The guests at Our Chalet have the opportunity to earn the Our Chalet Guest Challenge, which includes elements such as going on a hike, learning the history of the Chalet, and talking to a Swiss person. The staff and volunteers, who are here for considerably longer, have the Our Chalet Staff Challenge. This rather zany tradition involves earning a total of 80 points, each item being worth between one and five points. I’m writing here to document my efforts so far to earn the Staff Challenge.
(Full disclosure: I’m also getting points for writing this blog post [Write a blog (600 words) for the Our Chalet website, 3 points.] )
Sleep outside overnight in a bivouac that you made yourself, 3 points: Tarp, rope, and a dozen rocks served me as a shelter, set up on the front lawn of Main Chalet. It held up nicely to the wind, but I am honestly a little glad I didn’t have to test it against the rain.
Prepare a traditional dish from your own country, 2 points: What is a traditional dish from the United States? Hamburgers? Apple pie? I was flummoxed. Finally I realized that the Europeans around me had no idea what cornbread was, so I made honey cornmeal muffins.
Perform a play in costume for the Staff, 3 points: Rachel and I had a grand time, raiding the costume cupboard and putting on a skit at campfire.
Make an outdoor picnic for the staff, 3 points: When the 4th of July came around, we had a outside lunch, complete with hamburgers. I put up a giant obnoxious American flag.
Hike 3 mountains (at least 6000 metres in total), 5 points: During training, we all hiked most of the way up Bunderspitz, before being stopped by snow. That counted to about 2400 meters. I hiked Schwändflspitz (2026 meters) on a day off by myself, and Tschingellochtighorn (2735 meters) with other staff on another day off. So that comes to total of 7161 meters, well above what I needed.
Take an overnight trip somewhere in Switzerland by yourself, 3 points: I modified this to somewhere in Europe, because I really wanted to visit Italy. I had three days off and traveled to Florence. The buildings were amazing, the weather was scorching, my hostel was an old convent, and the people-watching was first class. Nerd that I am, I avoided all art museums but went to the Galileo Museum, which includes lots of old scientific and mathematical devices, as well as two of Galileo’s preserved fingers.
As of today, I have earned 60 out of 80 points. Other tasks completed, such as Light a fire with only natural items and one match, 3 points; Learn a fact about Switzerland no on else knows, 1 points; and Read one historical Guiding or Scout book, 3 points have contributed to this total. Here is how I’m going to finish my challenge.
Camp overnight in a tent somewhere not on Our Chalet grounds, 5 points; Hike to Kandersteg (one-way), 5 points; Experience a sun/moonrise or sunset from the top of a mountain, 4 points; Try a new sport or activity you have never done before, 4 points: Hopefully I will do all of the this within 48 hours. The grand plan involves camping on a mountain, hiking over a pass, staying at the neighbouring Kandersteg International Scout Centre, and sliding down an alpine slide. If I can pull this off (and get the points from this blog post) I will have completed my challenge. (Editor says she’s happy to sign for the blog).
What do I get for finishing this challenge? Well, besides External Glory and Everlasting Satisfaction, I get a patch. Patches are the real reason I do things in Girl Scouts. (Editor update : Patch achieved).
Audrey Spaeth (USA) – Our Chalet Assistant Summer 2017