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TG'13 goes to Our Chalet

TG'13 is the newest Trefoil Guild group in Dundee, established in 2013 (hence the name). To celebrate their 10th birthday, five members visited the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Centre, Our Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland. They signed up for “International Friendship Week” - a week of organised trips and activities, with full board at Our Chalet. Find out how they got on ….


Special place

Our Chalet truly is a special place – the combination of location, history, ethos and the people. We all felt this, and found the opening night’s pinning ceremony moving. Was it the swirling mist, the reading of a letter read at the first camp there, or the singing of the Our Chalet song as the flag was raised?

Our Chalet

We were a group of 27 in total, aged from 18 upwards, from Scotland, several states in the US, Canada, Australia and Mexico. Some had travelled alone, some in pairs and there was a large group, who called themselves “Scouts About”, as there is no equivalent of Trefoil Guild for US Girl Scouts. Activities were in mixed groups, and we all got to meet everyone else over the week.


Adventures

Our activities included new experiences, city tours, adventures, hikes and a leisurely boat trip.

We learnt the sport of Eisstock – a lighter version of curling, hiked through a deep gorge cut into the rocks and tried out glass blowing (and the challenge of bringing a delicate 4-inch glass ball home).





One highlight was kayaking on Brienzersee, a glacial blue lake on a hot, sunny, afternoon.


We also visited the cities of Luzern and Bern, and took a cable car ride to Bidmi. We then hiked back downhill following a marble run – pitching our wooden marbles against each other.


The onsite day was packed full of team challenges, looking after a hard-boiled egg, and culminating in building a contraption to protect it when dropped from the attic window. It was great fun to share Guiding skills with each other, making fires and shelters, as well as learning to whittle and playing “minute to win it” games.


We also took our "Make a Splash" Girlguiding Scotland duck with us, who enjoyed many of our adventures too.


Our WAGGGS sisters

As well as the others on our trip, we met the volunteers and paid staff at Our Chalet, representing many different countries. We discovered just how much we had in common with our WAGGGS sisters from around the world. We chatted about camp memories and realised that we sang the same campfire songs. We also learnt about the differences between Girlguiding/Girl Scouting in different countries, uniforms, organisational structures, age groupings and cookies. By the end of the week we had made new friends from all over the world.


Practicalities

Staying at Our Chalet involves shared bedrooms (we put in requests for our roommates when we booked), and shared bathrooms – there were plenty and we never had to queue. You eat family-style, around large wooden tables, with stunning views, and it’s a great way to get to know others on your trip. There are no chores except for one person on each table who serves the evening meal and clears up. Packed lunches are made up at breakfast time, and you can make tea and coffee at any time in the T-bar common room.


We managed to continue our Ice Cream challenge badge tasting, and also sampled many coffee and cakes on our travels.


We took the Dundee-Edinburgh Airport bus, flew into Geneva, and took trains from the Airport Station to Frutigen, where there is a bus to Adelboden. The public transport system is properly integrated and connections are good. If you arrive during office hours, Our Chalet staff will arrange to meet you to take your luggage up the hill, or you can book a taxi to take you at any time.



Amazing experience

It was an amazing experience, with fantastic weather, a time to have adventures and to enjoy meeting women from around the world who were also involved in Guiding or Girl Scouting.


We are left with wonderful memories, a bag full of swapped badges and our lovely trip badge.





Group

We hope our experiences will encourage others to consider attending an Our Chalet programme event in the future. Check the Our Chalet website for details of future events.


If you would like to support Our Chalet, please consider buying something from their Amazon wishlist.


Trefoil Guild is for anyone aged 18 or over - find out more about Trefoil Guild in Dundee.


Ramanee Bengough, Frances Dent, Sue Emmott, Alison French, Una Milne
























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