Frequently asked questions
Find the answer to your question
How are you dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kandersteg International Scout Centre is currently running with temporarily limited services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more information about this here.
What changes and safety measures have you put in place during the pandemic?
Can I apply for a Long Term Staff positions even if I have not been a Short Term Staff before?
Of course! Some positions might require previous staff experience, but then it would be explicitly written in the essential requirements.
Can I apply to be a pinkie if I'm physically disabled?
It is important that anyone applying to volunteer at KISC understands that life as a Kandersteg Staff member in the Alps environment can be demanding, as the Centre is located at 1,200 metres above sea level. Our selection team will not discriminate according to health conditions, however it is important for KISC to know how can we support the volunteer’s general physical and mental safety and well-being while volunteering at KISC. Therefore, it is very important for the applicant to assess to what extent they would be able to volunteer in the different areas of KISC.
On another note, KISC provides an accident insurance to all volunteers but short term volunteers such as Short Term Staff are responsible for covering their ownhealth insurance. Therefore, it is important for you to look into what your requirements whilst in Switzerland might be, particularly as medical costs are known to be very expensive.
Considering the above, we would encourage you to think through all aspects of the KISC volunteering programme and how you could make the most of the experience while in a safe environment. We hope this helped and will be looking forward your application! If you would like to discuss your application by phone or ask any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and ask to speak to the Staff Development Director.
Can I withdraw my application after submiting it?
Yes, just let us know as soon as possible by email if you cannot volunteer at KISC anymore.
Does KISC have facilities for disposal of chemical toilets (Motorhomes, RVs, etc.)?
KISC does not have any facilities for disposal of portable / chemical toilets, nor are we aware of such facilitites in Kandersteg. We advise campers with that need to contact the coach company AFA in Frutigen.
Does the Kanderactive brochure still exist and is it available for download?
Yes, you can download the latest Winter Kanderactive here. However, we advise you to browse through the Programme & Adventure page where you can print or download details of filtered activities. In the future, KISC is going to publish a general programme brochure with a summary of activities on offer.
Do you have a record of any lost property?
Yes we do, please contact email@example.com for more information.
How big are the campsites?
Our sites have different sizes ranging from 15 - 80 people. We measure them in the number of people they can fit and will allocate you a campsite according to the number of people in your group.
How can I book my accommodation?
For booking your stay, visit our accommodation page where you can check the availability of different building types. You can send your accommodation request directly to us - follow the instructions on the booking page. After submitting your request, our Staff will come back to you with an update about your request.
How do I book activities?
After your prepayment for your accommodation has been confirmed, log into kisc.ch to make your programme selection. This is a request form only as our activities depend on availability. Once a Staff member has processed your requests, they will come back to you with an update on your selection.
How far is the village from the Centre?
The Centre is located approximately 1.5km from the village centre and train station. There is also a local bus which runs hourly from the Train Station to the Centre during the day time.
I have several different food allergies, is it possible to be catered for?
This is in most cases possible, make sure to talk to reception more than 7 days in advance to make sure we can see what the possibilities are.
I've been selected as staff, can I arrive a couple of days earlier to my starting day?
Of course it is a possibility! Just make sure you communicate and coordinate about this as much in advance as possible.
My availability doesn't match the vacancy volunteering period... can I still apply?
For Short and Long Term Staff roles, we prefer candidates that are available for the whole time as we start those positions with an induction and training period that helps the volunteers performing their jobs. For helpers we usually also look at specific dates but the volunteering periods are more flexible in their duration.
Just let us know what is your availability when you apply and if you would be able to complete the volunteering cycle period.
When is the earliest we can arrive?
Your room or campsite should be ready for you to check-in from 14:00. If you arrive earlier than that, you may need to wait.
Can ex-staff get a discounts?
