STAFF: Rising to the Challenge – Danielle (UK)

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Whilst I’m a Winter vollie I’m completing the Our Chalet staff challenge – and one of the challenges is to write a blog for the website. I thought it would be good to explain what I have done so far for my challenge and the activities I plan to complete.  To earn your Staff Challenge badge you need 80 points from a number of different challenges; each is worth a different number of points from 1 to 5.

IMG_1574 The coldest challenge was standing knee-high in a river for 5 seconds – it was freezing!  There must be something about Our Chalet and water – as I also climbed the fountain in town for a photo. The craziest so far has been tobogganing from the top of Hohliebeweg at night – but it was lots of fun!  I think the strangest has been climbing around one of the dining room tables.  You start on the top of the table, climb underneath and then back on to the top or you can start underneath the table and complete the challenge in reverse. After a lot of advice on where to hold onto and where to put my feet I managed to complete the challenge.

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On a more practical note, I cleaned the staff house, cooked fajitas for dinner for 16 people by myself and have also made tiffin (a traditional dish from the UK) and cooked two traditional Swiss dishes of rosti and Alpine macaroni. I visited the recycling centre and can explain the process of what happens at the centre and jumped on the rubbish in the big silver bin. I have developed my Guiding knowledge too – making a poster explaining the current work of WAGGGS and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and my knotting skills by making a pioneering structure (a washing up stand) using 4 different knots and lashings. I am now able to light a campfire using natural materials and only one match. Writing a blog for the website is a first too.

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I have enjoyed getting out and about – I made a wish at the magic tree and taken a day trip to Kandersteg to visit the Scout centre with Rachael.  I’ve completed 5 fun things on my days off;  skiing, sledging, visiting other towns and cities such as Thun, geocaching and completing parts of my staff challenge. Adelboden has a large ski resort and I have had the opportunity to ski a number of blue, red and black runs on my days off. I have hiked to town and back on my own at midnight.

Some other challenges I’ve completed include:  singing  “Happy Birthday” in 3 languages including Spanish, French and Faroese,  learning a fact about Switzerland (, the Swiss didn’t want to use ‘danke’ as ‘thank you’ to prove they weren’t German, but they sounded French when using ‘merci’ so they added ‘vilmal’, a Swiss-German ending to say ‘thank you very much’) and completing 20 press ups and 20 sit ups. I am now able to explain what 5 Swiss hiking/ski signs mean, including the different types (walking trails, snow shoe trails and cross country skiing trails) and the difficulty (hiking, mountain and alpine). I have learnt 10 Swiss German words and read a historical Guiding book called ‘How the Girl Guides won the war’. I enjoyed getting to drive Boris the snow plough! I also introduced the other staff to armpit fudge which is one of my favourite camp activities!

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A challenge I still need to complete is to, make a presentation about my season as a vollie at Our Chalet, so that I can show my Rainbows what I have been up to over the past 3 months.

And finally, I have created two personal challenges, choosing to learn 100 Spanish words with the help of Ana – and I still need to master this one! As well as walking down and back up the Chalet hill every day in February!

By the time I’ve completed these, thanks to Our Chalet, I really will have challenged myself at many different levels.

Danielle McIver
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2014-15

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One thought on “STAFF: Rising to the Challenge – Danielle (UK)

  1. Wow! You have completed a lot since you’ve been there. Looks like you had some fun also. As a former Girl Scout (7 years)and Girl Scout leader (11 years), I can’t tell you how much doing all this will affect you in later life…but all that learning will make a huge difference. It did in my life and I didn’t do as many of the things you are doing. Congratulations on your first blog post.

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