I opened my blogs this year with the words “Excuse me is it always this cold?” If I am honest that summarises, in part, this year in Adelboden! This area of Switzerland and neighbouring Italy experienced its coldest summer since 1985 this year! Some of the groups reading this won’t recognise a cold Adelboden as they regularly had temperatures in the mid 30’s! Others will remember dancing in the snow at the top of the Schilthorn, hailstones the size of marbles and waking up to see a completely white Engstliegenalp!

My other overwhelming memory of this year I think I will call “Guiding Spirit”. Whatever injury, weather or altitude sickness threw at them, the songs simply increased in volume and the Guides showed their true colours – and they were beautiful! As the riots raged back in the UK, I couldn’t help thinking that I was with the young people Britain should be proud of. Sharing the countryside, learning new skills with their new friends and by discovering more about themselves as women, learning how to ‘give back’. I am in no doubt that what Broken Britain needs is a big dollop of “Guiding Spirit”.
To all the leaders I worked with this year: you should be really pleased with your girls, and their values – they did you and Britain proud. Thank you for giving up your holidays to traverse the Swiss countryside with other people’s children!
I would also like to extend a huge thank you to ALL of the groups I was privileged enough to meet and work with this year, in particular: the Goldalming district Guides, The Staffordshire Guides, 1st Hampton Guides, 69th B Belfast Guides, 1st Viewpark boys Brigade and the ISGF. Thank you for indulging my enthusiasm and teaching me new songs and jokes. Thank you for the presents and cards and smiles and hugs (and left over food!). I take home with me now memories of all of you.

Undoubtedly this Summer would not have been even 1% as much fun for me if it were not for these groups. I can walk to the woodcarvers any day – but I can’t sing “the hills are alive…” at the top of my lungs whilst sailing down the hill in the brilliant sunshine making aeroplane shapes with just anyone. I did it with YOU – Thank YOU! I hope very much to see you again on your guiding journeys – perhaps even in Adelboden!

A mountain of thanks too to all those back at VA HQ who were working hard behind the scenes to make sure coaches came on time and everything was where you needed it to be. Unrepayable gratitude to Charlotte and Kate – always a joy when you answered the phone and I know the groups appreciated all your hard work too!
Merci vielmal to the Trummer Familie and all those at AFA (Adelboden transport) and the staff at Our Chalet. I look forward to working with you all again next year!

So in the infamous words of that famous Austrian “I’ll be back”. I will build another Jungfrau snowman, I will photograph another ice sculpture. I will clap along to Edelweiss and maybe even find one growing. It will not be the last piece of “Kaesekuchen” I taste and this is not the end of Charlotte’s guiding Adventure! Please come back and share it with me! I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them, now you’ll just have to wait for the next instalment in 2012!

‘Until we see each other again’, or as I prefer – Aufwiedersehen,