Once a volunteer at KISC has completed a season at KISC and officialy become "ex-staff", they can enjoy discounts on overnights and catering when booking their stay. If you are ex-staff and booking your stay to come back, please make sure you mention that you have been staff in the past!
Can I have dinner throughout the evening?
Dinner starts at 18:00 - please be on time! In July and August dinner will be served on a rotational basis, please check the seating times and be on time. Unfortunately, it is not possible to hold your dinner or make saved plates.
Do you offer any discount?
We want KISC to be accessible to as many people as possible, that's why we follow WOSM's guidelines on fees. This means if you're from a category A, B or C country you can get a discount of up to 75% on all our accommodation. To find out which category your country belongs to, check out scout.org
To apply the discount to your accommodation, just ask during the booking stage on our website, it's that easy.
How are Campsite spots allocated?
We aim to provide each group with their own campsite. Although if your group is small and there is enough space for two groups, it may happen that you will share your campsite.
How can I book other services (Catering, Activities, Rentals) ?
After we have confirmed your booking and you have paid your prepayment, you can log in into KISC website and start requesting these services through our online request forms. Our Staff will come back to you after processing your requests. Please note: the services are subject to availability and our Staff will send you the final confirmation for the requested services according to the availability.
I really want to apply for STS for next year, but I don't have my passport yet. Can I apply anyway or do I have to have my passport first?
If you are already in the process of getting it, it is okay to send it to us within a few days from sending us the application. If you happen to be selected and we will not have your passport, your spot will be offered to someone else.
What are your opening hours?
We are open to guests 7-days a week 365 days a year!
Reception Opening Hours:
Summer and Winter: Monday - Sunday: 08:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00
Autumn and Spring: Monday - Sunday: 08:15 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00
Outside of these hours, a sign will show how staff are contactable using the red phone at Reception
When do programme bookings open?
For booking activities in our Summer season, bookings open on March 1st at 10:00 CET. For any Winter activities, reservations open on October 1st at 10:00 CET. Please try to plan your programme before this date and send your Programme Order Form as soon as possible after we open bookings, as we operate on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis and activities will become fully booked, especially during our high season around August 1st.
When is the latest we can arrive?
Our Reception is open until 18:00 and until 20:00 in July and August. If you arrive after Reception opening hours, you need to let us know in advance, so we can make sure a staff member is available to assist wiht your provisional check-in. When arriving later than 22:30, instructions will be left for you at the Reception.
Please note that late check-ins are only provisional, so you will have to meet our reception team the following morning to finalise the check-in.
Can I cancel meals on the morning of?
Meals have to be cancelled 48 hours prior in order to avoid food waste.
Can I drive to my campsite to unload all materials and luggage?
Unfortunately driving on the campsite is not allowed. Our campsite is car-free. However, we have Trolleys and post carts available to transport your materials from the parking spot to your campsite.
I am staying indoors, will I get a room key?
Every room and guest kitchen has a key. It is up to you if you want to use one. The deposit for a key is CHF 40.00 and you will get the money back upon returning the key. For leaders, it is also possible to put the deposit on the bill, so you don’t have to worry about having cash on you.
If I apply as STS, can I come later than when the season starts?
In the first couple of weeks of the season we will be training all of our volunteers—therefore it is important that you are available for the whole time. If you won't be able to join for the full training, we might need to consider offering the vacancy to people on the waiting list.
When can I pay for activities?
It is possible to pay for your activities before you arrive at KISC or during your stay. However, we recommend paying for your activities when you check out.
When is the latest we can check out?
You need to check-out from all indoor accommodations by 10:00. The check-out time for the Campsite is 11:00 o'clock. A staff member will come to the room/ campsite before your departure for a check-out. The room/campsite needs to be tidied by the group before the staff will come for a check-out.
Why do I need to log in to kisc.ch?
By logging into kisc.ch, you will be able to start requesting additional services like catering, activities and rentals. Once logged in, you will be able to save your price calculations, and you will be able to go back to it at any time. After finalising your request, you are ready to send it to us.
