Kandersteg - 2004

MAKING DREAMS A REALITY

    Last summer sixteen Scouts and eight Leaders from the 12th Warrington East Scout Group, experienced one of those scouting moments that leaves you with memories that last a lifetime. Twelve months preparation, saw us leave by coach, last August, for the 24 hour journey to the Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland . We shared the journey with Scouts, Explorers and Leaders from the Stretford District in Manchester . This was an extra special occasion for some of those amongst our party; Leaders who knew about the beauty of Kandersteg; to those Scouts who were travelling abroad for the first time in their lives.
 After the long journey we crossed the border and entered the final part of our journey. All aboard the coach, were captured by the beauty of Switzerland . Snow capped mountains (even in the height of summer) clear fresh air and breathtaking views. The buzz of excitement grew as the bus ventured down through the village and pulled up on the parking area in front of the International Chalet, adorned with flags of those nationalities that either worked at the centre or who had visited throughout the year. 
  We had booked to camp, mainly because the chalet is booked so far in advance, but had taken the option to have our meals in the dining room. This we would share with Scouts from around the world. UK neckers embroidered with our name were worn throughout our stay. All ages, races and cultures would mix and share their experiences over the duration of our stay.

Everybody is so friendly, Scouts would stop and talk to you, the “Pinkies” would help in whatever way they were needed and the local population took their time to be helpful. Our programme was non-stop, the reason was simple, as we wanted to experience as much as we could on our Groups first ever trip abroad. 

We varied our activities, much thought was placed on when we did the activities and those that were held at Kandersteg, which were a must do at all costs. Our trips out took in the Thermal pools at Brig the Gruyere Cheese Factory, Nestle Chocolate factory and the train ride up to the summit of the Jungfrau. Each was completely different. Brig Thermal Pools were warm and relaxing and within short train and bus ride. The Scouts certainly enjoyed the various rides, which included
water slides and rapids. Cheese and Chocolate was chosen as a visit, as these are two the main exports of Switzerland . The visit to Nestle was very enjoyable as you could sample as much chocolate as you wanted. Just make sure that you have a bucket handy on the coach afterwards. But the Jungfrau for me, was mesmerising and one of the
highlights of our visit. You take a train ride through the mountain itself. You have to stop at viewing stations that look across the crevasses. The reason for stopping is to acclimatise yourself. Near to the top you stop at a station, built into the rockface which is 11000 feet above sea level. Two hours wasn’t enough time, but the Scouts still managed to have a snowball fight, ride on the zip line and visit the ice caverns and their sculptures. We ended the day by hiking across the base of the Jungfrau and the Eiger down into Grindlewald.
    

     On the site itself, we took part in the volleyball and football competitions, sang at the campfire and shared our cultural delicacies at the International Night (Cheshire Cheese and Scones). We also visited the local swimming pool, travelled by cable car up the mountain to visit the lake at Oeschinensee and rode the toboggan sleigh. This was great fun, as it is a 750 metre meandering chute, which you ride at great speed on small carts.  

 Another worthwhile activity was our white water rafting experience on the River Aare Seventeen miles of breath taking scenery that eventually saw us finishing in Berne . 
Scouting is all about sharing experiences and I know for some who had the opportunity to enjoy an invite from the Italian Scouts that; that is one of their fondest memories. The whole trip was brilliant. There is a magic about Kandersteg and I for one am proud to have shared it with my Scouts and fellow Leaders. My fondest memories are the fun and laughter, draughts
championships, beef soup, singing a Thai song at the camp fire, meeting Scouts of all nationalities and the beautiful clear sky of the morning and the star filled sky at night. All the preparation and time is worthwhile when a Scout in my party summed up his thoughts by saying “that was the best holiday that I have ever had” 

 “Por que nao vens viver a Magia de Kandersteg”

 

 Translated means “Why don’t you come and join the magic that is Kandersteg!” 

Jon Davies, Scout Leader 

 

 





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