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World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Two girls visit Our Chalet, a Girl Scout world center in the Swiss Alps.

Cookies fund world travel

2012 Group Tour Media,
March 29, 2012

By Beth Walton

Self-Disclaimer: I love Girl Scouts. I think it is one of the best organizations for young women, and I have a slight addiction to Do-si-dos.

I also believe my time as a child in Girl Scouts helped me develop the courage I needed to travel all around the world and pursue my dreams as an adult.

So, in honor of Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary this month, I am presenting you with an around the world Girl Scout heritage tour. Founded 1912, today the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) boasts 3.2 million members in more than 92 countries. A member of the international collaboration of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), GSUSA is part of a family of 10 million girls from more than 145 nations.

From the Americas to the Eurasian contentment, the globe is filled with Girl Scouts. A visit to their four world centers is a way to support the organization in a meaningful, less calorie-driven way.

Some of the spots on this tour are open to the public. Others are only open to Girl Scouts, their friends and family. But, with 50 million alumni in America alone, it shouldn’t be hard to find a suitable companion. Just ask your wife, mother, sister or neighbor. I bet you can find a Girl Scout nearby. So the saying goes: "Once a Girl Scout always a Girl Scout."

Our tour will start in America’s southeast in Savannah, Ga. at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, located in the heart of the city’s historic district. The 1880s renovated childhood home of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low was Savannah’s first National Historic Landmark. Today, guided tours and programs allow visitors to learn more about Low and the history of GSUSA.

Next, head to New York City and see the gears turn at National Headquarters. There, approximately 400 staff work to serve the nation’s 100 Girl Scout councils. Guests can tour the facility and enjoy its museum and shop. Centrally located just two blocks from the Empire State Building and ten blocks from Rockefeller Center, National Headquarters is a highlight of any New York trip.

Before heading overseas, make a side trip to the town of Briarcliff Manor and see the Edith Macy Conference Center, a landmark destination detailing how the domestic Girl Scout movement turned international. It was at this site Low ushered in America’s first international WAGGGS confecence. Just 45-minutes north of New York City, 400-acres of wooded grounds and a historic Great Hall await guests. Perfect for large events, the grounds feature six corporate conference rooms, a 200-seat auditorium and attractive lodging options.

If time allows, head nation's capital. With March being the 100th anniversary and Women’s History Month, the Presidents Gallery By Madame Tussauds announced that it would be creating a wax statuette of Low.The statue will be unveiled in Washington, D.C. early summer.

Next stop: Mexico. Located in the town of Cuernavaca, just 47-miles from Mexico City, is Our Cabaña, the largest of the word centers. 

Pair your visit or stay with trips to nearby Cortes' Palace, a16th-century cathedral and Jardin Borda, once home to Mexican Emperor Maximilian. Not far away is the large city of Puebla and the towns of Tepoztlan and Taxco, all with great options for group travelers. A visit to the nearby Xochicalco archaeological site, which boasts a spectacular hillside pyramid village, can also be arranged.

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World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Located just 47-miles from Mexico City, Our Cabaña is the largest of the World Centers.

Mexico wasn’t hot enough for you? Head across the Atlantic to India for your next international Girl Scout adventure.

Sangam, situated along the banks of the Mula River in Pune, is only few hours from Mumbai. With its namesake meaning “coming together” in Sanskrit, this world center brings Girl Scouts and Girl Guides together from around the globe. Events emphasize cultural sharing, common links and the rich cultural heritage of India. At all times of the year, guests are welcome to visit or stay.

Ready to jump continents again?

Our last two spots take us to Europe. Start in London at the Pax Lodge, situated in Hampstead. The center is an ideal destination for schools, youth groups and even families who would like to experience a unique home-like environment. Next door to the WAGGGS World Bureau, guests of Pax Lodge are granted easy access to an assortment of thrilling program and activities that explore London and the Europe’s scouting history. Bonus: groups can purchase discounted tickets at the Lodge to some of London’s top attractions.

We'll end our trip in Switzerland at Our Chalet, the first world center built by the WAGGGS. Located in the picturesque Swiss Alps, the Chalet is connected to a network of trails and footpaths that lead to snow-covered mountains, sparkling blue lakes, alpine forests and wild flower meadows. Our Chalet offers a wide array of programs from high adventure activities such as skiing or hiking and leadership seminars. It's a great place to end. Afterall, Low did start Girl Scouts to bring girls out of their isolated home environments and into the open air.

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