Smiling at the normality of the abnormal
Well, it’s always nice to be back in a familiar place.
I’m back on the staff team after a brief hiatus of 5 years! This time I’m swapping my campsite boots and yellow raincoat for an apron and a whisk in the catering team. It’s fantastic to be back, but as I’ve been saying these past 3 weeks; everything’s the same, but completely different. The centre, its ethos and the village are exactly the same, but the team here is ever-changing.
One of the weirdest things about working at the centre is adjusting to the ‘normality of the abnormal’. How often is it you can say that I’m having fondue with scouts from Australia, Germany, Sweden and Brazil in the middle of the Swiss Alps? – yet that is totally normal for the centre.
Aside from the international team of pinkies, we currently have guests from Denmark and the World Scout Bureau (another multi-national conference.) How many nationalities can we fit under one roof? It’s incredible!
All the time that we are living and working here, we’re exploring the environment around us, and indulging in the Swiss culture. Just yesterday I started a hike by sipping coffee with friends in a remote wooden cabin in the Gasterntal Valley, a small valley that branches off the Kandersteg Valley near the centre. We then ascended the mountain we’d been viewing to take in the vista of Kandersteg Village below.
I still find it funny to think about the mix of people we have here, and how ‘abnormal’ it is compared to my ‘daily life’, but that was exactly Baden-Powell’s dream, for scouts around the world to come together, the ‘permanent mini Jamboree.’ The fact that it’s going as strong as ever, makes it easy to smile!