Summer in the Valley
It is Summer at KISC - that means the Summer Short Term Staff Season has begun, we are still waiting on the actual summer, someone must have forgotten to give the weather a memo. But before we start with Summer news, let's have a quick look back at Spring.
The last big event this Spring was the General Assembly taking place from the 1st - 3rd June, with the main assembly happening on the morning of the 3rd while the KISC Committee met on the two days before. This was a busy weekend for everyone at the Centre because not only the attendees of the General Assembly had to be looked after, but an Open Day including Chalet tours, games and barbecue for the villagers also took place on Sunday. During the General Assembly the "Welcome2KISC" project was presented to the members of the Association. This project includes bigger construction plans for the front of the Chalet and also aims to include Sunneblick further into the structure and Chalet complex of KISC - in general making the entrance of KISC more welcoming and creating further space for activities and areas where guests can meet and exchange stories easier.
During the meeting, the KISC Committee thanked Brigitt Küttel (CH) for the many years of work she has done on the Board of the KISC Foundation as she has decided to leave the Foundation and focus on other projects. Further thanks were also given to Jens (IE), Operational Director, who will leave KISC after many years of service this August. The surprise of the entire meeting then came in form of a video from Luc Panissod, Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. In this video Luc wished everyone a successful General Assembly and, as a member of the KISC Association, regretted not being able to attend in person as he was on a business trip abroad. Luc was always a welcome face at KISC, representing WOSM at many occasions in the Centre, and as he is leaving as Secretary General of WOSM this year, the KISC Committee decided to bring forward the proposal to elect him as Honorary Member of the Association. This was approved unanimously and under a big applause by the Assembly, and another video message was sent back to Luc Panissod to surprise him with this special honour. To see the video of this election, please click this link!
During the weekend, interviews to fill the position of the new Operational Director also took place, a decision was taken by Myriam (CH), General Director, and the KISC Steering Committee during the week. For this reason, we can announce here that starting at the end of this August, Alexandros Louis (GR), former Reception Manager, will take over as Operational Director.
The same weekend of the General Assembly the opening of the Saudi Arabian Room as part of the Arabian Suite took place in presence of Prof. Abdullah Alfahad of the Saudi Arabian Boy Scout Association, Youssef Khaddaj. the Chairman of the Arab Scout Committee, several representatives of the Saudi Arabian Boy Scout Association, members of the KISC Committee and several members of Staff involved in the renovation of the room. After a ceremony on the Staff terrace and the unveiling of the new room sign, the group went upstairs to cut the ribbon to the room and inspect the inside of it.
In the evening we had the chance of speaking to Youssej Khaddaj about his first impression of KISC. His visit to Kandersteg for the Opening of the Saudi Arabian Room was at the same time the first time he ever came to KISC. He showed himself impressed by the work of the international Staff Team, praised this as a great opportunity for young people and was convinced that B-P's dream of a permanent Mini-Jamboree really comes to life here. Because of this experience with volunteers running a Centre that accommodates such a large number of guests a year, Youssef sees this a s a great resource for other centres to tap into and hopes for exchanges between KISC and other Scout centres in the future. And even though he comes from a mountainous region of Lebanon at about the same altitude as Kandersteg, he loved the magnificent Alpine landscape around the Centre, reminding him of home. At the end of the little talk, we came to the subject of the Messengers of Peace project which according to Youssef has a completely different connotation and importance in the Arab world and the entire Middle East: Whereas "Peace" has become an abstract term here in Europe and the Western World in general (e.g. peace of mind or the liberty to choose your life freely), it has a way more basic meaning in the Middle East as peace (in its original meaning of absence of war) does not reign everywhere in this region and conflicts and violence are a daily problem that affect millions of people, especially at the moment in times of upheaval in the Arab World. If Scouts could contribute to solving conflicts with such an initiative, this could become a great chance for both the region and the importance of the Scout Movement, and he would be honoured to have KISC as a strong partner in the Messengers of Peace project.
After this eventful weekend it was time for the Centre to get ready to finish the season and prepare for the arrival of new Short Term Staff. Thus on Wednesday it was time for Staff Day Out - a very special one, as for once this didn't mean getting up very early to get out of Kandersteg on time: Breakfast was served at 9 a.m. and 40 minutes later we left for Interlaken where there was time for sightseeing before we went to a chocolate show explaining how chocolates are made with lots of opportunities to taste different varieties of chocolate ourselves. With nicely filled stomachs we then proceeded to the base of Outdoor Interlaken from where we left to go canyoning. The action-packed day was nicely rounded off with a delicious dinner at Hotel Blümlisalp in Kandersteg. The day after was a less happy one as it was the last day for most of the Spring Shorties at the Centre. Those who were not staying on as Helpers for Summer training left KISC on Friday, while the new Summer Shorties were slowly pouring in. A big thank you to all the Short Term Staff that made Spring into such a good season for their commitment and hard work.
Now that the Summer season has started and the 33 new Shorties are in full training, we are looking forward to a busy season with lots of guests and a Permanent Mini-Jamboree that will truly come to life during the next three months!
Pol Felten (LU)13.06.2012
PR & Marketing Assistant