The Branch Associations are guiding associations in the UK Overseas Territories.
What are the UK Overseas Territories?
They have voted to keep their political links with the United Kingdom. Each Territory has its own Government and Her Majesty the Queen is represented by a Governor, who acts as Head of State. They do not form part of the United Kingdom itself but fall under its jurisdiction.
Why were the Branch Associations formed?
When guiding started in the Overseas Territories, most Leaders relied on Commonwealth Headquarters in London to provide information and instructions. This did not always work because of differences in climate, geography, number of members and so on. The Branch Associations were formed to take these differences into account.
In the late 1940’s there were over 50 Branch Associations but through time as countries voted to have independence like Jamaica, South Africa etc. that position has now changed and The Branch Associations now comprise of 8 countries.
How are the Branch Associations run?
The UK Chief Guide is also Chief Guide for the Branch Associations. The Chief Guide appoints an Adviser to the Branch Association and her role is to support them in any way she is able through the Commissioners.
Each Association has its own President, Council, and an Executive. A Commissioner organises guiding in the country and is linked to Commonwealth Headquarters.
The Chief Commissioners of the independent Commonwealth Guide Associations meet for a conference every three years, and prior to this the Branch Association Commissioners attend a training event and then, if they wish, can join in with the Commonwealth Conference.
Is guiding different in the Branch Associations?
The girls follow a similar programme to girls in the UK, use the same publications and often wear guiding clothing. Branch Associations receive UK support with programme materials and training but are encouraged to develop their own activities too.
Branch Associations in the Caribbean area are also members of the Caribbean Link of Guiding.