can Unit Leaders and Guides find their Local Trefoil Guild? 

Your local Trefoil Guild can help Guiding Units in many ways: as an extra pair of hands sewing on badges, helping to run special events, and demonstrating Guiding practices and traditions.

Does your Unit need help paying membership fees or getting a Guide to camp? Maybe your local Trefoil can help with financial assistance. The Units just need to ask, and if the Guild can help, they will.

Getting in touch is easy: either contact me (as the State Trefoil Guild Advisor) or your Region Manager.


Find all the information you need on how to become a Trefoil member here on our website.

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