My Swiss Experience – Isla (Canada)


It is hard to put in words the incredible experience that I’ve had at Our Chalet, but I’ll give it a try.

I have been in Guiding ever since I was 5 years old and grew up learning about WAGGGS and the World Centres, and being so inspired by the girls who would share their travel stories and wishing I could go experience everything I was being shown.

Back in 2010, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with my Ranger unit to Europe, where we spent 10 days at Our Chalet doing the summer session and then continuing on to spend some time in London at Pax Lodge. It was my first time ever travelling to Europe and being immersed in a culture completely different than my own.  Ever since returning home from that trip I had dreamed of coming back.

Fast forward to 2016 – I had recently graduated from university from a Digital Design and Development programme and while looking for an internship it was brought to my attention that Our Chalet offers a Marketing and Communications internship position (which was exactly the type of job I was looking for!) and the deadline to apply was only a few weeks away! Without even questioning anything I applied, and to my surprise, a few months later I got the good news of being selected for the Autumn 2017 season! I had about 10 months to prepare for my adventure to the Swiss Alps!

August 30th 2017- Stepping off the bus at Adelboden Oey was a surreal moment.  The best part was seeing the blue Our Chalet van and Nikki, the Deputy World Centre Manager for Operations, greeting me (I remember dragging my suitcase up the hill the last time I visited, so this was a nice treat!).

I was the last member of the Autumn 2017 team to arrive, but as soon as I went up to the attic in Spycher and met everyone, I felt immediately welcomed and it was almost like I had known them for a couple weeks already!  I don’t know what I would have done without the support, love, and laughs from the Autumn team.

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Being a Marketing and Communications Intern meant that I would spend most of my time in the office creating content for social media, editing photos, creating posters, updating flyers, and much more, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have time to explore.  I travelled around to over 10 different cities and towns in Switzerland, as well as got to join the Programme team on some hikes and day trips (I was in charge of taking all the photos during the trips!).

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I tried traditional Swiss foods I would have never thought of eating (I am a very picky eater!) and did things that I would never have dared do while at home (such as paragliding, and waking up in the early hours of the morning to hike up and see the sunrise!)

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This trip has helped me gain independence, confidence, and helped me learn a lot about myself, and about many different cultures. I have made friends for life, and made memories I will treasure forever! I am excited for the new and exciting opportunities that are to come in the future both in my personal life, and my guiding life.

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Isla McCullough (Canada), Our Chalet Marketing & Communications Intern, Autumn 2017


My Chalet Summer – Rachel (Canada)


My name is Rachel, and I am from Ontario, Canada, and I have been volunteering at Our Chalet as the Programme Intern from May – September 2017. I applied for this position as I love the outdoors and nature, and was looking for a way to give back to Guiding, while experiencing life in a different part of the world. While volunteering at Our Chalet, I had the opportunity to experience and try many new things. While on programme, I went to the Adventure Park where I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped off a bridge to abseil, and had the chance to try climbing on an outdoor rock wall. We explored towns, learned how chocolate is made (and how tasty it is!), and did lots of hiking, including an overnight hike to see the sunrise from the top of Bunderspitz.


In my time off, I spent a lot of time hiking. I loved how easy it was to just walk outside and go hiking around Adelboden; there are so many different routes and mountains from which to choose! Although sometimes hiking all day can be tiring, the view and sense of accomplishment I felt once I reached the top always made the hike worthwhile for me. While in Switzerland I also tried, for the very first time, a Klettersteig or Via Ferrata climbing route. These routes require you to wear a harness and helmet, and allow you to climb up a mountain while clipped into a fixed line. The first Klettersteig I did was with the programme staff on one of our days off together on Engstligen. This was a great introduction for me to this type of climbing, and I enjoyed it a lot. We even saw a very large patch of wild Edelweiss near the top of the trail!

