The four corners of the Girl Scout
World are the World Centers: Our Chalet
, Our Cabana
, Pax Lodge
, and Sangam
. All members of WAGGGS
(world association of girl guides
and girl scouts
) are welcome to stay at the world centers. These centers give girls all over the world the chance to come together and learn not only about the country they are staying in but also about each other. Each center offers many activities that are characteristic of their respective
Each summer Girl Scout councils from across the United States plan Wider Opportunities for girls ages 15 and older. The council in my area provides scholarships through the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund and through calendar sales to girls who are in need of financial aid. Most international Wider Opportunities consist of about 12 girls from across the nation that have applied, interviewed and been selected to participate. The council that plans the Wider Op can choose up to 9 of the 12 girls from their local council and the other 3 from the rest of the country.
“Kaper Charts” list chores for the girls, which range from flag ceremonies to dish washing. The girls participate in every aspect of life at the World Centers. The majority of people who run the center are volunteer Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the World.
Our Chalet is located in the small town of Adelboden, Switzerland. In this town the Girl Scouts are the main attraction. The center consists of two large buildings and several smaller. The original Chalet was paid for by Helen Storrow, an American woman, in 1932. She agreed to fund the project if she was able to choose the location. Inside the Chalet are rooms of many shapes and sizes. While at the Chalet I stayed in “The Seven Dwarves Room” with 6 other girls from Wisconsin. It was known as the seven dwarves room because there was one large bed with 7 mattresses on top and seven small closets resembling the Disney movie. There was also a room called “The American Room” with old Swiss furniture and “The Britain Room” which doubled as a library. The attic floor of the Chalet is covered in mattresses and sleeps up to 22 girls. Girls can also sleep in the new Chalet building known as “Spycher”, “The Squirrel House”, or tents.
The center is located atop a small mountain that takes about 45 minutes to climb by foot. A strong will and strong leg muscles are essential for a stay at Our Chalet. A simple walk into town requires very intense hiking. The physical challenges that the Swiss Alps provide were an important aspect of the location when the site was determined.
The Chalet is open year-round for winter skiing and summer hiking.
The Chalet Song:
1. High up, high on the mountain,
We've founded our Chalet,
Its sloping roof and wide shall
Shelter us without a care.
And each Girl Scout and Guide
shall find a welcome there.
2. High up, high on the mountain,
We'll go to our Chalet;
Our simple life is free,
Our hearts are light, our songs are gay,
We ever shall remember
The joys of our Chalet.
3. High up. High on the mountain,
We've founded our Chalet;
And this its dedication
Shall never fail nor be undone:
Each race, each creed, each nation,
Beneath its roof are one.
Our Cabana is located in a suburb of the growing Mexican city of Cuernavaca. Our Cabana was completed in July of 1957; the only World Center located in the Western Hemisphere. Locations in the United States, Cuba, and Panama were considered for the center. Our Cabana consists of several buildings and five acres of gardens.
Youth programs are cultural and include crafts, songs and games, service projects in local communities, campfires, flag ceremonies, swimming, visits to places of historical interest, as well as the opportunity to shop in markets in Cuernavaca, Taxco (the Silver Center), and Tepoztlán (a craft market).
Adult programs include sessions that celebrate Mexican culture and traditions, sessions for training, and sessions for fun and getting to know you.
Our Cabana Song:
1.‘Neath the grand Sierra Madre
On a plain in Mexico
Lies our beautiful Cabana
Where Girl Scouts and Guides go.
Oh, come then to see the mountains,
The cactus and sunny skies:
Hear the crickets in the evening
And see the white moon arise.
2. When you see the warm red roofs
You think of hearts that glow with cheer,
And the walls of sturdy stone work
Stand for friendship so dear.
Each day there is filled with laughter,
Each evening is filled with song,
And our stay in Our Cabana
Gives us memories life-long.
3. When we go to Our Cabana
We will find ourselves at home;
There’s a greeting smile so friendly
And a handshake so warm.
So come now to Our Cabana
World friendship to increase,
And carry to your homeland
Pax Lodge was originally known as Our Ark. This name was chosen because the center was built in times of instability and the Ark was a symbol of peace in the Jewish and Christian faiths. After two years of planning, construction and organizing, Lady Bowater, Lady Mayoress of London officially opened Our Ark May 2, 1939; just seven years after the opening of Our Chalet. Due to enormous WAGGGS growth the center had to be moved in 1959. When the center was moved it was also re-named Olave House after Lady Baden-Powell.
The center moved to its current location in Northern London in 1990 and once again re-named this time Pax Lodge. Pax Lodge was chosen as the name for the new World Center in London for historic reasons. The family homes of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were called Pax Hill and Paxtu. The Latin word for Peace is Pax and with its history, Pax was an appropriate choice. The property where Olave Center is situated was called Rosslyn Lodge when it was home to the Earl of Rosslyn and to keep a connection with the old name, Lodge was chosen.
Programs at Pax Lodge vary from seminars to historical tours. Some historical sites point out aspects of England and other describe the history of Girl Scouting and Guiding.
The Pax Lodge Song:
We wish you love.
We wish you light.
We wish you colors soft and bright.
We wish you light.
We wish you love.
We wish you peace on the wings of a snow-white dove.
1. And with our sisters by our side
we learn to lead, we learn to guide.
We clear the path, we pave the way
to peace on earth, to a brighter day.
2. Sometimes the road is hard and long,
and yet together we are strong,
and as we weave life's tapestry,
each color blends in harmony.
3. Wherever we wander,
wherever we roam,
Pax Lodge will always be our home,
a place where strangers soon are friends,
I'll meet you there, where the rainbow ends.
Sangam is the newest of the World Centers; built in 1966 in the city of Pune, India. Pune is located in the state Marharashtra. Sangam is located on seven acres of tranquil land. The Mula River runs through the land.
In Sanskrit, the word "Sangam" describes a place where three rivers meet. It also means, "coming together" and here at Sangam Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from many nations can come together to experience international living at its best and to forge lasting friendships.