An Experience of a Lifetime – Hazel (Zimbabwe)



When I was asked to write a small blog about my experience so far I was stumped. How could I possibly fit all my unbelievable experiences into 500 words? After some thought it came down to this: it’s been a ROLLERCOASTER! The type of ride which you wish would never end even if you get a bit woozy at times. With the twists, the turns and the lows also comes the peaks which make it all worthwhile. With only a few months to go, time is ticking by and I am faced with mixed feeling of wanting to go home and wanting to stay here forever.



How it began

I was just a simple Zimbabwean girl who lived in the city and who didn’t know much about Europe except from what I had seen in the movies and on TV. I never thought I would experience living in a snowy European country or even imagined I would survive under -5°c in my life. However, I made a special application to volunteer at Our Chalet World Center as the Guest Services Intern and was accepted and that’s how my journey to Switzerland began.

This was going to be my new life for 3 months starting on 5th December 2017. When I arrived at Geneva Airport I could not believe that I had finally made it to Europe. I travelled by train for the first time in my life from Geneva to Our Chalet and on my journey I was thinking of my new life ahead.


An unbelievable experience

Our Chalet has given me an unbelievable experience that has been life changing in all the right ways.  I was welcomed by snow and to be honest my mind was blown as it is exactly how I imagined it – magical! I got to build my first snowman, wear my first snowshoes and I got to skate on ice which is something I would never get to do in Africa. My winter experience as an Intern has been amazing with new friends and welcoming staff at Our Chalet which in a few months has become more like a family to me.


The true Our Chalet experience

My experience at Our Chalet has helped me grow as I become more independent, confident and push myself outside of my comfort zone. Leaving my family and friends for Christmas was the hardest part, while the best part has been making new friends and experiencing Christmas in the Swiss Alps in the cosy comfort of the soft wooden Chalet buildings. I also love meeting other volunteers from other countries and instantly bonding with them over our shared experiences.

Hazel C. Zaranyika, Guest Services Intern 2017/2018


My First White Winter – Sally (Australia)


sally 2

Snow falls like icing sugar, delicately coating the Alps, trees, ground, houses and every surface it touches. The cool air brushes against my cheeks, filling my soul with warmth as I make my way on a new adventure. The sheer beauty of the Alps enthralls your being in its presence, nestled at the base is where one gets to call home, and my oh my home it has been. Greeted with open arms; generosity and kindness overflowed from within the Chalet. After a bittersweet goodbye to India, a quick adventure in ‘the land of fire and ice’ – Iceland -, I found myself here in Switzerland.

They warned me of the weather, and amidst my prior concerns of drowning in the snow, one cannot fathom a winter without it now.  From ice chipping the paths around the Chalet, to sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, making snow angels and merely sitting in the depths of snow to one of my personal favourites eating snow, I have been provided with so many incredible opportunities and to live through my first white winter has been a sheer dream.


The first few weeks of the season began with training and what fun this was. We did many different things including hiking, learning about how to maintain the Chalet and the WAGGGS programmes such as Stop the Violence. As the weeks progressed, Christmas rolled round before us and our first event was kick started with Christmas in the Alps. The group, although small, made it a pleasure for us to cater for them. With the taste of our first event, our New Year’s guests came to start their programme, which saw us cater for our biggest group yet! I really enjoy interacting with guests as there is so much to learn from them. Since most of them are from different corners of the earth and all walks of life it’s interesting to converse with each other, hearing their guiding stories and the adventures life has taken them on.

Overall, my experience so far has been life changing, I have grown in ways I didn’t know were possible and my confidence has increased. Living here in a winter wonderland at Our Chalet is an incredible opportunity and working with such a diverse team is a dream… I am already dreading my goodbye.

photos for sally blog

Sally Groffman, Winter Volunteer – Our Chalet 2017/2018

Rover Week Participants 2018



Rover Week 2018 was without a doubt one of the best weeks that I will have had in my life. I’m not from the WAGGGS community, I’m from WOSM (World Organisation of the Scout Movement) and so I was really surprised that Our Chalet helped me with a scholarship and admitted me on the event.

WAGGGS really is “A world of possibilities” and Our Chalet lives up to that statement too.

During my week at Our Chalet, I got to know a lot about the history of WAGGGS and especially a lot about the beautiful history of Our Chalet. Not all the planned programme activities could go ahead due to bad weather, however I was amazed at how the Our Chalet staff tackled this situation by giving us a variety of other activities to do instead. The Our Chalet staff went far beyond expectations.


The Guides and people I met from other countries helped me learn a lot about their cultures and their perspectives about life. I’m very glad they were open and shared stories, songs, jokes and adventures with me.

The Chalet itself is a very warm, clean, organized and interesting place. The walls are full of history and every room has its own touch. In addition to that, the views you get of the surrounding nature are amazing. It’s a place where I would like to live one day.

I strongly recommend that every Guide and Scout from around the world experiences this amazing place and if you want to get more insights from anyone involved in Scouting that has been there, you can email Our Chalet or even me.

Thanks for everything Our Chalet, it was amazing!


Daniel Eduardo Pedraza Sepúlveda, Scouts of Mexico


Dear Guiding Community,

Firstly, I would like to thank the Our Chalet Staff and all the people who have made donations and granted me the opportunity to have this experience. I had an amazing week during my stay, even though we did not get to do all the activities planned for Rover Week 2018, because it was raining and there was not enough snow for it. I am grateful that you all keep finding different activities for us to do.

The day I enjoyed the most was the opening ceremony and the hike to the Enstligenalp, where we had a BBQ in the snow, visited an igloo and went snow tubing. It was a beautiful day and we got to play in the snow and see the wonderful landscapes with the mountains covered in snow.

In addition to this, I had the opportunity to make new international friends and learn more about their cultures and their traditions. They will always be in my heart and I hope to get to see them again soon.


Ana Lucía Garza García, Guides of Mexico