The only way I can describe my time at Our Chalet is as a whirlwind of adventure, whether I’ve been out on Programme climbing mountains or on Guest Services trying to figure out how to cook for hundreds of people, it’s definitely been an experience of a life time that I’ll take with me wherever I go.
I’m not someone who is particularly organised so my plans to come to Our Chalet were very much spontaneous, one minute I was at home in England and the next I was looking at the next flight to Switzerland.
So now I find myself, two months in out of six at Our Chalet having the time of my life in the Swiss alps. If anyone was even slightly questioning whether they should come to Our Chalet, take my advice and just go for it. I won’t lie the days are long and hard work, but as I’ve found, with a good team around you. they certainly don’t feel that long. The thing I love about working at Our Chalet is that every day is different, even if it looks like you’re doing the same thing day in day out, things are genuinely never the same.
On a guest services day you can expect a lot of cleaning and cooking ahead, which although might not be the most glamorous of tasks, is one of the most satisfying. If you haven’t folded 300 pieces of laundry in a day, have you really lived? Honestly there’s nothing better than a good old session in the laundry room that ends with these identical piles of towels and bedding!
Having a high adventure on the Kandersteg Via Ferrata on a day off
As a Summer Volunteer the other side of my role is on programme. As I’m here over summer programme it’s pretty full on with a Swiss Challenge pretty much every week! On programme I get to lead groups of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on a series of high adventure activities which isn’t just an amazing experience for them but an amazing one for me as well. I love seeing the look of pride and awe on a girl’s face who has challenged herself way beyond what she thought she could! I’ve definitely had a few moments like that so far since being here.
I think the most memorable experience I’ve had so far was my first night hike to the peak of a mountain! I started hiking at 7:30 pm with a group of girls behind me and we started to make our way up Bunderspitz, come 9:30 we were getting ready for the night’s rest in a cheesemaker’s hut half way up the mountain. This was definitely a memory I won’t forget as throughout the night all I could hear was cows mooing away which is very far removed from a normal nights sleep! At 1:30 am we woke up after a few hours sleep and resumed our hike to the peak, with just a head torch to guide us in the night. A few hours later we reached the peak after a long hike and the reward was to see the clearest and most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen therefore making a pretty challenging hike completely worth it.
Sunrise from Bunderspitz
To summarise, Our Chalet has given me experience and opportunities in things I never thought I would get the chance to have. One final piece of advice I can give to anyone thinking of coming to our Chalet, and this is appropriate for future volunteers or potential guests, is ALWAYS wear sun cream!
Frances Whittaker, Summer Volunteer 2018