What can I say about my autumn at Our Chalet? I’ve watched the seasons change from summer to almost winter and experienced this beautiful place through all types of weather. I’m pleased I packed shorts as well as my down-jacket!
It’s been fantastic and if anyone is thinking of coming to volunteer here definitely do it!I came to Our Chalet to learn about myself and I’ve done this and so much more! Being at the chalet has opened my eyes to world Guiding. I think it is so easy to get stuck in what your own unit is doing that you forget you belong to a worldwide organisation which is over 100 years old.Whilst being here I have found out so much about the WAGGGS campaigns and MDGs. I have found that a lot of things that I am passionate about or that I believe is wrong in the world is something that WAGGGS and its members around the world are working to change.
This has made me determined to go back to my units and get them passionate about being the change they want to see in the world.
Through reading historical guiding books by Olave Baden-Powell and others, learning about the history of the chalet and meeting former staff I have really started to feel part of the great history of Guiding and Scouting.
You would be amazed by what some of those early Scouts and Guides achieved, especially through the hardships of two world wars.
I’ve learnt a lot about cultures and Guiding different to my own, from our guests, other staff but mostly from the other volunteers. For example – did you know that in Australia Santa’s sledge is pulled by six white kangaroos and he wears a vest and flip-flops? Did you know that someone can be twenty-four in chronological age but twenty-six in Korean age?
I’m very pleased to have been able to develop my leadership skills. This happened in many forms, from leading a large group of Trefoil Guild on a hike, to crazy evening programmes, to teaching 10 adults how to make and light a fire the traditional Swiss way (with one piece of wood, a knife and one match. I only learnt this ten minutes before I taught them!), to coordinating the vollies in the kitchen and leading campfire singing.
I also had the privilege of teaching people who had never seen snow, how to sledge, make snow angels and a snowman. (Well actually she was more of a snow granny!)
Now as I’m about to leave the chalet, I take with me friends and memories for life and I’m happy in the knowledge that this is only the start of my Our Chalet story…well, I did make a wish at the magic tree after-all…..
It’s not been all personal revelations!
I’ve had a lot of fun too; hiking up Bunderspitz to watch the sunrise from the top, cycling from Adelboden to Frutigen, zooming along zip-wires in the adventure park, taking one of the other vollies to do her first klettersteig (a mixture of rock climbing and hiking), visiting other places in Switzerland, learning how to dance South Korean style, winning the Sangam cup, making a video for International Day of the Girl, discovering geocaching and not forgetting trying to complete my staff challenge!
Helen Davis (UK)
Autumn Volunteer 2013