COVID-19 at KISC
How we are keeping the World Scout Centre safe
We had all hoped it would not come to this, but on Sunday 31 January 2021, the KISC Committee had to regretfully decide to reduce the Centre’s activities and offered services to a minimum as per 1 March 2021.
Unfortunately, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel and the financial outlook for 2021 (especially summer) are such that KISC’s long-term future cannot be guaranteed without further measures at this stage.
All groups with a reservation from 1 March 2021 to 1 February 2022 have been contacted. Please check here to see what limited services might still be possible in 2021.
You can read the full announcement here.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the section below, we will try to answer any questions you might have about limiting our services. If you do not find the answer to your question, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Is the Centre closing?
No! We are not closing but limiting our operations to ensure the Permanent Mini Jamboree’s future. While our traditional KISC offer will be put on hold until further notice, we are working on an adapted campsite offer and exploring the possibility of renting out our group accommodation. As soon as we have found a viable solution, we will announce it.
Why has KISC limited its operations?
Our number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who will be at KISC. The current advice from public health authorities worldwide and in Switzerland means we cannot guarantee that.
We also need to play our part in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus – and at this stage of the pandemic in Europe, that means KISC needs to limit our services to guests temporarily.
International travel has also become difficult or impossible, restricting who can visit KISC.
Financially, therefore the only option remaining to the KISC Committee is to minimise the current operations.
We are exploring viable options concerning staying on our campsite or renting our group accommodation (Sunneblick & Tower). It is currently already possible to rent one of our five studios in the Kanderlodge through Airbnb.
Please note that due to the limited staff team, we will not be able to provide activities (internal & external), rental equipment, catering and food orders.
Will I still be able to experience the Permanent Mini Jamboree?
KISC is a leading example of what is possible when young people live and work together without borders – from the young international volunteer staff who are empowered to operate the Centre – to the guests from around the world who visit to have fun and learn together, share their Scouting experiences, and build a peaceful future. But with that at a minimum, KISC will now also show that we adapt to the situation the world is in and that we will find alternative ways to inspire young people to create a better world. This way, the thousands of young Scouts who are not able to visit the World Scout Centre this year due to the pandemic, will have the opportunity to enjoy the KISC experience and participate in Baden-Powell’s dream of a Permanent Mini Jamboree. Therefore, we have prepared and will expand an online programme offer, with its initial launch on 22 February.
KISC sees this as a chance and opportunity for the future where besides our renowned regular programme offer on-site, additional programme is offered online. This widens the scope and reach of our programme and demonstrates the experience KISC has to offer to even more Scouts.
You can read more about the initial online programme here.
What can I do to support the Centre?
There is no doubt this will be a challenging year for KISC financially, and we would be very grateful for any donations. We ask everyone who is not yet a member to join the KISC Association, and we ask all supporters, past visitors and friends of the Centre to consider a donation towards keeping the Permanent Mini Jamboree alive so we can celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023.
Your support during these difficult times will help us weather this storm and safeguard the Permanent Mini Jamboree for many more years.
When will the Centre resume normal operations?
In Autumn 2021, we will make a detailed assessment of the viability of returning to our normal operation in February 2022.
I have a booking with you between now and February 2022. What happens now?
We have contacted all our affected groups to discuss your available options. This includes moving your booking to another date, keeping your booking (but accepting a limited-service offer), donating all or part of your pre-payment to the Permanent Mini Jamboree, or issuing you with a refund.
This may take some time, so please bear with us.
How will the refund process work?
If you choose to request a refund, we will issue you with a refund form. Once we have received your completed form, we will process your refund and keep you informed via e-mail.
All refunds will be made by bank transfer.
Please note that refunds will be paid in batches once we have a better understanding of our financial position. This is to ensure the Centre can continue running not only to celebrate its centenary in 2023 but for many years to come.
If you wish to support the Centre, it is possible to donate all or part of your pre-payment instead of getting it refunded. There is no doubt this will be a challenging year for KISC financially, and we would be very grateful for any donations. Your support during these difficult times will help us weather this storm and safeguard the Permanent Mini Jamboree for many more years.
I still want to come. Is this possible?
Yes! We are not closing but limiting our operations. This means you will still be able to visit Kandersteg, but it will feel very different this year, as we will not be offering any Catering or organised Programme. We are exploring viable options concerning staying on our campsite or renting our group accommodation (Sunneblick & Tower). It is currently already possible to rent one of our five studios in the Kanderlodge through Airbnb.
If you are not from Switzerland, please consult with the Federal Office of Public Health before travelling to Kandersteg. Please note that it is not possible to quarantine at KISC.
In the coming weeks, we will communicate more about exactly which services or option will be available. For now, we know that any groups coming in 2021 will need to be completely self-sufficient, as no Catering or Programme services will be available from KISC.
If you cannot visit during 2021 or would like to have the full KISC experience, we encourage that you consider joining us in a different year, up to 2024. You are welcome to move your booking, including any pre-payments to an available date in the future.
I have a booking with you after 1 February 2022. How does this affect me?
If your booking is after 1 February 2022, we hope to deliver normal operations and resume all services. We will keep you updated throughout 2021.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your booking or would like to continue discussing your plans with us.
Can I get a full refund if I cancel my booking, which begins after 1 February 2022?
We can only offer a full refund for booking between 1 March 2021 and 1 February 2022. Bookings outside of this period will be subject to the cancellation fee found in our Terms and Conditions.
What is happening at KISC during the reduced operations?
A significantly reduced team of just 4 Pinkies and possibly some virtual Helpers will be continuing to answer your calls and e-mails, maintain the buildings and plan for when we return to regular operation.
During this time, we will be following the guidance set by the Swiss public health authorities. This includes working from home where possible, social distancing, washing our hands thoroughly and regularly, and isolating when required.
I have applied to volunteer at KISC in 2021. What happens to me?
We have contacted everyone who applied to volunteer at KISC during 2021 with instructions. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us directly.
Please note that being selected for 2021 does not automatically secure you a spot for volunteering with us in 2022. Instead, we will be going through the recruitment process again to ensure all applicants a fair chance.
I want to volunteer with you. Can I still apply?
Absolutely! We are only limiting our services temporarily, and we are going to need an army of enthusiastic Pinkies once we are back to our normal operation (from February 2022). You can find our current vacancies here.
We do not yet know when positions for 2022 will open, but we will promote it through our social media and newsletter once we start accepting applications.