Are there any indoor social areas?
We have several communal rooms and areas available. Our shared common rooms are the Eco Adventure Room, the High Adventure Room (includes a fireplace), the Main Hall (includes a fireplace) and International Friendship Room. These rooms must be booked in advance and are rented for your exclusive use for a daily rate. Meeting and seminar rooms can also be booked in advance by groups (outside of summer). Please contact Reception for more details and room availability.
Can I pick up my food orders at all times?
Food orders can be picked up from 7:15 onwards. Our catering staff is available until the end of dinner to hand out your food orders. When the dining hall is closed, please find a member of Staff to inform Catering for you.
How do I pay for activities?
If you are staying with us, the activities you book will be added to your final bill. When closing your bill, we accept both cash and card payments.
I don’t have enough money yet collected from people in my group to pay a prepayment. Can I pay later than the date you wrote me to pay?
In order to confirm your booking, we do require your prepayment. If we have not received your prepayment by the due date, we will send prepayment reminders. After going through our prepayment reminder process and have not received your prepayment we will cancel your booking. If you really can't pay for your prepayment at the time being,contact our reception staff to see if any alternative solutions can be found.
I'm just 16 and the required age to be staff is 18. So, can I apply now and join later when I'm 18?
One of the requirements to become a staff member at KISC is to be at least 18 years old on the day you arrive here. You don’t need to rush with the applications when you are 16. You can apply about half a year before turning 18.
Is there Wi-Fi available on the campsite?
There is no Wi-Fi directly on the campsite, however, there is free Wi-Fi available at the Chalet.
What do we have to do for check-out?
Please close your bill the night before departure during reception hours at the main reception. On the departure day, please come timely for your check-out as a member of staff will make sure you have left your Room / Campsite tidy.
Please follow the check out guide in your room or provided during your campsite check-in for full instructions.
Can we rent any campsite equipment?
Yes, of course! You can rent tents, dining and kitchen tents, tables and benches, stoves, cooking sets and gas from us. We also have several items available for a deposit, incl. adaptors, multi-plugs, gas regulators, axes, mallets, etc. For more information and prices see the bottom of our Accommodation page.
Do I need to pay to become Short Term Staff?
Our Short Term Staff are here on an entirely voluntary basis. However, there are a lot of other benefits included, such as accommodation, food, accident insurance and staff programme. You would have to organise and pay your travels here yourself, possible visa fees and some pocket money to cover your personal expenses while in Switzerland.
I have a severe allergy on certain food products. Can I still book meals cooked by you?
While we do our best to cater to the different requirements, we prepare all the meals in the same kitchen, so we can not guarantee that the meals are 100% allergen free. If you have a severe allergy, we recommend cooking for yourself.
I’m not from EU/EFTA country and I need visa to enter Switzerland. I will need an invitation letter. How does it work?
There are a few requirements before we are able to supply a Visa Support letter. These are;
- Complete booking form to create a booking
- Pay your full amount of accommodation costs
- Supply a scanned copy of your passport
- Supply a letter from your NSO confirming your membership
- If you are a non-Scout, then we review this on a case by case basis
Is there Internet available for Guests?
Free Wi-Fi is available in the Old and New Chalet, Kanderlodge and Sunneblick. The Campsite and the Tower do not have a direct Wi-Fi connection.
What is the cancellation policy on KISC activities?
We have lots of groups wishing to do activities, and once an activity is booked, we have to turn away other Scouts. To encourage realistic activity bookings, we charge a cancellation fee for changes or cancellations within 7 days notice. This fee is 50% of the cost of the activity per person, or CHF 5.- per person, whichever is larger. Changes or cancellations within 48 hours before the start of the activity will not be refunded.
Do you have a place for storing valuables
We have a limited amount of guest lockers available in our Old Chalet and on the Campsite for storing your valuables. There is a CHF 40.00 deposit on the key.
