Updated: Nov 18, 2019
A very long standing Scout tradition is the Summer week long Camp, 1st Colchester have run these throughout there history, rarely missing a year of Summer Adventure. Over the years we have run most of out camps around the UK exploring some of the amazing scenery it has to offer, also taking part in adventurous activities.
We have also taken an opportunity to run international experiences these although obviously more expensive to offer, do provide an amazing adventure. Two years ago the leadership team decided to plan Summer Camp 2019 as an international trip, and after some debating we decided to head to Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland.
We also made the decision to travel by public transport where possible to add to the adventure. The week started with leaving Colchester at 3am to catch the 7am flight to Basel Airport, we then planned to train and bus accross Switzerland to the site.
After travelling most of the day we arrived in the village of Kandersteg, then after a short walk we arrived at the International Scout Centre. We had a busy week planned of exciting activities, some of which would be a train ride into switzerland or even a cable car ride this certainly added to the week.
Our week of activities is outlined below, it proved to be a week of fun that i am surewill not be forgotten in a hurry.
Sunday - Scouts - Crate Stacking Explorers - Jacobs Ladder
Monday - Scouts - River Rafting Explorers - Climbing Course
Tuesday - Scouts & Explorers - Hike to Visit Oeschinensee Mountain Lake
Wednesday - Explore and Relax day - Visit to Kandersteg village
Thursday - Scouts - Climbing Course Explorers - Canyoning
Friday - High Ropes Course and Shopping in Interlaken
Saturday - Mountain Sled Run and Swimming Pool
The week went well and had many highlights, Tuesday however we had a challenge planned, it involved a hike upto the altitude of around 1600m to visit the famous Oeschinensee Mountain Lake. After lunch and a chance to refresh in the lake, we also took the opportunity to move on two of our Scouts in to the Explorer Section, the mountain lake proved to be some impressive scenery for the ceremony.
One of the Main attractions of the site itself is its weekly Campfire that often hosts scouts from various parts of the world, each group is encouraged to provide a couple of songs or camp skits to entertain everyone. Despite some of our members early ambitions we went for some old favourites, which seem to go down well with all.
The return leg proved to be an adventure it itself, we headed back to the airport however during the journey it became evident that our flight had been cancelled due to the problems in french air space.
On arrival at the airport and discussions with the helpful airport staff we found out that our stay was going to be extended. We worked hard to find alternative routes home, we had both the leader team and some parents in the UK looking at options, as we were very well aware that the School term was due to start midweek.
We managed to secure a hotel to accomidate us, dispite our requirements with splitting ages and genders which proved a stumbling block at first. We broke the news to all the young people and although upset all understood the problem.
The airline arranged for a fleet of taxis to tranport us in to Basel to reach the hotel and on arrival the Hyperium Hotel welcomed us, despite us not really being the usual clients of this 4.5 star hotel. They arranged refreshments for the young people and proved very helpful.
In the morning a few of the leaders headed back to the airport to try and make arrangments for the return etc. After a bit of work and help from Easyjet we managed to book on an earlier flight than origianlly offered, and our return would be Wednesday morning. We also then found we were unable to stay in the current hotel due to the avaliable rooms.
The hotel and Easyjet arranged for us to move a short walk accross the plaza to the Swissotel, which once again could not have been more helpful as once again we were not the normal clientel as it was a 4 star hotel. We managed to arrange rooms and meals with them for the few days we were likely to be there.
After lunch at the hotel we headed out to explore Basel, during the evening the leader team got together to make a plan for Tuesday, it was decied we would head to Basel Zoo as we had been provided with passed that aloud travel on trams and half price entry into the zoo. In the moring we headed out and after a short tram ride, we had a nice day exploring the zoo.
The next day we had an early start to catch the early flight out of basel. It was nice to hear from the hotel staff that our members had impressed them with there behaviour and they had enjoyed having us there. I think it had certainly offered a change to the normal visitors.
We arrived safely back in the UK and were back in Colchester for Mid-day. I certainly think this added to the adventure and will make the trip even more memorable.
I would like to offer my massive thanks to everyone who helped us and for parents being so understanding of the situation. We would also like to mention that we were very pleased with the way the young people conducted themself during the week and specially once delayed. We do plan to return to Kandersteg in a few years.
A few pictures are posted below and the camps video diaries and other videos are avaliable in the members area.
The information for next years adventure is being put together and should be released soon, although a UK based year it will I'm sure provide a great experience. We plan to return to switzerland in a few years time.