As my time here at Our Chalet comes to a close it is time to reflect on the past three and a half months. It is difficult to describe all the great memories, fun times, challenges and adventures I have experienced but I will highlight some of them.
My Our Chalet experience really started when I got the email saying I had been selected as a summer volunteer for 2012. I was beyond excited and had to have my sister read it to me just to make sure I understood it right! Just a few months later I was on the plane and beginning my Swiss adventure.
The first few days at Our Chalet were a blur of meeting new people, getting to know the area and adjusting to a new routine. Soon the eleven other summer vollies and I started our training. It was during these first few weeks that we really got to know each other and quickly became friends. One of my favourite moments of the summer was when we all received our red staff neckers at the top of Bunderspitz. It was a special moment because we had all hiked and made it to the peak together and it was there that we officially completed our training.
Before I knew it our first summer events had started and I got into the full swing of leading programme one week and then doing one week of guest services. I love both but being on programme is when I get to take people from around the world (although a lot of them are Canadian too) and help them to try new things, step out of their comfort zones and really experience what Our Chalet is about, adventure, fun and friendship. Guest services can also be just as fun. Time spent giving tours and goofing around in the kitchen has been just as enjoyable as hiking and abseiling.
Planning activities for the rest of staff is another thing I have enjoyed doing. One of the reasons I do it is to get staff challenge points but I also love sharing things about my life back home. On July 1st we celebrated Canada Day so Mariam (the other Canadian vollie) and I organized Canada night. We watched a few videos, played some games and shared a Canadian dessert. I think everyone had a lot of fun and afterwards everyone wanted to be Canadian too!
One tradition I grew up with was watching the Perseides meteor shower every August so this year I shared it with the other vollies. I made a short presentation, complete with a Magic School Bus clip, then we all went outside to watch the meteor shower. We had a perfect night for it, there were no clouds and since there is almost no light pollution here the views were spectacular! I was really happy to be able to share this experience with the others because it was something they may not have done at home.
If I had to pick a favourite memory I don’t think I could but here are my top three:
- The 80th birthday celebration, especially the waterslide!
- All of programme training, but going in the lake on Elsigen, the pendulum swing and the first chocolate show stand out the most.
- Making a bivouac and sleeping in it in the pouring rain with Naomi and Heather.
Overall my summer volunteering at Our Chalet has been a dream come true and it is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. It will be difficult to say goodbye but I know I will keep the memories I have made here with me forever.
Heater Robertson – Alberta, Canada
Summer Volunteer 2012