Do you have pioneering poles available?
We have a limited amount of pioneering poles in different lengths from 1 m to around 5 m. We can offer each group approximately 15 poles for pioneering for free. Pioneering poles are not allowed to be modified or cut in any way. In case pioneering poles are returned damaged, we will charge CHF 20 per damaged pole.
If I apply as staff will the Centre support me financially?
We do not guarantee any direct financial support to Short Term Staff. However, we do our best to fundraise money and apply for different projects to provide some extra support. Long Term Staff receive a monthly pocket money of approximately CHF 400.- .
My country is not a member of neither EU nor EFTA, but I would like to volunteer with you, what are to possibilities?
If you don't have an EU/EFTA passport, you will stand a better chance if you are under 35 years old at the time of your work period, as that is the age limit for the visas we can receive. Once you are selected, all necessary for the work permit will be organised with you.
What is the cancellation policy on external activities?
If the activity is not run by the Centre, (e.g. River Rafting, Paragliding or Mountain biking) then you may have to pay the full price if you cancel too late. The cancellation policy varies depending on the external supplier. Please check the official website for each external company for their official cancellation policy or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What language do you speak at the Centre?
English is the official language at the Centre. Most of the time you will be able to communicate in other languages, but it depends on the current staff team.
Do you have a shop?
We have a small shop in our Main Chalet selling souvenirs, ice cream, snacks and some soft drinks. We accept Swiss Francs. We also accept certain foreign currencies, but only take notes. These are US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros. Our shop also accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Do you offer rope or other pioneering material?
We do not offer any kind of ropes or material for pioneering. Please bring your own ropes. You can buy ropes in smaller amounts in the village.
I have never been a staff before, can I still apply to become a Helper?
In general, we only take Helpers who have been staff before—especially during the busy times when we don’t have the capacity to train non ex-staff. Those busy times are usually also the only times we would need Helpers for. Therefore, it would very much depend on the time of the year and our Helper needs. Sometimes we do take Helpers who haven’t been staff before, but if we have plenty of requests from ex-staff to return as Helpers they get priority.
What are the general rules?
- Quiet time is from 22.30 – 07.30, according to the law of Kandersteg.
- Alcohol is not allowed in public areas.
- Smoking is prohibited inside the buildings and public spaces. For smoking, please find the designated smoking areas
- Fireworks are not allowed and will be confiscated.
- All our guests must sign to agree on our General Terms & Conditions.
- Before going into the mountains and leaving the valley floor on hikes etc. a ‘Route Card’ must be completed and handed into the Front Office.
Who are the ‘Pinkies’?
The Pinkies are our Staff and can be recognised by the bright Pink t-shirts they wear daily. The Pinkies are here to help you. They are volunteer Scouts and Guides from all over the world and, although they might not be professionals in tourism and hospitality business or may not speak your language, they will always do their best. So, relax and enjoy your visit to the Permanent Mini Jamboree!
Can we make fire on the campsite ground?
It is not allowed to have fires on the ground. Open fires are only allowed in our shelter fireplaces, marked campfire circles and fire barrels. To empty the fireplaces, we have ash bins around the campsite.
Do you have Risk Assessments for each activity?
All our KISC led activities have current risk documents produced according to Safety in Adventures standards. Our safety documents are for internal use within our organisation and ensure that all KISC led activities are provided in a safe and enjoyable way.
We encourage groups to make risk assessments for any self-guided activity, and we provide the necessary support for this such as self-guided hiking routes and detailed descriptions about external activities through our website.
Is it possible to do an internship at KISC?
Sometimes KISC offers the possibility of an internship. In these cases, we will have the opportunity showing up in the Jobs & Volunteering page. If no internship positions are available, you may still choose to do your internship at KISC, either as Long Term Staff or Short Term Staff, for which particular frameworks and same selection processes apply.
Is the water safe to drink?
