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Connecting with Sister Girl Scouts and Girl Guides Around the World
By Kristen Jendras
Pax Lodge Resident Volunteer
Although I had learned about the World Centers as a Girl Scouts, I didn’t fully grasp what they had to offer until I stayed at Pax Lodge during a visit to camp friends in England. I remember the volunteers were so welcoming and friendly. I just loved the atmosphere in the house and I thought to myself, "I want to do this!"
Being able to live abroad and meet Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world seemed like an incredible experience. So when I got home I checked out all the details online, applied and heard back a few months later.
I was so excited when I finally got the e-mail asking me to come to Pax Lodge! I had a plan and didn’t have to cringe when people asked the inevitable question of, "So what are you going to do after graduation?" Girl Scouting runs in my blood, so my family was very excited for me, too. Off I went to England!
Thrilled to Arrive
Before settling into my new home in London, I figured I might as well take the opportunity to backpack through Europe. So my university roommate and I traveled for a month to Budapest, Krakow, Prague, Munich, Venice, Florence, and Rome. We had a great time and even managed to visit Our Chalet. However, the eleven-hour night trains and the vagabond lifestyle wore me down. I was thrilled to finally arrive to Pax Lodge unpack my things and sleep in a room to myself.
Pax Lodge volunteers are WAGGGS members, ages 18 to 25, on volunteer assignments from three to five months. We received board and lodging, a Pax Lodge uniform, and a weekly allowance. We wore our official Girl Scout/Guide uniform when running programs or on special occasions. Our work rotation was four days on, two days off and daily tasks varied from day to day.
Pax Lodge is open every day with guests staying from one to eight nights. So our schedules included mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends. Depending on the program, our duties could begin at 7 a.m. and finish at 9 p.m. Some of our duties include cleaning the kitchen, dining room, and guest rooms, doing laundry, providing tours to visitors at Pax Lodge, working in the souvenir shop, assisting the program manager with sessions and other activities, general office work, manning reception, answering the telephone and computer training. In addition to these jobs, we were also assigned a different role each month. These rotating positions include coordinator, deputy coordinator, catering, program/social, fundraising, and marketing. We also shadowed a staff member to learn more about keeping the World Center running.
Friends Around the World
I met so many wonderful people and now have new friends from around the world (Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Ghana). I also learned some invaluable lessons about compromise and open-mindedness. Living and working with the same people is intense and I had to learn how to balance that. Plus, I gained skills in customer service, cleaning and cooking that I can take with me. I used to be a shy, soft-spoken person. Now, I am more confident and voice my thoughts and opinions as a fully independent woman.
My experience at Pax Lodge also made me a more understanding person, which will make me a better friend, daughter, sister, etc. As for the future, I would love to work for Girl Scouts USA or WAGGGS to promote Girl Scouting/Guiding to new generations so they can have the same great experiences that I did! I return to New York with many great memories, knowing that I always have a home at Pax Lodge.
More Girl Scout Stories From Around the World