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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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Blog | 08 February 2024

New UK–Kandersteg uniform badge launched


A new badge for young people and volunteers in UK Scouts who’ve visited the Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) in Switzerland launches this week. Keyur Patel, UK KISC Ambassador and Callum Kaye, Chief Volunteer for International, say it’ll help strengthen the already powerful ties between UK Scouts and the famous home for Scouts in the Swiss Alps.

‘The mountains are calling,’ said John Muir, the climber and environmental activist, ‘and I must go.’

Since 1923, when Kandersteg first opened its chalet doors and began formally welcoming Scouts, over one million young people have since answered this call. For many, a visit to the internationally famous Scout centre, 1,200 metres up in the Swiss Alps, has become a right of passage.

The image shows Scouts in outdoor gear standing together raising their arms in the air in cheer. They're standing on a grassy hill with snowy mountains in the background.
Scouts enjoying a mountain of adventure in Kandersteg.

A permanent jamboree in the mountains

The idea for an international home for Scouts came from the Founder of Scouts himself, Robert Baden-Powell. The first World Scout Jamboree, that took place in 1920 at London’s Olympia showed the huge benefits of bringing together Scouts from different countries and cultures.

He realised that it could help promote peace and friendship between the nations, especially after the global cataclysm of the First World War. His dream now, was to find a place for a ‘permanent jamboree’ where Scouts from every country could meet and call home. 

This dream came one step closer to reality in 1921 when the Chief Scout of Switzerland, Walther von Bonstetten, chanced upon an empty chalet, originally used by construction workers, in the village of Kandersteg. He thought it was exactly what Baden-Powell was looking for – and Baden-Powell agreed.

On 12 February 1923, the Scouts International Home Association (a less than catchy name) was established and word soon spread about the uniquely welcoming and inspiring atmosphere. Not to mention the spectacular views!

The image shows a Scout in a light blue t-shirt with their back to the camera. They're holding their arms out to the sides and they're a distance away from a blazing campfire in front of them. A distance behind the campfire are lots of other Scouts gathered together. You can see the rain pouring down.
Scouts gathered round a rainy campfire in Kandersteg.

Improving and expanding

From humble beginnings, the centre grew with ever expanding facilities, but the basic idea remained the same. It was a place to inspire new friendships and ideas, where Scouts and volunteers could share experiences and be re-energised.

Many UK Scouts not only visit the centre, but become ‘Pinkies’, the affectionate name given to its brilliant team of volunteers. They’re so called because of their brightly-coloured shirts. 

A badge to remember and inspire

Those who visit Kandersteg, never forget it. And this is one of the reasons we’ve introduced this new badge. For the first time ever, we have an official uniform badge for those UK Scouts (adults and young people) who have visited the centre.

The idea is that it becomes, not just a point of pride, but a talking talk to encourage new generation of young people to discover Kandersteg for themselves.

The new badge may be worn by any young person or adult volunteer in UK Scouts.

Adam Jollans is Deputy UK Lead Volunteer for Perception and KISC Marketing Advisory Group Chair. He first visited Kandersteg as a Venture Scout.

In Kandersteg, I’ve watched the sun rise from a mountain summit, shared meals with Scouts from around the world, and learned the importance of protecting the environment. Kandersteg International Scout Centre is a place where great and magical things happen. But perhaps the most important is the impact that KISC has on people’s future lives and their communities back home. In a very real sense, Kandersteg begins when you leave.

Adam Jollans, Deputy UK Lead Volunteer for Perception

The image shows the blue UK - Kandersteg badge. It's navy blue with a lighter blue border, a white fleur-de-lis sitting at the bottom with the text 'UK - Kandersteg' just above. Just above that is the Kandersteg International Scout Centre logo in light blue.
New UK–Kandersteg badge

Improving the centre for the Scouts of tomorrow

A donation will be made to KISC for every badge sold, helping improve the facilities and programme at the centre.

Jack Higgins, Director of KISC, warmly welcomes the new badge.

‘From the very founding of the centre over 100 years ago, the UK has always been a key part of Kandersteg International Scout Centre. Nowadays almost 4,000 UK Scouts visit KISC every year, meeting other Scouts from around the world, getting out into the mountains and learning about our environment.  Additionally, many Scouts from the UK have volunteered at KISC as a ‘Pinkie’, the name we give to our volunteers. Both the current Director and Chair are from the UK too!

Jack Higgins, Director of KISC

This badge is a great way to support KISC, as well as to celebrate and remember the many experiences you’ve had on your trip. And of course it also helps raise funds to keep improving the centre for future generations.

Aidan Jones, Chair of KISC

Get your badge today

The new badge is available now from Scout Store. As a partnership badge, it may be worn on the right sleeve of uniform below your District and County/Area badges, and any leadership stripe or Group badge.

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