Journey from Visitor to Volunteer – Kalia (Mexico)

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Kalia is a current Spring Volunteer at Our Chalet and has shared her World Centre journey from visitor to volunteer.

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STAFF: International Day of Happiness – Bethanie (UK)

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Friday 20th March is International day of Happiness, a day dedicated by the UN to improving and celebrating people’s happiness globally. So we decided to make the day as happy as possible. We started off with chocolate in Morning Meeting (which makes everything better), listened to ‘happy music’ while washing up in the kitchen, and in the afternoon, we had a workshop led by Victoria (the marketing and communication intern) about happiness. We learnt about the ‘Action for Happiness Campaign’ which is a movement which “helps people take practical action to improve mental well being and to create a happier and more caring society.” They have some key points on how to lead a happier life, and we did activities to learn about each one.

10 Keys to Happier Living (and how we can achieve them at the Chalet and in real life)

    • Giving – doing things for others makes us happy! Whether it’s making your friend a birthday cake, or even just helping somebody carry laundry upstairs, even the smallest things count!
    • Relating – spend time with people. Sit with guests at dinner, or have evening chats with your friends that last long into the night.Social isolation causes as many early deaths as smoking. And the loneliness epidemic is twice as deadly as obesity!
    • Exercising – Walk the chalet hill every time you need something from town. Climb mountains, splash in a river, ski, sledge, dance!

    • Appreciating – Take some time out of your day to look at nature. It’s easier for me, living in the mountains, but even if you live in the city, take the time to count the spots on a ladybird, the petals on a buttercup. Notice the world you live in – it’s beautiful.
    • Trying out – even if you’ve left school, keep learning new things! I skied my first ever blue run, which was the most terrifying thing ever. I’m attempting to communicate in Swiss German more, and I learned that if you want to make egg mayo salad, you most defiantly do not try to microwave eggs!

      (Editors note: Bethanie was attempting to make an egg mayo by making scrambled eggs, here it sounds like she meant microwaving whole eggs in case you were concerned…)

  • Direction  – This one is about looking forward to things. It’s great to live in the moment, but by thinking about what you want in life, you feel more secure and have a greater sense of purpose. For example, I sorted my student finance, and have been thinking more about university, and what I might want to do after.
  • Resilience – Life is hard – it can be stressful and sometimes all you want to do is stay in bed. But finding ways to cope can really improve your happiness. Talking to people, going for walks, keeping a diary, cuddling a kitten.
  • Emotion – Trying to be optimistic, and letting yourself feel positive emotions has been shown to have long term effects on your health. If somebody compliments you – accept it. Don’t try to brush it off or make yourself seem bad. Feel proud of yourself, because you’re an amazing person!
  • Acceptance – In society, and especially at school, we are always told to better ourselves. Get an A*? Resit for 100% Have a really good work out at the gym? You’ll do faster, higher, stronger next time. And although it is really good to want to push ourselves, at some point you have to be happy with who you are! Be kind to yourself, don’t dwell on your faults and accept yourself!
  • Meaning – Being part of something bigger is great for making you feel less alone. I’m part of WAGGGS, I’m also part of the church, but any organisation counts. Join a charity or a club!

If you want to find out more about the action for happiness campaign, and how we can be more happy check out the website. There’s also some good advice if you’re struggling to be happy for whatever reason…

http://www.actionforhappiness.org/

Don’t forget to look at Bethanie’s own blog

Bethanie Pelloquin
Our Chalet Assistant – Spring 2015

STAFF: Ballad of a Vollie – Rachael (UK)

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Hi blog readers. I’m Rachael, I’m from the UK and I’m here for the winter season as a volunteer. Life as a vollie is varied and challenging, with different things happening every day. I’ve written this poem to give people interested an idea of what we do on a day to day basis.

Sarah Mel Rachael SWC

Sarah, Mel and Rachael at the Ski World Cup

A Day as a Vollie

My alarm goes off at 7 o’clock
I wake up my roomies with a quick knock knock
I shower and put on my uniform necker and hoodie
And say farewell for the day to our staff house Stockli

As vollies our days are rarely the same
If we’re on programme there can be a hike, onsite day or game
Off to the woodcarvers, sledging or even bbq in the snow
Our guests can also give skiing or snowboarding a go

For those on guest services breakfast helps our visitors to start their day
To get it ready in time we put coffee on straight away
A full stomach and caffeine boost is good for our guests
To allow them to enjoy their day of activities to the best

As our guests leave for activities we put things back on the shelves
Next up is morning meeting where we discover today’s plan for ourselves
Sometimes we play games or have a laugh
But mostly it’s a chance to discuss things with all staff

The vollie on duty shares out all jobs and tasks
Whether it’s shovelling snow or finding ski masks
We spend a fair amount of time in the laundry room
Or sweeping the floor with our trusty broom

Cleaning is a well planned task we all do our share of
It can be hard work but it’s a labour of love
There’s red cloths and cleaner for those cleaning the loo
But for everything else the gloves are yellow and the cleaner is blue

It’s very important to clean rooms and make beds
Because it gives our guests and good impression and somewhere to rest their heads
There’s sheets, duvet covers, towels and pillows
We also dust and clean mirrors and windows

It’s our job to prepare lunch for everyone else who working
Usually it’s left-overs or treats that are lurking
We all sit together and discuss our day so far
Or talk about things that to others seem quite bizarre

After lunch we usually have two hours of break time
Where we complete staff challenges like writing poems that barely rhyme
There’s always a chance to play with our cat Skippy
Or if it’s snowed enough we can sledge – yippee!

We prepare dinner which is often an authentic swiss meal
There’s salad to make, meat to cook and veg to peel
We put all the plates, glasses and food in their place
And our guests start the meal by singing a grace

After dinner we may run a campfire with songs or chants
Or an international evening with a variety of stories and dance
Everyone loves a chance to swap badges and pins
Or a games night of challenges where only one team wins

Every day at the Chalet is different and it’s a very special place to be
For 3 months it’s home for the rest of the vollies and me
It can be a challenge but it’s always a laugh
So why haven’t you applied to join our team of staff?

Rachael (UK)
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2014-2015