Abelboden: Our Chalet

Girl Scout’s World Site:  Our Chalet

Switzerland. If this were a ski slope, I'd be perched atop the ski jump entering the black diamond course.
Barbara at Our Chalet, hanging on for dear life. If this were a ski slope, I’d be perched atop the ski jump entering the black diamond course.
This was my view from Our Chalet
This was my view from Our Chalet

A visit to the Girl Scout’s Our Chalet was a must for our journey because Maureen, Tracy, Rachel and I got to know each other more than 25 years ago through an on-line chat site on Prodigy for Girl Scout leaders.  We were all leaders of Girl Scout troops looking for ideas that worked for other leaders throughout the country.  While finding ideas, we also found each other.

We were once a group of more than 100 men and women who chatted day and night – you’ll never believe what one person can do with a bandanna or a can of pie filling and a box of cake mix.  Our troops got the great benefit of Girl Scout ideas from people we never would have met locally — this was before the growth of the internet — but we made friends for life.  We are now a group of about 12 and we still talk daily, throughout the day.  But for this very special trip, there are four of us:  Maureen from New Orleans, Tracy from Richmond, VA,  Rachel from Columbia, MD and Barbara from near St. Petersburg, FL.

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Tracy and Rachel at Our Chalet. Thanks to Tracy for many of these photos.

So, of course, we had to visit Our Chalet, WAGGGS world center in the Bernese Oberland.  I expected a big camp site in a chalet high in the Swiss alps with caper charts, places to cook, paths to climb, and lots of camp fire circles.  That’s exactly what we discovered.  I was surprised to find the site a bit smaller than expected and quite shabby due to the constant use of troops from all over the world.  But it’s a camp site, not a resort.

Orientation at Our Chalet
Orientation at Our Chalet

In spite of cold and spotty rain (which marked so many of our camp outs as leaders),  I was so excited to finally visit Our Chalet. There was a big troop of girl guides and boy scouts staying there from England and like every camp out I’ve ever been on, we became quite friendly very quickly.  We received an orientation video and tour with this troop from the interns.

Interns are selected from all over the world to spend six months at Our Chalet in one of four areas:  kitchen, program, guest services, or marketing and communications.  During our stay, I had a chance to speak with a charming intern from Oregon who was taking a brief break after her freshman studies in biology to live at Our Chalet.  She introduced me to a guide from Zimbabwe who was practicing her English and to a husband-wife team from England.

On the day that we visited, the husband had been hiking when he discovered a suitcase alongside the road.  When it was still there on his return trip, he picked it up and brought it to Our Chalet.  He said sooner or later someone would claim it.  You could tell the husband-wife team knew exactly how to interact with guests:  be quick, be friendly, get out.

Our photos tell a better story of Our Chalet.

Sign pointing to Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Sign pointing to Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
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Here’s how to start your world centre story today
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Entrance to Our Chalet
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I got to put a pin in the world map representing my visit from St. Petersburg, Florida. My pin was one of hundreds representing the USA and one of several from the Tampa area.
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Girl Scouts carry on silly traditions as part of the fun. This little wooden beaver gets hidden throughout out each day and when found by the visiting Girl Scouts it’s just one more reason to celebrate with giggles.
Bertha the Bell
Bethany the Bell – everything seems to have a nickname at Our Chalet

Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland

Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland

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Our guide points out the location of Our Chalet in Adelboden
The chairs were donated by Scouts including this chair sponsored by a Florida troop.
The chairs we sat in to watch the orientation were donated by Scouts including this chair sponsored by a Florida troop.
Patches represent the thousands of visits from traveling scouts.
Patches represent the thousands of visits from traveling scouts.
This chest is at least 500 years old, donated by some Girl Scout at some point in time but the explanation is lost to history. Nevertheless, the chest is used every day and battered by the thousands of visiting scouts.
This chest is at least 500 years old, donated by some Girl Scout at some point in time but the explanation is lost to history. Nevertheless, the chest is used every day and battered by the thousands of visiting scouts.
Little flags in a log mark the origins of guests visiting Our Chalet on any given day.
Little flags in a log mark the home countries of guests visiting Our Chalet on any given day.
Indoor fire circle
Indoor fire circle
Hand-carved fire starters
Hand-carved fire starters
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Door latch at Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Door latch at Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
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Shoes off inside all lodges, keeping the dirt down.

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Tracy finds instant common ground with one of the executives at Our Chalet.
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A visiting troop of girl and boy scouts from England hiked up to Our Chalet singing and skipping. We arrived by car at the chalet huffing and puffing.

Loved this badge on one of the scout's backpacks
Loved this badge on one of the scout’s backpacks
The P-nuts with Girl Guide leaders from England. Note our matching jackets embroidered by Tracy before the trip.
The P-nuts with Girl Guide leaders from England. Note our matching jackets embroidered by Tracy before the trip.
Hiking path leading to/from Our Chalet
Hiking path leading to/from Our Chalet
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
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Baby Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
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Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Water is potable. Note the sign that says the source of this water is from a local reservoir.
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Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
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Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland
Scouts are into outdoor activities but I'm thinking we'd have a hard time getting council to approve this one.
Scouts are into outdoor activities but I’m thinking we’d have a hard time getting council to approve this skydiving sport.
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I’ll probably never return here, but I have wonderful memories of Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: barbgrano1

Just let me see the world! I'm currently focusing on the US and Europe and invite you to share my travels. I teach ethics and political science at St. Petersburg College part time; I retired as a college administrator in Ohio. I am a total geek about government with huge wishes for continued freedom and respect for the individual. We must each do our part.

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