I first learned about Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) in the Eurasia Regional Office, Crimea, Ukraine. I was the participant of the Eurasia Regional Training Course "Excelscout-06" in Krasnokamenka, 16 - 23 August 2008. As a result of participating in the Course, I got an opportunity to apply to Kandersteg International Scout Centre as a member of the voluntary staff team. I was very glad to get a chance to live for 3 months in the International Scout atmosphere and to work at the famous Scout Centre in Switzerland.
With the support of the Eurasia Regional Office, I sent an application for Short Term Staff at KISC. Alexander S. Bondar, Eurasia Office Director, wrote the recommendation for my application.
On January, 5th, 2009 I received a letter from Kandersteg with an invitation for me to join the Staff team for the season "Spring 2009“ (15th of March - 13th of June). The letter informed me that for the Spring season at Kandersteg, it is intended that all voluntary staff be involved in the many different aspects of the running of the Centre. This means that you can expect to work in any area of the Centre. I was really happy with the invitation and began to prepare for my trip.
On March 14th, I, for the first time, arrived in Kandersteg. It is a small village in the heart of the Swiss Alps, surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is located about 60 km south of Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The village is situated at a height of 1'200 meters.
Within the first days I had already felt a unique international atmosphere. Everybody was really welcoming. In the first week we all got to know our areas of work, and at the same time we learned a lot of new things about the Kandersteg International Scout Centre as a whole.
Kandersteg International Scout Centre is a World Centre of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The Centre began in 1923 with Lord Robert Baden-Powell, who, after the first World Scout Jamboree, had a dream about a place where all Scouts from all over the world could meet.
The centre can provide accommodation for 250 people in two buildings (The Chalet and the Tower) and space for approximately 1 200 campers. The Centre offers a very wide programme of different activities throughout the year, based on the three main themes of International Friendship, High Adventure and Eco Adventure. After one week of training there was the graduation for the new Pinkies (staff wears pink t-shirts). So I became a member of Short Term Staff at the "Spring 2009“ season.
The Team which works in the Centre is formed with a mixture of Long Term and Short Term staff, organised into 4 seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – and managed by a full-time Director, who is a member of WOSM – European Regional Office staff.
The working language of the Centre is English . So being a member of the Short Term Staff was a good chance for me to improve my English. During the 3 months we worked in the shop, kitchen, campsite, cleaning, doing the laundry, running some programme activities with guests, general maintenance and more. It was hard work (but fun!) constructing the new Kander-Lodge building. The opening ceremony took place on 30th May.
Now, the KISC is able to accommodate more Scouts from all over the world. A lot of guests came to the opening ceremony, including Luc Panissod (Secretary General - World Organisation of the Scout Movement). For three months we worked in a positive, flexible, young, responsible and friendly team, where everyone is willing to help at any time. We worked together with scouts from United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Korea, Ireland, Brazil, Italy and other countries. Everyone was so friendly and I felt we got along very well, like a family.
We spent days off traveling to other parts and cities of Switzerland, skiing and hiking. We enjoyed the wonderful landscape and the fresh air of the Swiss Alps. It was an amazing place.
Being a member of staff at KISC is a unique cultural experience that brings Scouts from all over the World to share, work and live together. It helped me to learn a lot about cultures of different countries, about Scouting in the different parts of the World, to meet new friends, to help this famous International Scout Centre and to gain unforgettable memories and a unique experience.