Alumnae visit Girl Scout World Centres in England, Switzerland
BEDFORD, NH – For some women, Girl Scouting isn’t just a thing they did in their childhood – it’s a lifelong passion. Through membership in the Alumnae Association of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, adult Girl Scout members are mentoring girls, going on hikes, volunteering their service, and more. One group of intrepid alums has just returned from a 10-day trip to England and Switzerland, highlighted by stops at Pax Lodge and Our Chalet, World Centres for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
Landing in London, the group enjoyed visiting Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, Stonehenge, and the usual tourist spots. Pax Lodge in North London is the international headquarters of WAGGGS. While there, Girl Scout alums from New Hampshire and Vermont participated in a pinning ceremony, along with Girl Scout Troop 20507 from Concord, NH.
After a few days in the United Kingdom, the women were off to Switzerland and Our Chalet, nestled in the breathtaking scenery of the Swiss Alps. This is the first World Centre, where visitors have been coming since 1932. There is even a New England connection to Our Chalet, as construction and three years of operating costs came from Helen Storrow of Boston. The alums spent three nights there, and participated in another pinning ceremony. While there, they met and interacted with a group Irish Girl Guides. Hiking the Alps in Adelboden, they enjoyed spectacular views and spent time in the local museum. As they left Our Chalet for Zurich, snow fell. Their tour of the historic and picturesque city included walks through “old town” and chocolate shops.
Participants ranged in age from 22 to 85, from widely varying professional backgrounds, Girl Scout roles, and current hometowns, but all shared in the specific and powerful common interest of sharing the Girl Scout Experience and making new friends.
“The world is a lot bigger than our current existence,” said Patricia Casey, director of advancement at Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, describing the unique experience of this trip. “We are part of a worldwide association – millions strong.”
Suzanna Brown, a Girl Scout trainer from Milton, Vermont, is an experienced business traveler, but this trip with a large group of Girl Scout alums was a change for her. “It was fun to get to know people in a totally different way,” she said. She made a new connection with another trainer from New Hampshire, and enjoyed the trip for its Girl Scout experience, staying at two of the World Centres.
“Pax Lodge was more like a hostel” than Our Chalet, she said, which offered dormitory and small group accommodations. “Our Chalet did things to make everybody get to know each other, a big Girl Scout family. You have to work together and do things together.” She noted that travelers should be aware that there is a lot of walking on steep ground to get around at some of the locations. She said a trip highlight for her was attending a candlelight vigil at Westminster Cathedral in London, as well as just seeing the countryside, which reminded her of Vermont.
The trip is a first for the Alumnae Association but doubtless not the last. The association, now just over a year old, has planned or hosted a variety of activities for its membership, like museum tours, pie-iron outdoor cooking nights, learning to make cheese, service projects, and more. Any adult who’s ever been a Girl Scout is eligible to be part of the GSGWM Alumnae Association. To find out more, see https://www.girlscoutsgwm.org/en/our-council/Alumnae.html.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.