The Way to KISC16.09.2012
At KISC, we're starting into the second week of Autumn today. The Summer season is gone and the Summer Shorties have left the Centre. But before the STS's departure, the entire Staff Team still spent an action-packed Staff Day Out together.
As already mentioned in the previous edition of Latest News, the organisers of Staff Day Out did a great job in keeping the programme of the day a secret until the very end. It was only the morning of the day itself that we were told what was actually going to happen during the next 16 hours: The day started with a meet-up in the Centre where we took a bus to Mülenen from. But the team didn't go to Mülenen because it is such a famous "request stop" on the train from Spiez to Kandersteg, but because the bottom station of the Niesenbahn funicular as well as the longest stairway in the world (11,674 steps) can be found there. So our first stop of the day was on top of Niesen to have an extensive breakfast. The organisers' original plan of having this breakfast in front of the breath-taking backdrop of almost the entire Bernese Oberland visible from Niesen's summit (2,362 m) didn't work out entirely though as the mountain was clouded in fog and only sometimes the shape of the Eiger or other mountains could be seen for a few seconds in the far distance through the shifting clouds. Refreshed and ready for the next activity we took the funicular down again and rode the bus to Münsingen where everyone got into their wetsuit to go River Tubing. Helped by Pascal from Aare Tubing, we got into the Aare river on inflatable tubes to float down to Bern, which took us about 75 minutes. A very relaxing and yet exciting activity! After getting dressed again in Bern, there was still a bit of time in the schedule to relax in a park next to the river before we returned to Kandersteg for the final point of the day: Dinner at Hotel Victoria. Not only the place where the 4th International Scout Conference was held in 1926, Hotel Victoria is also a favourite location for KISC to have Summer Staff Day Out Dinners. In this way, the day was ended festively with a "Tatarengrill" - Tatar Barbecue, the traditional award ceremony and speeches.
After SDO and deep cleaning of the STS accommodations, the last day of the season arrived and it was time for the Summer Shorties to leave the Centre again after their 3-month-adventure. A thank you to all of them, without you guys working in Chalet Services, on the Campsite or in Programme the Summer would not have been that successful and enjoyable for our guests!
With the start of this Autumn 2012 season, 8 new Short Term Staff were welcomed onto the Staff team - Amy (KR), Andry (MG), Ben (US), Harry (UK), Miranda (SE), Penny (ZA) and Saki (HK). By now, they have finished their first week of training, including D-Day, and have all graduated, so they can be seen working around the Centre in pink with the start of this week. Their training week was special in the way that it ended in a fairly busy weekend as we had a youth group of 600 people staying in all of our buildings and the campsite. Although the group was organising their own programme and catered for themselves, this gave the Shorties a nice taste of how the Centre can look in busy times and will have them prepared for the biggest event of the Autumn season, happening at the end of October, the Scout Academy.
Even though the beginning of a new season is always a time with lots of welcomes, it is also the time where a lot of people are saying goodbye to the dream they lived at KISC. Reunited one last time at the Long Term Staff dinner at Hotel Alpha Soleil in Kandersteg, the entire LTS team had the chance to shed a look back at the season and dwelve in memories of the time spent together. In the days after the dinner, Eoin (IE), High Adventure Assistant, left KISC to return to his university studies in Edinburgh. During the next few days, it will also be the time for Irene (CH), Eco Assistant, to leave the Centre to return to the "real life", and then, at the end of September, a great deal of LTS members will have reached the end of their contracts as well. Two important KISC personalities left the valley for an indefinite time as well, Eliane (CH), long-serving Catering Supervisor, and Jens (IE), Operational Director. They both shaped the Centre for a very long time and were already working at the Centre long before many of the current Staff first set foot into KISC. With them, the Centre lost a great level of experience and expertise, and we were sad to see them go. At the same time, the Staff team joins in wishing them all the best for all their future plans and travels the first few months after their departure from Kandersteg. Thanks to all of them for playing a big part in contributing to the magic of Kandersteg and their commitment to keeping B.-P.'s dream alive in their day-to-day work!
Outside of Kandersteg, KISC was also present at the Gilwell Reunion on the weekend of the 8th - 9th September at Gilwell Park, London, UK. Together with Rex, our supporter in the UK Kandersteg Network, and several Ex-Staff, Jack (UK), Reception Manager, was representing Kandersteg International Scout Centre at the event and promoting becoming Staff as well as spending a camp abroad at the Centre. According to reports from both Jack and Rex, a lot of interested people visited the stand which makes us optimistic that we will receive lots of interesting STS applications as well as visitors from the UK in the future.
Finally, this week a first preliminary project for the broader Welcome2KISC project saw the light of day. To make it easier for guests to find the quickest and easiest way to the Centre from the train station, we put up "Wanderweg" signs, hiking path signs all the way from the train station to the Centre alongside the Kander river. Following them, guests arriving at the Kandersteg station will find a short and safe way directly to KISC without having to follow the main village road and avoiding the cars passing on it. The first sign at the train station was mounted onto a light pole in the presence of a local journalist, so avid hikers in the area can discover this new, 20-minute long "KISC Trail". Whenever you're next Kandersteg, keep a look out for those shiny blue signposts taking you straight to the home of Scouting in the Swiss Alps!
Pol Felten (LU)
PR & Marketing Assistant