STAFF: “Guiding is not just escape, something like a holiday” – MK (CA)

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You need to come here. Simply put, you need to visit Our Chalet at some point in your life. Put it on your bucket list. Come as an individual, or come as a Group. Bring your best friends or the Guides and Scouts you work with. But come.

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Before I came to volunteer at Our Chalet, I was a student; I had finished my Masters degree and was searching for a change. In grade three I can distinctly remember declaring to my friends that I was saving every penny for a trip to Europe. Well, I did save all of it, but the summer I turned 18 came and went, and it wasn’t practical to travel. Seven years later, with two degrees, I still didn’t feel satisfied. It turns out seven years of trying to turn into an adult, with a major death in the family, a major break up, and being at a complete loss of what I wanted to do with my life, I was due for a quarter life crisis.

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Luckily, I jokingly say I am spending my quarter life crisis as a Spring Vollie at Our Chalet. In the 20 days of travelling before I arrived at Our Chalet with a best friend, I realized I was running away from my problems. But, as I stood in the Horseshoe at Opening Ceremony and a quote from Ida Von Herrenschwand was read “ No. Guiding is not just escape, something like a holiday.“ a little voice in my head wondered what I was in for. Little did I know, you can’t run from those things, they catch up to you, in this case they caught up to me in this beautiful corner of the world.

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The irony doesn’t escape me that many of the things that I needed to improve on, things I was running from, whether bad habits from relationships or poor life skills, I seem to be tackling head on. That lazy person in the relationship, who wouldn’t cook, clean or do her own laundry? That was me. But now I can cook for 80+, clean like a machine and do what seems an endless amount of laundry every day. And you know what? I don’t mind at all. In fact I take great pride in my hard work. That person who was broken down from years of wondering about her self-worth and required constant affirmation from others? Again that was me. But now I can look in the mirror, or climb the Chalet hill, or hike from Adelboden to Thun (46 km!) and realize I am worth something, and I don’t need someone else to tell me that. I do deserve love, I do deserve happiness and its up to me to find it. But I do owe thanks to the people around me, both staff and guests that affirm those things and support us Vollies. In turn I make sure they receive the same validation and respect as well.

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Our Chalet is truly the perfect combination of peace for your soul and adventure. It is a place to admire the beauty of nature, but also push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It is a place to explore yourself, break yourself down, and build yourself up into a better person. This isn’t just a holiday. Visiting Our Chalet is what you make of it, and I hope you do come. I hope on your mountain hike you bask in the glory of this beautiful world and realize you are beautiful too. I hope as you explore another culture you realize the uniqueness of your own. I hope as you challenge yourself physically and mentally you realize how special you are, how valuable our world is, and how important your story is.

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Seriously, you need to come here.

Melissa ‘MK’ Kohlman
Our Chalet Assistant – Spring 2015

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