All the water running from the taps and fountains around the Centre is drinking water. However, DO NOT drink river water - glacial minerals are dangerous and can seriously damage your body! We also ask that you do NOT swim in the river Kander as the river is dangerous; the water is very cold and the current is very strong.
How do we pay our bill?
Please come to Reception the day before your departure during opening hours so that you can settle your bill. You can pay in cash or with credit card. It is only possible to close your bill at the Main reception during opening hours.
I have a Scout who is under the age requirement for one activity, can they still take part?
The age limits are set on each KISC activity for the safety of the individual and the whole group. Our insurance adheres to the age limits set by us, and so they must be followed, with no exceptions.
What gas do you have?
We offer Propane gas and Butane gas. Propane gas costs CHF6/kg and Butane CHF16/kg and will be charged after usage. The gas bottle gets weighed before given out and after you return it. The difference is what you have used and will be billed.
What if bad weather prevents us from doing our activity?
It may happen that the weather is too bad to run your activity. We will do our best to offer another activity to suit your group if we decide to cancel to planned activity due to bad weather. Alternatively, if we have to cancel your activity, a full refund will be given.
What to do with recycling and garbage?
Recycling is our top priority at KISC. If you stay in our indoor accommodation, you will find recycling stations all around the buildings. If you stay in our campsite, you will be provided with a recycling kit to collect your recycling, trash and food waste before bringing it to the recycling centre during the opening hours.
Can I overpay my bill and withdraw the refund in Swiss Francs at Reception?
It is not possible to transfer a large amount of money to our bank account and withdrawal it at Reception.
What gas regulators do I need?
Most European regulators adapt to the Swiss system. You need a regulator with a 21.8mm x 1/14" left thread. We have a limited amount of regulators available for a deposit of CHF 20 at our Campsite Office.
How are toilets/showers separated?
We separate our toilets/ showers for male and female. Unfortunately, it is not possible to separate for leaders and children.
Are there fridges available to store food?
We have fridges available for guests. All fridges are for shared usage, and the food needs to be labelled with the name of the group. Fridges cannot be booked for personal use and need to be shared.
What currency will I need?
In Switzerland you need Swiss Francs (CHF). At the Centre, you can pay your bill using Swiss Francs or foreign currency notes (British Pounds, Euros or US Dollars). We also accept debit cards (Maestro, Visa Electron & Post Finance) and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard & American Express).
Where are the internal KISC activities held?
Most of our Workshops and Weekly Activities are held on-site, either in the Centre or on our main Campsite. Our guided hikes and climbing activities are located in Kandersteg and the surrounding valleys.
Where is the Rodelbahn and where does it go?
The Rodelbahn is a 750 m long Summer Sled Run situated at the top of the Oeschinensee Gondola. The Rodelbahn is a loop which brings you back to the start after speeding through the scenic Swiss mountains with your friends.
How do the Rodelbahn tickets work?
We sell discounted Rodelbahn tickets here at the Centre for children and adults. We sell them as single rides or bundles of 5 rides. However, more than one person can use tickets from the same bundle. Tickets from us are sold at a cheaper rate but must be used before 11:30 in the morning. Afternoon tickets can only be purchased directly through this website.
Is it possible to receive messages (by telephone / email) whilst here?
Any letters, e-mails or phone messages for our guests will be displayed on the ‘Guest Mailboard’ to the left of reception. Unfortunately, we can’t personally deliver messages to anyone, so it is your responsibility to check this board regularly.
Is there electricity on the campsite?
Electricity is not available on our campsite. To charge your phone or other electrical devices we have a limited amount of guest lockers with plugs available. In exceptional circumstance for electricity on the campsite, please contact our Staff Team before arrival.
Do I need an insurance?
