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Set up in 1910, the charity has no official link with any religion but its values have been widely seen as broadly Christian, and many of its leaders are Christians who hold meetings in church halls.Critics reacted with fury to the advice, with one former Guide leader saying it would have ‘devastated’ the Christian founders of the movement, Lord Baden-Powell and his wife Olave.The group’s gender guidelines state: ‘ “Girl” is based on gender identity.This means that any child who self-identifies as a girl should feel safe and welcome in our girl-only space regardless of the sex that they were assigned at birth.’The Guides say they are not currently recording the number of transgender members who have joined to date.

Coachella is a huge annual music festival in Greater Palm Springs, California.General Synod member Alison Ruoff said: ‘I was a Guide leader and if we had a day-long hike and we were eating, we would always have grace.‘The idea of dropping it is an absolute nonsense, absolutely appalling.‘The Guides are being very foolish in trying to whitewash Christianity, and they must not.’Girlguiding, formerly the Girl Guides Association, said ‘it may be traditional’ to say or sing grace – the prayers that Christians use to thank God for food and drink – but added: ‘Consider how this might make members who are from a different faith – or have no faith – feel.’It suggested that leaders who wanted to say something before a community meal should ‘try to think of a statement that doesn’t make reference to any particular god or faith’.On singing, the guidance added: ‘Some songs may have faith-based lyrics. ’Girlguiding’s chief executive Julie Bentley said the organisation has ‘always been open to girls of all faiths or none,’ and that the organisation had updated its guidance on saying grace and using songs as part of the changes it had made to its pledge.At the same time, Guide leaders were discouraged from telling parents their daughters would be sharing facilities with transgender girls, being advised that it is ‘good practice’ not to inform other people that a young person is transgender unless the individual concerned gives permission to do so.These new rules marked a major departure from the Girl Guides origins, set up 107 years ago as a female-only organisation.With the beginning of Spring weather, the Easter holiday is in April this year.

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