For the past three months I have been a Summer Volunteer at Our Chalet, and I have lived an amazing chalet life! Every day from sunrise to sunset I have been surrounded by a group of my newest friends, and while that can be tiring, it’s always fun.
When I was getting ready to come here to Our Chalet, I was so excited to meet new people and go out on adventures. When I arrived, it was a whirlwind of training, hiking, and cleaning. Never in my life I have I ever walked so far or cleaned so many toilets! As us volunteers like to call it, it was “type 2 fun.” In the moment your feet are tired, you’re tired, and you still have to climb the Chalet hill. But after you put your feet up, you look back and realize that you had fun.
Between running programs and hiking on off days, you get caught up in the day to day activities. Soon you’re halfway through the season and you still have a million things you still want to do. So after spending a summer here, I have a couple tips for future volunteers.
1) Make a list of everything you want to do before you come here. There are loads of fun activities, hikes and trips you can do. By making a list you have a rough outline of how you want to spend your time here.
2) When you arrive, revise this list! When you have been here for about a week you will learn how you want to spend your time, and learn about all the opportunities that are available at Our Chalet.
3) Accept early on that you will be tired, a lot. Take care of yourself and drink water!
4) Once you’ve accepted that you are tired, make sure to use your off days! They are limited, even if you are here for a while.
5) Clean up the staff house. When there are 10 plus people living in a house together, it gets dirty faster than you can imagine.
6) You will have to clean in the kitchen after dinner at some point. If you learn how to do it efficiently and quickly then you will save a lot of time.
7) Read the letters around the staff house. They will teach you life lessons and how to best enjoy Our Chalet!
8) The weather changes super quickly in the mountains. Be prepared for all seasons!
9) Work on your Staff Challenge early and get activities signed off as soon as possible.
10) Take lots of photos and videos! Your time will fly by and you will forget about the little moments you share with others. Don’t lose those memories.
These are 10 tips that can help your season to go smoothly. However, the best advice is to speak to former volunteers and long term staff. Our Chalet is a huge family that wants to support and help each other have the best season possible. Talk to each other and form relationships that you can count on. Living with your co-workers is incredible and intense, so help each other and stay positive; that’s the key to having a great season!
Nora, USA – Our Chalet Assistant Summer 2018