CAUTION! This article might contain inspiration to apply for Director of the World Scout Centre

From a Short Term Staff in 2007 to a Director's chair for 5 years. From a casual joke of being the Director to actually leading the World Scout Centre. How does one become a Director of the Permanent Mini Jamboree?
Felipe KISC Director
We have asked Felipe, the outgoing Director, about his journey, learnings and feelings from the past years as Staff and Director of the World Scout Centre.

For how long have you been working at KISC?

I started in 2007 as a Short Term Staff in Autumn, straight away I knew I wanted to become Long Term Staff and that’s what I aimed for. I became Reception Manager for a year and a half starting March 2008. After going back to Brazil for a few years I came back in 2014 as Deputy Director. So I guess in total it has been 7 years and a few months. 

When, how and from who did you hear for the first time about KISC?

I heard about it in the Brazilian National Jamboree in 2005 at a network meeting. A Brazilian ex-pinkie was doing a presentation about KISC and it looked amazing.

Do you remember anything from your first day as a Short Term Staff?

I remember a guy in a pink T-shirt as waiting for me at the station. His name was Dan from New Zealand, he picked me up in an old Subaru. I was just so amazed by the mountains and the view, and then we got to the Centre and everyone was so welcoming and they just made me feel at home straight away. Everything was Scouts, all the scarves hanging around the Chalet, the flags in the front. It was quite magical. I remember arriving to the staff accommodation. I was gonna share a room with two other guys, and I was the first one to arrive and got to pick the best bed.

Did you then come back as a Long Term Staff?

After my short term staff season, I was sure I wanted to be long term staff, so I applied for a couple of positions and got offered Reception Manager. I started in March 2008 and extended it until October 2009. I would have stayed longer if I could, but my visa was expiring. Working in Reception was a great step for me, because that’s when I realized that I really enjoyed making people feel welcome and at home, and that was the perfect job and place for me to practice that. After that job I decided to change my university degree from Music into Hospitality Management, so I started that in January 2010 when I was back in Brazil. 

If someone would tell you that you are going to be once the Director of the World Scout Centre, what would go through your mind?

That’s funny actually, because a few people did say it.

That same guy Dan who picked me up from the station and the Programme Director at the time, a guy called Mustard, both said to me I could be Director one day.

I’m sure it was more of a joke back in the day, and no one ever thought it might happen not even me, as I thought it was such a different world than my reality, so I never really considered it, but I guess it turned out to be true. 

Do you remember when you told your parents that you were going to stay at KISC as the Director? Do you remember their reaction or their first words?

As a kid I used to say that, when I grew up, I wanted to be a professional Scout, because Scouting was the thing I enjoyed most. I was 24 when I became Deputy Director, and a year after I was being offered the opportunity to lead the Centre. So when I told my parents, they were thrilled and very proud, although that was just the beginning of a great journey. Mum was always a little sad that I chose to live so far from home, but they understood that this job meant I could have a positive impact in the lives of so many people and keep alive this important Scouting place. They were very supportive.

What did you enjoy the most about your role as the Director?

The role is so versatile and diverse that I got the chance to experience Scouting in so many levels. One of the most amazing aspects of running the Centre operations is doing it with young volunteers from all over the world. The overwhelming majority have little to no experience in running a business, not to mention a hospitality and adventure business, with catering services and glacial walks. Yet, through the Scout method, shared values, and by empowering them to do things that they normally wouldn’t have the chance to do this early in their careers, they truly step up to the challenge and take accountability for it. I am not only amazed by what our Scouts can achieve, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of them and working beside them. 

Another great aspect of the job is that you get to be a part of Scouting at World Level and interact with those who are strategically thinking about the future of the movement globally. But not only are you seeing it from a “theoretical” point of view, the real Scouting experience is happening just outside your office window, with kids playing games with others from the opposite side of the earth, learning about sustainable energy and the environment, and going on adventures, challenging themselves and learning at every moment. Truly a unique perspective on Scouting.

When you look back, do you have some favourite and memorable story or moment that comes first to your mind from the past 5 years?

It is really hard to pick one, as there have been so many memorable stories and moments. I tend to really enjoy seeing the differences in the behaviour of our staff from when they arrive and when they leave, and see how they’ve grown but also how they tend to leave with a warm heart full of new friendships and unforgettable memories. In addition, one of the most incredible feelings inexperienced is being around our campfire in a warm summer evening. A thousand people present, in multicolored uniforms, singing in over 10 different languages, dancing in different ways, but all of them with the same big smile. They all share this warm feeling of joy and belonging.

The world comes to one at KISC, and you can truly feel the greatness of peace and human cooperation.

You can lose yourself in that moment and feel the magic of Scouting and the magic of Kandersteg.

Which skills do you think you have improved thanks to this role?

It would be easier to make a list of skills I haven’t improved. From fundraising to driving tractors, I have got to learn and experience a lot. But if I had to pick the most important ones it would be the leadership skills. All the skills needed to be able to inspire and motivate others towards a common vision, and to enable them to achieve their full potential. That is definitely the set of skills I needed the most and improved the most.

For sure, there were many amazing but also challenging moments during these last years. What did you learn from those challenging times and problems that came along?

For sure there have been many challenging moments, and from them I learned to keep my brain calm and functioning in all circumstances, that you can always count on the team for support, and utilize their skills and strengths. It was really important to look back at all the achievements we already had and keep focused on the desired outcome. Most importantly, that we are stronger together.

What was your favourite way of relax from work?

Exercising! Running, skiing, walks with the dogs. Anything that would take me to the outdoors and keep my body moving!

Is there anything you would like to say or advice to the future Director of KISC?

It is the job of the Director to keep B.P.'s dream alive and to embody the values of Scouting and KISC. B.P. said, the best way to be happy is to bring happiness to the lives of others. So, my advice would be:
Try to pour happiness into the lives of others through all you do, make mistakes, learn from them, be yourself and get some sleep. 

This is a last and the hard one. Do you find one word that summarises your last 5 years at KISC?

Belonging! From making the Scout that come to KISC realize they belong to a global community, to feeling myself like I belonged to this Centre.
It can all be summarized in this: Belonging. 
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