Crisp snowy mountain air, quaint Swiss chalets, hundreds of fluttering International flags and the chattering blue Kander river, it was like walking into another World. Wow, stepping off that train at Kandersteg train station I couldn’t believe I was finally here! All the stories and pictures I’d seen, the magic of Kandersteg International Scout Centre, it was real.
What struck me the most on arrival was how one can be a complete stranger walking into a room full of people from different countries, and yet it’s instant family. So many new names, faces and languages but all wearing a Scarf. Opening parade and graduation was truly a meaningful moment, standing there with Scouts from around the World, one promise, one symbol, one family standing beneath the flags and strong Swiss mountains.
Week 1 - “ To dare is to lose ones footing momentarily but to not dare is to lose oneself”
That first week in becoming a pinkie was crazy but so much fun, jam packed with training, village and site tours, games, culture evenings and little sleep. Not to mention the wave of new names, places and jobs. With the help of the Long Term Staff and Helpers, we quickly got submerged into life at KISC and an adventure of a lifetime.
Week 2 - Joining the Pinkie family “Talent, Time and Heart”
A significant moment was after graduation, where we went down to the laundry cave and could pick out a pink shirt and could pin on our new name badge! On job training was next, House, Grounds and Catering. These are very important functions of KISC, and we learned the ins/ outs and not to flood or burn the place down. I’d always been scared of catering but grew to love it, working with a grate team and having a fun thyme. Once again the patience, support and encouragement of the LTS’s made such a difference - as Aiden (our Catering Assistant) said “It doesn’t matter how many times you ask the same silly question, rather ask then don't ask” - we really learn by doing and mistakes are just part of the process!
Week 3 and 4 - Getting deep
By this time we were more into the swing of things, in-charge and duty training began as well as deep cleaning. Low season may be quieter on the guest side but not on the job side. The whole Chalet erupted into organized chaos, waxing the floor and deep cleaning the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. Spending the morning scrubbing with a toothbrush, spray gun (steam cleaner) and toothpick or chilling on the floor (spot checking) or driving the monsters for waxing… “life of a spring pinkie”.
"Be yourself and get sleep”
One definitely has to take into account the advice given at the start to manage your time and get enough sleep. Life at KISC is never boring and even at work there’s good laughs, company and music, there’s nothing like it. If that isn’t enough almost every evening there’s something going on… Sardines (game) in the chalet, folk dancing in the town hall, movies in the World Europe room and music around a campfire. Every week there is a Staff Night Out, a definite highlight and a great chance to connect and get to know fellow pinkies and experience new things… Skating, sledding and eating local foods. Spring season you arrive in winter and leave in Summer, so for someone who’d never grown up in this magical white world, it has been incredible. Snow ball fights, avalanches and learning to ski! It’s been snow beautiful and I’ve made memories I’ll glove forever.
It’s amazing how quickly one becomes family, learning about each other and oneself in a whole new way.
Yes there’s differences but “KISC is the place where you can be your best person”, I don’t know how I’ll be able to leave my new home.
I asked my fellow Spring Shorties to describe their first first four weeks at KISC in few words...
Unexpected - Luís (PT)
Overwhelming - Liz (AU)
Good times - Cassio (DK)
Mountains - Sputnik (CH)
Magical - Alberto (ES)
Amazing - Le (BR)
Very Good- Edward (MY)
Creating family - Miriam (GT)
Discovering - Eli (ES)
We all look forward to meet you at KISC this season!