For Christmas my wife Ashley and I got a wonderful gift from her Brother - plane tickets to come see him in England! Ashley and I had both travelled to England separately many years earlier so it was really exciting to go together, and to go stay with her Brother for 2 full weeks.
Of course as soon as we started planning the trip I decided that we HAD to go to the World Guiding Centre Pax Lodge. I mean if we were going to be in London anyways what a trip up to the world centre?
Luckily my wife understands my slight guiding obsession and happily took me to Pax on our first day in London. We were able to tour the grounds and see some very cool historical guide memorabilia. We saw a display of Trefoils from all over the world, a super cool phone booth inside the Pax Lodge stairwell, as well as Lady Baden Powell's personal set of guiding pins and cufflinks. Awesome! In addition to seeing all of the neat mementos I got to visit the World centre shop and purchase a plethora of London themed badges for my camp blanket as well as many Pax Lodge themed things.
The last thing we did was pick up 2 different Pax Lodge challenges that I could work on over the course of our London Adventure: the 25th Anniversary Challenge and the Challenges Around London: Harry Potter Challenge.
When I was researching super cool guiding things to do in London one thing popped up about visiting Buckingham Palace. As many of us know Queen Elizabeth II and her sister were both Girl Guides "back in the day" and as a nod to their involvement in the organization they extend a special privilege to guiders. After an application process I received a letter from Guiding HQ that my wife and I got to watch the Changing of the Guard from INSIDE the Palace gates!!! How cool is that!? We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the gates but, we got to have a special place to stand, got to watch the full changing of the guard, touch Buckingham Palace and see the Queen, Prince William and Duchess Kate driving in through the gates. After we went to Buckingham Palace we stopped by Girl Guides HQ (it's quite close by) and I was able to purchase some challenge badges for my Sparks and Brownie Groups. The whole experience was really cool and I highly recommend applying if you are travelling to London.
We spent our two weeks in London doing a vast number of guiding and non-guiding things. If you were interested, yes i did complete my two challenge badges and was awarded with these beauties. I had such a wonderful time and can't wait to go back to London as well as plan trips to visit the other 4 World Guiding Centres!
Note: I also got a beautiful silver patch for completing the Pax Lodge 25th Anniversary Challenge but I have to take another picture of it to upload!