STAFF: Living something better than a dream! – Molly (UK)


Guiding has always a big part of my life and continues to be so.
Both my Grandma and my Mum were keen Guides and encouraged me to join the Guiding family at a young age. I can’t thank them enough as my life has been completely enriched by the opportunities I have been given and embraced.


Having decided to take a gap year between completing my A levels (exams in the UK which enable you to go to the University) and going to University I spent a very happy 6 weeks at the Sangam World Centre participating in the Community Programme in Pune, India and then to my great surprise was offered a chance to be part of the  Spring volunteer team at Our Chalet here in Adelboden, Switzerland.
Both opportunities have opened my eyes to such different cultures and made me realize how fascinating the world is and how truly interesting are the people who live in it.

Before arriving here, I could never have imagined what an amazing time I would have. I have made new friends with unique individuals from all over the world, each bringing their own culture and experiences to Our Chalet. Friends I will really cherish for ever.

We really are a true family, always laughing, joking and supporting each other through the more challenging times. It is certainly a special feeling to know that we are living together under one roof, getting to know each other and together creating new memories which will remain with us always.

I am very proud to say I can now set a bed in 2 minutes, clean bathrooms in double quick time and cook food other than boiled eggs!

All my hopes have been exceeded by simply ‘living in the moment’ and taking on a variety of personal challenges from learning how to ski and walking down and up the hill every day!

I am now staying on as a summer volunteer which is extra special and will enable me to make the most of the fun of the summer season. I am certainly looking forward to the exciting activities on offer, such as abseiling, hiking, adventure park and swimming in an Alpine lake. I am planning to go paragliding for my birthday whilst I am here and can’t wait to have a go at the white water rafting.

I have recently enjoyed reading the diary of The Chief Guide, Lady Baden-Powell, who describes Adelboden so perfectly…

‘The sun was just up and I looked out from my bedroom window over the scattered roofs of the little houses of this mountain village to the valley below. The high mountain peaks opposite were aglow with light and wreaths of mist were wafting away across the face of the slopes…it was all so peaceful, so homely and so lovely’. – Lady Baden Powell

Her choice of words couldn’t be more accurate as the picturesque scenery and snow covered mountain tops are just as beautiful today as they were during her visit. Our Chalet is truly an incredible place to spend time, no matter how old or how young you happen to be.

I am so grateful to everybody for giving me such life enriching opportunities and experiences I shall remember forever. Each day I ask myself how can this possibly get any better and it does!

My motto is now ‘Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile’.

Our Chalet has given me the chance to do all these things and more. Every person I have met here has shown me something new, true friendship and kindness, leaving an impact on me and helping to shape my future life.

Molly Braham – Spring and Summer Volunteer




STAFF: How to… start a fire with 1 match!  (Chalet style) – Catherine (UK)


Using this technique, you can start a roaring campfire using just a piece of wood, a knife and a single match. At Our Chalet we use the Swiss Scout method to make kindling by carving feathering (very thin curls of wood)  and smaller strips of wood.

You will need:

A section of wood (¼ of a log usually works well)

Knife (preferably sharp)

Tree stump/ other suitable cutting surface

Extra piece of wood  (preferably fairly thick but still easy to hold)

1 match

Campfire circle

Plenty of sticks/logs for burning

Bucket of water/snow (because as great as fire is, it’s good to be safe)

First thing’s first, you need to make some feathering

With the blade facing downwards, glide the knife along the corner of the wood (try not to use too much pressure)

slide knife down wood

It should start to look something like this:

beginnings of shavings

Which after bit more feathering (and practice!) should look like this:

lots of shavings

Then, dig the knife in a little to cut off the feathering (you might want to use the extra piece of wood to hit back of the knife)

cut off shavings with help of stick

You should then have a nice piece of feathering

piece of fethering

You will need lots of these pieces, as they are the most helpful in starting the fire.

Next, you will need some thin strips of wood

Place knife at a slight angle on top of the wood. (ensure you use the section of the blade that’s nearest to the handle, as this area is the  easiest to control)

position knife

With the thicker piece of wood, tap the back of the knife several times (you may need some force), to slide the knife through the wood so that the wood splits.

use bigger stick to hit knife

wood will split

You should now have a thinner section of wood.

Use the same technique repeatedly to make many wood strips of different thicknesses.

make sure you have a range of wood sizes

Arranging the kindling

Place many pieces of feathering in the middle of your campfire circle

lots of shavings

Arrange 3 medium sized pieces of wood over the feathering

arraning wood on shavings

Place the thinnest wood strips against the 3 main pieces.

Add the slightly thicker pieces of wood, so that you build a small tepee-like structure

what it should look like

Keep the rest of your wood close to hand so you can add it as the fire grows (it’s helpful if it’s in size order)

Now it’s time to strike your 1 match! (once lit, shelter from the wind)

1 match!

Light the feathering by holding the match underneath the curls of wood, (if you can, light more than one area of the feathering)

With any luck, the feathering should smoulder and the thin pieces of wood should start to catch alight

As the first bits of kindling burn, add thicker pieces to build up the fire

should catch on fairly quickly


Start to add thicker sticks to continue to grow the fire, until it’s large enough for cooking, warmth and of course roasting marshmallows


Putting out the fire

Spread out pieces of wood

Pour water (or snow) over the fire until all flames and embers are extinguished 


Happy campfire making!

Catherine Rose, Spring Volunteer 2014

Our Chalet