Kandersteg has a local doctor that provides basic treatment for sickness and accidents, a nearby hospital, and mountain rescue team. Switzerland provides an excellent service - but it is very expensive. We recommend you to arrange private insurance for accidents, mountain rescue, and sickness. We do not offer insurance services for our guests; please arrange your insurance in before arrival.
Is transport to and from my activity included?
For KISC guided activities, all transport is included in the price of the activity unless stated otherwise. For external activities, the price of the activity does not include transport, and this is something that you would have to arrange. We can, however, offer advice and discounted train and bus tickets.
What kind of camping pegs do you recommend?
As the ground is very rocky, we recommend you to bring solid iron pegs!
Can we buy discounted train tickets to the airport from KISC?
Unfortunately, we do not sell train tickets to any airports in Switzerland. Train tickets that can be purchased from the Centre include return tickets to; Thun, Brig, Interlaken, Boltigen and Bern. A company called Switzerland Travel Centre often offers discounted tickets between any Swiss airports and Kandersteg. You can find out more here.
How are the campsites affected by heavy rainfall?
This varies from campsite to campsite and can be from very well drained to very muddy. We have a good amount of wooden walkways and pallets to help groups on muddy campsites. You are not allowed to dig any trenches or holes into the ground, as this will destroy any grass on the site and affect the experience of other campers coming to the site after your stay.
How do the hut food packages work? Do we need to order food for our guide?
When you stay in one of our two KISC mountain huts, you have the option to order a hut food package. The food is provided by us; however you will have to carry this up to the hut with you. You will have to cook for the Pinkie guide at the hut. However, you do not pay for their food. The hut food package includes dinner and breakfast for the next day, it does not include a packed lunch, so this would have to be ordered separately.
What’s the village like and how far it is from the Centre?
Kandersteg is a small traditional Swiss village with a population of over 1’200 people. Kandersteg has a developed infrastructure that includes hotels with restaurants, two grocery shops, a drug store, a doctor’s office, banks with cash machine, a Catholic and a Protestant church, souvenir shops, sports shops, a car service and other tourism and leisure facilities (e.g. swimming pool, wellness, indoor climbing centre, village and scout museum, ski jump/ mountain tubing area, etc.). During the Winter and Summer seasons, many local events are happening where you can have a taste of the Swiss and local culture. The Centre is located about 25 minutes by walk from the train station or 5 minutes by local bus. The bus is for free when wearing a scout neckerchief.
I am not staying with you but I would like to book activities, is this possible?
If you are not staying here with us, you can still book onto our activities. However, there will be an extra 10% charge added to the price of the activity.
What do we do if one of our group members gets sick or injured?
If one of your group members is injured or sick, we ask that you contact a member of Staff straight away. Many of our Staff have First Aid Training and can assist you in our First Aid Room or contact the relevant professional service. If you require a doctor, ambulance or other professional services, please notify a member of Staff who will make the request for you. The doctor in Kandersteg is well equipped and deals with most of our incidents. The doctor has x-ray facilities and can treat broken bones. If necessary, the doctor may direct the person to the hospital. If you have used an emergency service which has not been requested by Staff, please notify any Staff at the Centre as soon as possible.
What are the rules regarding alcohol and smoking?
Alcohol is generally not permitted in any public areas of KISC. Exptions must be made by the Director according to our KISC Alcohol Policy. Our rules are according to Swiss law permitting smoking at 16 years old, the consumption of beer and wine at 16 years old and spirits at 18 years old.
If your group has own rules and policies, it is fine as long as they do not conflict with Swiss law. Smoking is only permitted in the restricted areas, and encouraged to be avoided during our activities and around children.
For further information, please see our KISC alcohol policy.
Can I bring my pet(s)?
Pets are welcome on our campsite all year-round. We also have a limited number of rooms that are pet friendly, so if you would like to stay indoors please let us know in your booking.
All pets visiting KISC should be kept under control and on a lead.
Where is the nearest gas station?
The closest gas station is in Frutigen, 12km at the beginning of the valley.