BEING A VOLUNTEER – Maddy (Australia)

Standard

With less than 2 weeks before we reach the end of our Spring volunteer season, I can’t help but feel sad that my time here is almost over.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Hailey’s World Centres Story (USA)

Standard
Hello Everyone! IMG_7191
My name is Hailey and I am from the United States. I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelors Degree in Community Planning. Currently, I am a 2017 Spring Volunteer at Our Chalet and come the end of May, I will be moving to Sangam to be a Long Term Monsoon Season Volunteer.

Continue reading

STAFF: International Day of Happiness – Bethanie (UK)

Standard

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: Living something better than a dream! – Molly (UK)

Standard

Guiding has always a big part of my life and continues to be so.
Both my Grandma and my Mum were keen Guides and encouraged me to join the Guiding family at a young age. I can’t thank them enough as my life has been completely enriched by the opportunities I have been given and embraced.

IMG_6947

Having decided to take a gap year between completing my A levels (exams in the UK which enable you to go to the University) and going to University I spent a very happy 6 weeks at the Sangam World Centre participating in the Community Programme in Pune, India and then to my great surprise was offered a chance to be part of the  Spring volunteer team at Our Chalet here in Adelboden, Switzerland.
Both opportunities have opened my eyes to such different cultures and made me realize how fascinating the world is and how truly interesting are the people who live in it.

Before arriving here, I could never have imagined what an amazing time I would have. I have made new friends with unique individuals from all over the world, each bringing their own culture and experiences to Our Chalet. Friends I will really cherish for ever.

We really are a true family, always laughing, joking and supporting each other through the more challenging times. It is certainly a special feeling to know that we are living together under one roof, getting to know each other and together creating new memories which will remain with us always.


IMG_7046
I am very proud to say I can now set a bed in 2 minutes, clean bathrooms in double quick time and cook food other than boiled eggs!

All my hopes have been exceeded by simply ‘living in the moment’ and taking on a variety of personal challenges from learning how to ski and walking down and up the hill every day!

I am now staying on as a summer volunteer which is extra special and will enable me to make the most of the fun of the summer season. I am certainly looking forward to the exciting activities on offer, such as abseiling, hiking, adventure park and swimming in an Alpine lake. I am planning to go paragliding for my birthday whilst I am here and can’t wait to have a go at the white water rafting.

I have recently enjoyed reading the diary of The Chief Guide, Lady Baden-Powell, who describes Adelboden so perfectly…

‘The sun was just up and I looked out from my bedroom window over the scattered roofs of the little houses of this mountain village to the valley below. The high mountain peaks opposite were aglow with light and wreaths of mist were wafting away across the face of the slopes…it was all so peaceful, so homely and so lovely’. – Lady Baden Powell

IMG_8899
Her choice of words couldn’t be more accurate as the picturesque scenery and snow covered mountain tops are just as beautiful today as they were during her visit. Our Chalet is truly an incredible place to spend time, no matter how old or how young you happen to be.

I am so grateful to everybody for giving me such life enriching opportunities and experiences I shall remember forever. Each day I ask myself how can this possibly get any better and it does!

My motto is now ‘Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile’.

Our Chalet has given me the chance to do all these things and more. Every person I have met here has shown me something new, true friendship and kindness, leaving an impact on me and helping to shape my future life.

Molly Braham – Spring and Summer Volunteer
UK

 

 

STAFF: A Vollie’s view of the Helen Storrow Seminar – Catherine (UK)

Standard

It’s been a while since the seminar now so I thought I’d share how it was to be a volunteer at the time; it was certainly a week to remember at Our Chalet.

As a vollie, the first day was spent making sure that everything around the Chalet  was as spic, span and shiny as it possibly could be. More and more participants arrived every hour, so that by the time the dinner bell rang, the Chalet was almost bursting!

Then came the tour, which was good despite it being a little tricky to point out buildings in the dark.ImageWe were all up bright and early the next morning for the opening ceremony. Luckily(?) for us, so were the snow clouds…. All through the speeches, songs and handing out of badges, everyone was dusted heavily in cold, cold icing sugar.

Then as the seminar activities ran, us vollies skipped (well maybe not quite skipped) around the Chalet to scrub at anything that wasn’t quite as sparkly as it should be (let’s just say snow is beautiful until it comes inside and creates puddles all over the boot room…)

After cooking, we’d dash out of the kitchen and squeeze in with the participants. Each mealtime had its own personality; as we lapped up various dishes of Swiss cuisine, we’d share stories from our home countries. It was always hard to leave the table but Derek (the dishwasher) would be beckoning, so off we ran to the kitchen to scrub Pollard (the pot) and all her friends; all in perfect time to songs from the resident Disney c.d.

Before International Night, we had to clean everything in the seemingly impossible time of 40 minutes. I’ve never seen anyone run around the kitchen as crazily and efficiently as we did that night… Quite miraculously, well thanks to Catt really, (she definitely wasn’t bribed scones), we finished with 3 minutes to spare!  ImageWe dived straight into the activities; learning all kinds of dance from Arabic to Irish, Salsa to Azunto. It was wonderful. Just as you thought that you were entirely out of breath and absolutely had to collapse on the floor, someone would start teaching another song, dance or game from the other side of the world and before you’d know it, you’d find yourself joining in.

Assisting with running the seminar was fun too. It was fascinating to hear project ideas from all the participants; each one was so different, so unique and yet everyone had the same clear vision for improving the environment in their local area.

Image

The closing ceremony was very appropriately at the same time as Earth Hour, so whilst the Chalet was in darkness, outside we all placed tea lights in the shape of a trefoil. We listened to readings, thank you’s and goodbyes from everybody, until it was time for each participant in sing Taps in their own native language.

Afterwards, some us went to lie in the snow on the front lawn, it was entirely black but for the faint glow of Adelboden through the trees. We lay there for some time, growing colder and colder, just looking up at the stars and listening to the nothingness.Image

Catherine Rose
Spring Volunteer – UK