Rachel PRI 5

After this successful climb, the program team and I decided we wanted more of a challenge, and went to the Klettersteig in Kandersteg, the next valley over, on Allemenalp. This Klettersteig was significantly longer and more challenging than the first we had attempted. There were rebar steps in the rock face, wire bridges, and ladders – even a spiral ladder. The views from this trail were spectacular, although I did feel like I was focusing on the climb so much in some areas to properly appreciate the view! Of all the things I did while I was in Switzerland, I think this Klettersteig was the most challenging, but I have to say I felt very accomplished after having reached the top.

Rachel PRI 2

After having spent four months in the Swiss Alps, I have a new appreciation for the importance of spending time outdoors in nature and being active. Although I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, I haven’t made spending time outdoors a priority as much in recent years. When I return home, I will bring back with me my enthusiasm for hiking and the outdoors and explore some new parts of Canada with friends, family, and Guiding groups.


Rachel DeJong (Canada) – Our Chalet Programme Intern 2017


The best months of my life – Louise (UK)


Two months ago, I arrived fresh-faced and excited to be at Our Chalet. It was the start of the most fulfilling, life changing experiences I have ever had: being an Autumn Assistant at Our Chalet.

The first two weeks were spent in training, and I’ve never learnt so much in such a short period of time! As an Autumn Assistant, our days are split up into programme services and guest services. In programme service training, we learnt how to take guests on hikes, give tours to visitors, lead songs around the campfire and so much more. Guest service training can seem more mundane at first… toilet cleaning, cooking dinner and folding laundry are just some of the daily tasks that we have to make sure are completed. However, as me and the rest of the Autumn team scrubbed toilets and folded towels together, I learnt what a great team I was surrounded by. I made friends for life during those first few weeks, living together in a small attic space and working together for upwards of fourteen hours a day, sharing each others successes as well as homesick tears.

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At the end of our two weeks training, the Summer Assistants finished their season, and, as if the mountains knew a change of seasonal staff was underway, the weather suddenly got colder and the first snow landed. At campfire on our final night of training, we received our staff neckerchiefs. Standing in front of the embers of the fire, I turned and shared a grin with my fellow Autumn Assistant, Marina, and I couldn’t help but think of the history and friendship that surrounded me. I’m lucky enough to be at Our Chalet during the 85th birthday celebrations, and 85 years of guiding and scouting friendship, laughter and love is something I am always thinking about high up on our mountain, and never more so than during that campfire, with my newly earned scarf around my neck.

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The weeks since our training finished and our season started have been just as much of a whirlwind! I’ve done things I never thought I would; I took a gondola to Engstligen and the weather made it seem like we were in the clouds. I’ve held a tea party in Baby Chalet, just like Helen Storrow did, cooking traditional Cornish foods and teaching all the staff about my Cornish culture. I’ve slept on Falk’s bed, taken too many day trips to count, had a party with around two dozen staff members in one of our tents (it was a squeeze!) and tried traditional Swiss dishes. Not only have I learnt more about the WAGGGS programme and the history of guiding and scouting, but I have also tried so many exciting and challenging new things, I’ve learnt so much about myself as well.

As cliche as it sounds, over the past few months, I’ve have been able to see myself change more as a person than I have done in years. I can see it in the way I hold myself a little taller, talk to guests with more confidence and catch myself smiling at the simple parts of chalet life (whether that is a shared joke with the other Autumn Assistants whilst cooking dinner or sitting alone underneath the stars with a cup of tea, after a long working day).

We had a twilight hike to Bonderfalls during our training, and as the sun set I can remember looking over the Adelboden valley. Sarah, the Deputy World Centre Manager for Programme came over to me and I told her how didn’t think I was ever going to get used to living somewhere as magical as Our Chalet. She told me that when she first arrived, someone had spoken to her and said that there’s just ‘something in the air’ in this part of the world. I couldn’t agree more. I have one month left living at Our Chalet, and I can’t wait to see how much I continue to grow as a person.


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Louise (Lowie) Trevena (UK) – Our Chalet Autumn Assistant 2017