STAFF : A Year living and working in the Alps – Mara (Finland)


For me, a few years ago, the WAGGGS World Centres were not a big thing. kelkkailuOur Chalet was a place that my sister loved and kept gushing about, a place that sounded cool and exciting but was still just a place abroad among so many others. In Finland the World Centres are not advertised very widely, for some reason, they are not every scout and guide’s life-long dream destination – in fact, I would bet the majority of the young Scouts and Guides of Finland have not even heard about Our Chalet, and that’s a shame. I, a scout since I was 6 years old, certainly had not heard about them until I was a teenager, when my sister first volunteered at Our Chalet. She fell in love with the mountains, the international guiding and scouting, everything the Chalet is. I could not quite understand her passion and enthusiasm, having never visited Switzerland or any of the World Centres. I was just happy she was happy.

Then last summer, a year after graduating from University, and three years of working for the same hotel chain, I felt like it was time to try something new. I have always wanted to live and work abroad for a while, to get different experiences and see more of the world. So when the position of Guest Services Coordinator opened up at Our Chalet, I just went ahead and applied. It was completely unplanned, unexpected and very surprising to everyone, including me. During the application process I was in a daze; am I really going to do this? But the more and more I researched Our Chalet and chatted with my sister, the more excited and ready I felt. So when I got the phone call, offering me the position in Switzerland, I was jumping with joy. I was actually going!Spring volliess

I have now spent 11 glorious months in the Alps, and I have one more month left to enjoy. Our cyclingChalet is everything I thought it would be, and so much more. It is an absolutely fantastic place to live and to work, not only because it is located in one of the most gorgeous places in the world, but because the people who come here make it so special. There are not many workplaces where you get to do things we do here, have such amazing guests, meet such wonderful people and get away with all the silly business we do. Tonight, as part of my Staff Challenge, I have put up a tent in the Spycher building’s attic with the intention of sleeping there for the night. This is a part of my Staff Challenge, and it gets me much closer to the 100 points required to complete the Challenge.

The year I have spent in the First World Centre in Switzerland has been absolutely wonderful. It has been challenging, fun, exciting, hard, emotional, educating and beautiful, and I have not regretted the decision to come here for a single day. The feeling I get when I wake up and look out to see the mountains in all their glory is incredibly peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. The friends you make here, the things you get to do, see, feel and experience are unlike anything else.20150517_182234

I travel home grateful for this year, and I know this is only a ‘’See you later’’ – not a goodbye. I will be back.

20150627_053426 Marianna Terävä – Guest Services Co-ordinator