Jenna Goodwin, Jemma Lee and Elizabeth Moody all took part in the recent WAGGGS Europe Region Volunteer Training at Our Chalet. Here Elizabeth reflects on her experience:
When I applied I thought that the chance of being accepted was slim to none as my experience levels weren’t everything I felt Europe Region wanted. So I was shocked and stunned when I got accepted. When I got over the excitement of being accepted then the feeling of doubt came in, moments where I questioned my experience or knowledge began. I questioned did I have what it took to make the most out of it for myself and for the team I was to be a part of. This feeling persisted till boarding the plane to Switzerland and arriving at Our Chalet as many of the people I met had more experience, but one thing for sure I wasn’t going to let my doubts slow me down.
I was one of three girls going to Our Chalet from Ireland to take part in the training. I was the only one to sit on the communications working group as the other two, Jenna and Jemma, were to be in the External Relations working group (you can imagine the confusion this caused two girls from Ireland whose names were basically the same, with similar features that both were on the same working group)! Our trip to Our Chalet was long and each of us took one bus to the
The day continued with a few icebreakers and more sessions about the strategies of the individual working groups and, for those not in the know, what they were about. Thursday focused on two of the key areas – Gender and Diversity and Growth. After the sessions all the countries came together to have an international night where we got to share food and entertainment from the different countries.
The next morning there was a slight change of plans. Originally, we were supposed do our sessions in the morning and go for a hike in the afternoon but due to the weather this was rearranged. So after breakfast we all set out on our hikes – one to the village and one to the mountain in weather that could only be described as standing in a cloud with visibility only an arms width ahead of you and a constant drizzle of rain (the Irish were in their element). We were told this was better than the weather forecast for the afternoon. With this in mind I decided to join the group trekking to the village as there was a chance of shelter and a hot drink instead of imagining seeing the mountains. So we set out in all the waterproofs and warm layers and we arrived at the idyllic village of Adelboden where we took part in a scavenger hunt and only got as far as the question about the café where we stayed and chatted for the remainder of our time. We hiked back up to Our Chalet just in time for lunch.
That evening after dinner we took part in an exercise on Gender and Diversity. We listened to music from different countries and tried to guess where they were from and, let me tell you, I failed miserably: modern music is almost impossible to guess. We then looked at the kind of world we wanted to live in and the obstacles that were in our way but, in typical Guiding fashion, we didn’t just sit around and talk about it we visualised it through a game. Each person wrote on a sticky note two characteristics of the society they want to be part of. Then we wrote on two balloons our obstacles. We then helped each overcome these obstacles by bursting each others’ balloons.
The next morning was the last of day of the training weekend and there was already a feeling of sadness about leaving. We started off the morning again in our Working Groups to finalise our plans and figuring out how we were going to achieve our goals. After this all the Working Groups came back together to discuss their strategy and goals for the triennium. As well as discussing how we, each group, could work together. This is very
The journey back to Ireland wasn’t as long or as complicated as the journey to Our Chalet, I wouldn’t even change that for the world or all the Badges in Our Chalet.