Time and Time Again.
Yet another season has almost come to an end at KISC! In a week's time most of the Spring Short Term Staff will leave the Centre and 32 new faces will arrive for Summer. But until then we still have a few action-packed days ahead of us. First of all there is the General Assembly coming up this weekend - not only will all the KISC members meet on Sunday to take decisions on the direction KISC will be going in the future, the KISC Committee will also meet on Saturday and there is going to be an Open Day on Sunday for all the villagers and other interested people to come and visit the Centre, experience our international atmosphere and take part in some activities.
Then, next Wednesday, the long awaited Staff Day Out will finally take place. And although the organisers are keeping everything under tight wraps in order not to spoil the surprise, there have been rumours going around the Centre that the day might involve some bits of canyoning with the guys of Outdoor Interlaken.
But also the last weeks have been interesting ones, even though they were rather quiet with just a few guests staying with us.
As mentioned in the previous Latest News, some damage was done on the Campsite by a storm on the 28th April. Because of this, Sam (UK) and Michael (DE), Grounds and Maintenance Assistants, spent their entire working days and countless hours of overtime the weeks following this to clean up on the Campsite. Thanks to their hard work and the help of the Short Term Staff as well as Long Term Staff dedicating days off or swap days to campsite work, but also the help of the probably biggest Dutch Chainsawing Party the Centre has ever seen, our Campsite is now back to its normal state and as ready as ever to welcome the 6540 guests this summer.
It was also the Dutch Work Party that shaped the face of the Centre these last few days. Not only did they help out a lot on getting the Centre ready for summer, their guest kitchen was also a welcome meeting place for the entire Staff Team in the evenings. They even helped us Long Term Staff in our epic football game against the Shorties, which despite the help of the Dutchies, we lost after a hard fight.
After the Dutch Work Party we welcomed the International Work Party who are currently still helping out on the Campsite, cutting a lot of grass and chopping wood for our guests to use over summer.
Some members of the International Work Party arrived a couple of days earlier at the Centre for the reunion of the Summer Staff from 1987 and their families. Most of them hadn't seen each other in 25 years and hadn't been to the Centre since, so this was the perfect occasion to show them how the Centre changed in this time, but also to notice all the similarities and the things that stayed more or less the same from 1987 to 2012. In a shared campfire with the current Staff a lot of these differences surfaced and were the source of many funny stories. The Ex-Staff showed themselves really impressed by the current Staff Room - back in 1987 they were living in the Arabian Room, with limited storage space or areas to sit down and socialize. The application process for Staff also differed a lot from today: While applying for Staff is really easy today via e-mail and internet, back then interested Scouts had to rely on word of mouth and letters to first of all hear about the Centre and then apply in a second step. One of the Ex-Staff from Denmark told us that he was passing Kandersteg by train while being on holidays in Switzerland with his parents. On the platform at the train station in Kandersteg, he saw lots of Scouts in different uniforms and was wondering what they were all doing there. Back home in Denmark, he wrote a letter to the Danish Scout headquarters to ask if they knew something about why all these Scouts were present on that platform. He got a reply from the headquarters telling him about KISC and about the Staff opportunities here, which made him apply at the Centre. Quite different from today where information is easily accessible on the web.
The Staff from 1987 were also the last team to be wearing red uniforms, it was only the following year that pink t-shirts were adopted and the Staff at KISC became famous around the world as Pinkies. And although there's many myths and legends behind this colour decision, the actual reason is a practical one: They wanted to get rid of red as it was always associated with Switzerland, whereas the Centre was an international place within Switzerland, independent from Swiss Scouting. Other colour options were green (didn't work because of all the green trees around), black (too boring), grey (they didn't want to look like elephants) or yellow (which would have gotten dirty too fast), but in the end they settled for pink as it stood out from other scout uniforms and was a really nice, bright colour, especially for boys!
Already just because of this lifted mystery, the 1987 Staff Reunion can be considered a success. Who knows, maybe in 25 years time, someone will be writing about a reunion of the current Staff at this place?
Last weekend, over Pentecost, the Scouts from the Bernese Oberland had their traditional Pentecost Camp here at KISC. About 300 Swiss Scouts made the Campsite come alive from Friday 25th May to Monday 28th and gave everyone a sneak peak into what summer at KISC is going to be like. Under the motto of "The extinct Vardun" the Scouts had to work together and complete challenges the entire weekend to relight an extinct volcano. During the closing ceremony said volcano, built up on the Campsite, started spitting fire again.
Finally, on Wednesday, 30th May, the last General Staff Meeting for Spring 2012 took place where we did not only have a look back at the past season, but also looked ahead to Summer and received all the necessary information about the busiest time of year at KISC. Informed and excited, the entire LTS team is ready for Summer and are looking forward to welcoming all the guest here at the Centre over the next three months!
May the summer be as good as spring!
Pol Felten (LU)31.05.2012
PR & Marketing Assistant