Of Rovers and Mountains
It has definitely gotten quiter here at KISC. The numbers of guests are slowly going towards autumnal lows and our activity guides are more and more helping out in Chalet Services or start to deep clean the material used over Summer.
The international mix at the Centre though is remaining as colourful as ever, especially with the International Rover Week happening on our Campsite the entire last week. 13 Rovers from 6 countries were staying at KISC to experience the Swiss Alps and each other's cultures. Just as last summer, they were offered a package with diverse programme that kept them busy while still leaving enough free time to organise spontaneous interactions as well as to undertake bigger activities together. A big group of Rovers was for example climbing up the Allmenalp Via Ferrata on Tuesday in their free time while others were going on some more hike or just had a relaxed day at the local swimming pool before going on the big three-valleys-hike with an overnight at the Upper Hut the day after. The different meals were cooked together in the group, for every meal a different nationality was supposed to prepare a traditional dish from their home country to share a bit of their own customs. The Rovers were lead by two Rover Week helpers, Felix (UK), an ex-Staff from Spring 2011, and Natalia (CH), a participant of the International Rover Week last Summer herself and a Spring 2012 Shortie. On Saturday, the week ended and all the Rovers returned back to their home countries, hopefully richer of the memories and experiences they had here in Kandersteg. Keep checking our website for information on the next International Rover Week which is bound to happen sooner rather than later!
While the guest numbers are slowly dropping, some of our Staff are reaching higher: Two expeditions to the summit of Balmhorn (3,698 m) and the summit of Rinderhorn (3,448 m) left the Centre last week and made their way up into regions covered in snow and ice over the entire year. Experiencing snow in the middle of August set those participating in the expeditions in the right mood for another Staff Highlight of the season - Summer Christmas. For those of you to whom the notion of Summer Christmas seems odd, this is a tradition we celebrate every year here at KISC some time in August to thank all the members of the Summer Staff Team for their hard work. And we take the Christmas theme very seriously. Just as in December for the real Christmas festivities, Christmas decorations were put up in the morning in the Coffee bar and Christmas music could be heard all day coming from inside the Reception. Some Pinkies were even seen wearing Christmas hats! The highlight of the day was dinner at Hotel Des Alpes in the village. Dedicated as they are, the organising team had already decorated the dining room of the hotel in true Christmas style as well and after dinner, Santa arrived with a couple of helpers to hand out Secret Santa presents to everyone. Here again, just as in Winter, every Staff Member gets the name of another Pinkie who they have to give a present to which are distributed in the evening. The only thing missing for a real Christmas was the snow and cold outside - and with around 30°C the entire day, temperatures were far from freezing.
During the week, work on the tunnel under the railway connecting the Chalet to the Campsite underwent a facial lift. As Scouts visiting the Centre and working towards KISC's Eco Award were already awarded a new Eco badge with a new design since the beginning of Summer, the time had also come for the old Eco logo in the tunnel to be replaced by the new one. A nice green leaf showing off a Crystal on a green background is now clearly visible when walking through the tunnel. Equally, the logo from last year's 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden was overpainted with white and has now been replaced with the Messengers of Peace logo. Whenever you visit KISC next, make sure to have an extra look to see the amazing work Hyemee (KR) and Kristina (SE) have realised in it!
Now that Autumn is coming closer and closer, the times for goodbyes has started to come as well. Some of the Short Term Staff will already have to leave next week due to the start of university courses. But it's also time to say "see you soon" to several of the Long Term Staff. Rick (NL), Reception Assistant, is returning home to the Netherlands for his studies this Monday, and Laura (IE), Catering Assistant, as well as Linda (DK), Catering Assistant, have also reached the end of their contracts. But at the same time we welcome two new faces to the LTS team: Will (UK) and Elin (SE) are both joining us as Catering Assistants with the start of next week. And as High Season is also over, our High Season Staff have started leaving the Swiss Alps as well. Another "goodbye" goes out to all the Snow and Ice Guides that will be gone by the end of next week. But one of the biggest goodbyes is still ahead of us as well: Jens (IE) will leave us as Operational Director, with Alexandros (GR) taking over his position. And as Jens will be hard to replace after 8 years of experience at KISC, a big goodbye party was thrown in his honour in Sunneblick this Saturday. During the day, several Staff members joined him for an adventurous via ferrata on Jägihorn, so everyone was happy to get some delicious barbecue in the same evening at the party. Sitting around several campfires on Sunneblick's outdoor area, people were reminiscing on stories of all the time Jens spent at the Centre and often had a laugh while looking at old photos of Jens exhibited in the dining hall of Sunneblick. And although he is not yet gone and will still remain a few weeks for his successor's training, we already thank him for all the work done at the Centre and wish him all the best for his life as an Ex-Pinkie.
At the end of this edition of Latest News, I'd like to cast a look far ahead, to December 2012. Even though Summer Christmas was already mentioned in this article, most of you won't feel very christmassy yet. Still, the next Christmas is coming, so why not book a special Christmas in the Swiss Alps? As every year, KISC has put together as special package full of activities, festives dinners and a very high chance of snow outside! This Christmas will be even more special due to the fact that it will be the start of our "90 Years of Living the Dream" celebrations that will span over all of 2013. So you're in for some surprises not just for Christmas, but also for the rest of the year with plenty of birthday celebrations! A short overview on the Christmas Package can be found here, more information will be available on October 1st!
Pol Felten (LU)
PR & Marketing Assistant