During her August vacation, troop leader and registration volunteer Kristin Odegard took a tour of Pax Lodge, the Girl Scout World Centre in London.
Upon arriving at the Lodge, I was greeted by a girl “ranger” guide from Canada and another from Sweden. I learned that girls apply to work at the Lodge, and if accepted, they live and work at the Lodge for a four-month rotation. During that time, they are assigned duties similar to our resident camps: programming, housekeeping, kitchen duty, etc.
I met a troop leader and girl from Venezuela and spoke some Spanish with them. I found out they were from a small town outside of Caracas. They had to save money for years in order to make the trip to Pax Lodge. They were staying at the Lodge and attending some of the Paralympic events taking place in London at the time.
Visitors to Pax Lodge have the option to participate in a pinning ceremony. We raised our hands to make the Girl Scout sign, recited the Pax Lodge oath and were pinned with the Pax Lodge pin. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the troop leader and girl from Venezuela presented the Lodge with a flag from their country.
I also added a patch and pin to a map of the world the Lodge keeps on a wall in the cafeteria. Visitors can add a pin on the map to represent their hometown and a patch on the perimeter of the map. At the end of the year they clear off all of the patches and pins and sell the patches in the gift shop to support programming.
Our tour guides also explained some of the programming Pax Lodge offers. Programming includes themes similar to World Thinking Day events and come from a United Nations’ list of goals they adopted.
I would highly recommend taking a group of girls to Pax Lodge or taking a tour if you find yourself in London. You can’t help but feel a real sense of sisterhood with the other residents and visitors.