Our Chalet offers exciting 3-6 month volunteer leadership placements that run with the European seasons; winter, spring, summer and autumn. Specialist volunteers help out with everything but focus on one area.
Taking part in our volunteer leadership development programme as a Volunteer Specialist equips you with practical work skills in your chosen area, leadership mindsets, and a way to give back. All while enjoying fun and international friendship in the Swiss Alps!
Our Chalet offers four types of Volunteer Specialist opportunities: Programme, Guest Services, Kitchen, and Marketing & Communications.
SPECIALIST VOLUNTEER - PROGRAMME
Support and deliver our programme in an amazing mountain setting. Support the programme team in creating, planning, delivering and evaluating Our Chalet’s programmes and events in accordance with Our Chalet’s aims and objectives.
Support the Deputy World Centre Manager and Programme Coordinator in all elements of programme, from completing paperwork to making bookings to leading activities.
Our programme is focused on leadership development and outdoor education. You can expect to be outdoors whatever the weather and need to bring a positive attitude to keep participants happy and engaged even in the rain! All our programmes, from hikes to castle tours, incorporate leadership development opportunities with a focus on the WAGGGS leadership mindset and “challenge by choice”.
We are open to all genders and run programmes for all ages, our Programme Volunteer works with participants from age 5 to 99+! Depending on the season, you may work mostly with one age group (e.g. in summer our programmes are open to 11-18 year olds) or a mix (in spring we run programmes for the youngest (age 5-7) to the oldest (Trefoil groups). Some of our programmes are mixed age and open to members and non-members.
As with all volunteer roles, the Programme Volunteer is also expected to help with cooking and cleaning on a rota basis and when needed.
- Programme Delivery
– To take a lead role in delivering outdoor and indoor educational programmes.
– To maintain / improve programme materials and equipment including its storage.
– To assist with the training of volunteers and support them to lead programmes.
– To ensure guests are provided with all relevant programme information prior to and during their stay.
– To ensure programme activities comply with all health and safety regulations as required by Swiss legislation and WAGGGS.
– To lead and coordinate the day-to-day running of day and evening programme, including the running of programme meetings
- Programme Administration
– To deal with correspondence relating to all programme events: information and guest programme activity bookings for all seasons in a timely manner.
– To contribute programme information to the Centre’s quarterly and annual Performance Related Indicators.
– To assist with supplier bookings as required during the season.
– To take charge of welcoming and informing programme guests about their programme bookings upon arrival.
- Programme Promotion / Public Relations
– To provide input to promotional material that meets the requirements of WAGGGS on programme events for the Our Chalet website, Our Chalet newsletters and other WAGGGS publications.
– To build on and sustain the network of contacts within WOSM, WAGGGS and suppliers used during programme events.
– To represent Our Chalet and WAGGGS when necessary.
- Help out in all areas at Our Chalet, including in the kitchen and with cleaning. All volunteers, including Programme Volunteers, will receive kitchen and cleaning training and will be assigned ‘guest services days’ and kitchen shifts.
- To complete ‘duty person’ overnight shifts on a rota basis.
- Occasionally to cover Reception and ensure all enquiries are met with a high standard of customer service.
- 18+ years of age*
- Member of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) or World Organisation of Scout Movement (WOSM)
- All applicants must be willing and able to join the WAGGGS Volunteer Pool and be endorsed by their Member Organisation during the application process.
- Very good verbal English and excellent written English skills (English is the working language of Our Chalet). French, Spanish, Arabic, or German skills are a bonus.
- Experience or training in leading outdoor education programmes.
- Valid First Aid qualification or recent First Aid training.
- Physically and mentally fit to live in shared housing and work long hours at altitude (1,350m above sea level). Volunteers with disabilities are welcomed, please contact us if you have questions about the suitability of our volunteer placements for you.
*If you do not hold and EU/EFTA passport, Swiss visa rules mean you must be aged under 36 at the time of volunteering and have not previously had a volunteer visa for Switzerland. There is no upper age limit for EU/EFTA passport holders.
All applications must be endorsed by your Member Organisation’s International Commissioner before any placement can be offered.
- Experience in and a passion for outdoor activities (in all seasons)
- Experience leading groups, particularly in the outdoors
- Customer Service experience
- Work experience with high customer service standards
- First Aid qualification or recent training
- Experience volunteering
- Excellent spoken English and very good written English
- Experience supervising others
- Have an understanding of WAGGGS and the World Centres
- Girl Guiding / Girl Scouting experience at a national or international level
- Knowledge of Our Chalet
- Experience of working in an international team
- Experience of working in a residential environment
- Knowledge of environmental issues and leadership development
- German or French language skills
- Experience as “on call” or “duty” person in a residential setting and responding to urgent/emergency situations
- High computer literacy including experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook)
- Excellent communicator with the ability to effectively give instructions to groups of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
- Patient and friendly attitude
- Excellent written and spoken English
- Physical and mental ability to work long hours in a physical role
- Outdoor first aid skills with recent training or current qualification
- Setup and use of basic technology: laptops, projectors, sound equipment
- Awareness of the importance of timely, open and constructive communication internally and externally
- Written and spoken German or French
- Additional foreign language skills
- Risk assessment skills
- Learning opportunities to gain valuable work experience in outdoor education and residential programme as well as administration and hospitality.
- Free full board (three meals per day) and lodging in shared staff housing in the beautiful Swiss Alps!
- Working in a truly international environment in an English language setting.
- Leadership and professional development.
- Learning new life and work skills such as time management, running outdoor activities, cooking, and guest services.
- Learning new Guide and Scout games and current WAGGGS topics to share at home.
- Support from staff team in planning and delivering personal projects.
- Free laundry facilities.
- Free wifi.
- Access to a range of equipment such as hiking boots, hiking poles, sleds, snowshoes, bicycles, etc.
- Nine days off per month, 1×3 day period off during your season.
- Two days free accommodation before and after your volunteering dates.
- Staff Day Out.
- Uniform provided for your time here.
- Our Chalet staff necker for you to keep.
- Staff challenge badge to work on.
- All the awesomeness of the Swiss Alps on your doorstep, plus many European countries with easy reach to explore!
When you submit your application you will receive an automated e-mail confirming receipt of the application.
Our volunteer team aims to reply to all volunteer applications. However, due to the high volume of applications received we prioritise contacting applicants who have applied to volunteer over a time when we have a need.
Our team will be in touch with applicants about next steps after the application deadline, for the season applied for, has closed.
Our Chalet will provide you with all meals, accommodation, uniform, use of self-service laundry facilities and wifi access in designated areas on site for the duration of your stay.
If you are worried about money, you should look into financial assistance options. You will need to cover your travel costs, souvenirs, & things you want to do in your free time. Our Chalet has a scholarship fund that you can apply to for travel assistance. Depending on where you are travelling from, we are usually able to offer travel scholarships of CHF 500 – 1000. You may also be able to apply for assistance from your national Guide/Scout Organisation or local community organisations.
To apply you need to complete both Part A and Part B of the application form, linked to below this box. All forms must be completed in full, although including a photograph is optional (we are happy to receive forms without a photo).
Return both forms to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly stating in your e-mail which season and role you are applying for.
Please note: if you are successful at interview your application must be endorsed by your Member Organisation’s International Commissioner before we can make an offer of a placement. You may also be asked to provide contact details for two references.
Are you curious what volunteers in each season are doing at Our Chalet? How does a day to day life look like? Read their stories in Chalet Chatter – the Our Chalet staff blog.