The last two weeks have been quiet at the Centre. This is about to change with this Sunday's arrival of the Aladdin Stiftung, a Swiss Foundation that helps families with physically and mentally challenged children. They arrive in two groups, one of them staying with us this week, the other one arriving next Sunday. It's great to see how the Centre is buzzing with life again after it seemed the Staff were the only people still left at KISC.
At the moment we also have Alf Button staying with us, an 80-year old scout from the historical town of Winchester, UK. Alf was born in 1931, joined cub scouts in the 1940s and became a leader in the 1950s. One important memory during his time as a leader is when Alf and his troop went on a camp to the Lake District together with schoolchildren that were wheelchair-bound. One day, they decided to carry the kids up a giant rockface and abseiled them down from the top. The excitement he saw on their faces now reminds him of himself when he was climbing the Harbour Bridge in Sydney at age 70!
Unfortunately had to hand in his leader's badge at age thirty when all the travels he had to do for his company took too much time that he couldn't invest in scouting anymore. But as soon as he retired in 1998, he took the decision to rejoin the Scouting movement as a cub scout leader. Today he takes part in two UK Scout active support units, mainly in the Southern Stars. His favourite thing about scouting is pioneering and bridge building, which is why he trained units from the UK contingent for the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden 2011 on this.
And although he didn't participate in the last WSJ, in his position as Scout active support, he took part in several UK Jamborees. His most cherished Scouting memory are his three visits to Australian Jamborees in 2001, 2007 and 2010 where he manned a First Aid post and even helped out in an Australian hospital. What fascinated him most about this, was that he was able to talk to very experienced doctors who, as scouts, worked at these Jamborees as volunteers. Alf still sees it as a privilege to have worked besides them.
In 2009, he participated at the Jamboree in Windsor Great Park, in the "back garden of the Queen" as one of the international Scouts that he met there used to refer to it. In 2011 he helped out at the CamJam in Cambridge, UK, where he volunteered in the Fast Food shop. A different experience compared to the medical services he was in at other camps, but nonetheless exciting. Alf's volunteering work isn't only limited to scouts, he also works with St. John's ambulance and has done first aid at UK air shows and at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Festival of the Sea.
As a person very dedicated to scouting, it is a similar dedication that Alf finds fascinating here at KISC. He told me that he finds it impressive that this Centre is run by such a young team that do all of this because of their love for scouting without getting money out of it. Since he first heard about KISC, it has been his lifelong ambition to come here, a dream that he could now finally fulfill at age 80. So what is his opinion on KISC now that he's here and witnesses BP's dream first hand? Well, he is convinced, just as all the Pinkies, that KISC truly is a magical place in the way that it has existed already for such a long time and still enables scouts from all over the world to meet here. In fact, Alf is so fascinated by KISC that he is considering applying as Short Term Staff next year.
During his stay here, he plans on hiking a lot to experience the Swiss Alps, so the day of this interview, he had already been up to Allmenalp (only using the cable car on the way down!) and while I'm writing this, he's walking up to Gemmipass to see the Daubensee!
Last week we also had our Catering Supervisor Eliane's school class from Spiez visiting the Centre for two days. They spent their time with us climbing at Winteregg and helping out with service projects on the campsite. They were a great help clearing a new path to the von Bonstetten campfire, cutting down trees, taking out tree stumps and roots, stacking wood and digging holes. The campsite seems a lot tidier now, so a big thank you to all the Students from Schlossberg Schule.
This week also marks the final week of Autumn Staff Adventures, Programme Activities offered to the new Autumn STS so they see all the stuff they can do in and around Kandersteg. The first part of the Staff Adventures was climbing at Winteregg, then canyoning in Interlaken with the guys from Outdoor Interlaken and this week they can experience the Three Valleys Hike on Wednesday. The hike will start from the Ueschinen Valley, from all the way up at the Upper Hut which we will be closing down this week for 2011. Tonight, the Upper Hut closing party will celebrate a successful few months with a lot of overnights at the Upper Hut since its opening on May 27th.
Finally, the renovation of the Irish Room is running smoothly. Michael (DE) is ahead of schedule, working on the framework and the dry walls at the moment. The room is starting to look like a room again and not just like a dust-covered hole on the second floor of the Old Chalet. But rest assured, it still is dusty up there, the floor remains closed for guests. Make sure to take a look at his work and at what else was going on at the Centre these last two weeks in our picture gallery.
Pol Felten (LU)
PR & Marketing Assistant