Before and after
Before: once upon a time... in the 50s
Fairly often expressions such as "since 1923", "a dream alive for more than 85 years" and "founded by B.-P." are used in reference to KISC. All of them underscore the success and the history of the Centre - thanks to the hundreds and thousands of Scouts which, as either guests or Staff have contributed to and been part of what KISC is today. Those hundreds don't always have names or faces, some are kept as pictures or documents in our archives, but only a few have ever heard their stories. Have you ever wondered who those Scouts were? How they came to KISC the first time? What their camps were like? I do. It is fascinating to me how so many Scouts passed by from this place, living under this very same roof and experiencing unique adventures surrounded by these very same mountains.
In the last two weeks we had the pleasure and the unique opportunity to meet two of those many hundreds who have passed through our doors. Mr David and Mr Henley were both on a Scout adventure in 50s and today, accompained by their wives, came back for the first time to have a look around and see if the Chalet was still in use. We collected some awesome little stories from them about those early times and I will now share some of them with you all.
Barrie David (in the picture with his wife Wendy) visited KISC, back then also known as the Scout Alpine Club, in July 1954. Almost 20 years old, he was a participant of a Climbing Course guided by Frtiz Ogi. Together with him and five other Scouts: Michael Boardmann and Richards Thomas from England, Robbert de Borst from Holland, Peter Wellmann from Switzerland and Jacques-Jean Lafaye from France. Their story, just as they wrote it 56 years ago, is recorded in one of our Climbing Courses Log Books. There on July 21st 1954 Barrie writes "Today the weather was fine, there were a few clouds in the sky but Fritz our guide
told us it was not bad. ...we walked along the banks of the Oeschinensee and then we had a slow climb up to the Fründenhütte, it took us four hours."
When I asked him about his memories of his Swiss days, Barrie recalled the awesome feeling of looking at a mountain top at the end of the day after summiting it and their brilliant guide Mr Ogi, who was guiding them through glaciers, filling them with chocolate and he was not hesitating to play some practical jokes - like the time when Barrie was complaining about being tired and Mr Ogi put a big stone in his rucksack which Barrie carryied around the whole day and later on all the way home. Moreover, on the day of the official opening of a new room in the Chalet, in the presence of the Swiss Chief Scout our climbing crew managed to step on a freshly painted windowsill with their hobsnailboots. And again, when helping in the kitchen he dropped a hot dish with a pie which broke into pieces on the floor and it was quickly put back together by the boys and served for dinner. As you can see the spirit was not that different than what you have now on a Scout camp, certain things really do not change and keep the spirit of Scouting intact.
Mr Henley instead was here at KISC for a Summer Scout Camp with his group, the 30th Reigate Boy Scouts, in 1953 first and then 1955. He entered the Chalet a few days ago and asked if this is still the Scout Chalet. A lot has been changed since his first visits when there was no New Chalet, no Kander-Lodge, only a few spots for tents in a rocky campsite and when the small river stream still passed below the Old Chalet. He was making up the pocket money for his stay doing the laundry for his group mates, 6 pence for a wash. Although their daily camp routine was a bit different than ours today and the services offered were more "chilled out" with the possibility of washing the dirty dished straight in the river stream, I can still feel in these stories KISC. Think about it, if it would be you having a camp at KISC and them coming back, you would also point out things, tell what you did and look around the building to see where you neckerchief is hanging. You can even still meet Girl Guides on the train changing one station before Kandersteg to go on the otherside of the mountain to Our Chalet - all just like Mr Henley remembers.
Once you have pictured those life moments and you have seen KISC through the eyes of another generation, you can really feel the power of this place and the magic that keeps the bricks of the Old Chalet together.
After: KISC Association Members' weekend
Skipping the weather report this time, I would like to inform about our successful Members' Weekend and General Assembly of the KISC Association. On the first weekend of June, we welcommed around 100 members of the KISC Association who took part in our weekend programme which had as highlights a day trip to the Jungfraujoch, a very colourful and animated international evening and the development workshops.
This event is hosted every two years and it is an important moment for comig together and informing on what has happened and what has been done at KISC. It is great for the
Centre to be supported by such a big family of members who are a real part of B.-P.'s dream.
This weekend was also the moment for the inauguration of three bedrooms and of the Scout Chapel. This last one has recently been restyled by the Swiss Catholic Scouts, with the aim to making it a more spiritual and interactive place which can be used by all Scouts and Guides staying with us. On the terrace of the Kander-Lodge there was the offical presentation of the Malta Room, the new Korean Room and the ATAS Room. The first one is located on the first floor of the New Chalet, while the other two are located in the Kander-Lodge. Present for the occasions were the Group leader of the 1st Sliema Scout Group and the Honorary Secretary General from Malta and from South Korea the vice-major of Suncheon City, the head of the youth department of Suncheon City, the Secretary General of the Korea Scout Association and Mr. Simon Rhee, vice-chair of the World Scout Committee and founding member of ATAS (Association of Top Achiever Scouts).
On the occasion Thijs Stoffer (NL) - Chairman of the KISC Association and Mark Knippenberg (NL) - Director were nominated top achiver Scouts and the KISC Committee was honoured with traditional Korean fans by the representatives of Suncheon City.
Sunday was the day of the General Assembly, which ran smoothly and of the open day for all the inhabitans of the Kandersteg village and the Swiss Scout community. We welcomed many of them who took the opportunity to visit the recently renovated ground floor of the Old Chalet and the Kander-Lodge and then enjoyed the BBQ along with a chat and some afternoon of games.
The weekend passed by very quickly but it definitely marked another positive 2 years in the life of KISC as International Scout Centre and of all the work and improvements done day after day.
Come and live the dream!
Luisa Fontanazza (IT)
PR & Marketing Assistant