Cuyler Boughner recently brought her Girl Scout troop from Arizona to join in with our Summer Swiss Challenge 2018. She has kindly given us an account of what volunteering at Our Chalet was like when she was younger:
In my line of work, I often ask clients to share about people who’ve inspired them and experiences that have changed their lives. I believe my two stints as a volunteer at Our Chalet, and then a year as the “seasonal staff member” as well as meeting Guider-in Charge, Inge Lyck, helped shape my world view in a major way.
“In the 1970’s, volunteers at the World Centre were called ‘helpers’. The emphasis was always on helping guests have impeccable experiences. We usually had five
helpers with the same number of guests as now; we worked 24/7 and had one day off
between the twelve day sessions. Every morning we’d gather well before breakfast to
make the sandwiches and packed lunches for all the guests, supervise patrol duties
before heading out for the day’s hikes or stay home and help with cooking and
cleaning, and end the day by attending and helping with the evening programs held
every night. We also headed the tables in the big room, leading conversations and
sometimes even teaching table manners!
My love of the outdoors expanded while in Adelboden, and has informed my
entire life, as I currently lead a high adventure Girl Scout troop and personally spend as
much time as possible backpacking, hiking, skiing, etc. Specifically I acquired the
skills of leading groups on hikes in the mountains and teaching beginning skiing in the
winter, both of which I continue to do.
With a very high quality of service being the norm (“good enough” was not
acceptable!), I gained a work ethic and high standard of performance that allowed me
to excel in various jobs and instilled in me the confidence to become a summer camp
director at a young age and subsequently to start and operate my own personnel
training company for the past 30 years.
In addition, my entire life has been enhanced because of the lifelong friendships
formed those years with young women from around the world. Interestingly, many of
the women with whom I worked became professionals in education, medicine, and
social services, all continuing to contribute to societies and communities around our
Cuyler and her husband Tom on their latest trip back to Our Chalet in August 2018
Because of all that I gained personally as a young woman at Our Chalet, I’ve
continued by affiliation with it by serving on the USA Friends of Our Chalet for over 30
years, attending staff reunions, leading a leadership/team building seminar, and doing
some staff training at Our Chalet. I’ve brought four adult groups and our Girl Scout
troop to Our Chalet for hiking adventures.
As I enter my “older” years, I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had so many
years ago to attend Our Chalet as a girl, and then to volunteer and work as a staff
member. Our Chalet is indeed a “home away from home” for me, and my life would
not be as complete without my Chalet experience.
Cuyler Boughner, USA