Kandersteg International Scout Center
Founded in 1923, the World Scout Centre was the dream of Lord Baden-Powell and is open to groups and individuals throughout the whole year. It provides an excellent base for exploring the Swiss Alps, for sightseeing excursions and for meeting lots of other people from all over the world. The Centre occupies 17 hectares of wooded ground at the southern end of the village. The Centre programme is designed to allow guests to experience new activities with people from other countries in the beautiful Swiss Alps. Around 12,000 young people visit the Centre each year from over 35 different countries, ensuring a unique international atmosphere.
The Chalet provides accommodation for 204 people in 32 rooms with between 3 and 22 beds in each. Most rooms are equipped with tables and chairs, providing a (small) living area. Five fully equipped kitchens allow several groups to live together while also having their own space. The Chalet provides several common rooms, modern sanitary facilities, souvenir shop, meeting facilities, postal service, public telephones, coffee bar and a laundry.
The Kander-Lodge is our newest building and is located across the river from the main Chalet. The accomodation consists of 18 twin bedrooms, with every 2 rooms sharing a bathroom, 1 twin room with its own bathroon and a 6 bed room, also with its own bathroom. In the same building are drying facilities and a large indoor programme area. The Kander-Lodge is perfect for families, conferences, seminars and groups.
The Sunneblick came into ownership of KISC in 2009. It has 47 beds in different rooms, a large common room, a fully equipped kitchen and a sitting room. It is available for use by a single group at a time.
The Tower, a self catering accommodation on the campsite, has accommodation for 57 persons, comprising 4 rooms with 12 beds and 1 room with 9 beds, and provides ideal privacy for one group at a time. In addition to showers and toilet facilities, there is also a large, picturesque recreation room with an open fireplace and balcony, as well as a fully equipped kitchen.
The Campsite can accommodate up to 1,200 people on more than 50 different sites. While close to other groups, each group can be sure of their own pleasant campsite and campsite equipment is also available to rent. All sites have running water nearby and there are toilets and showers close at hand.
The Centre also has an Alpine hut in the nearby Ueschinen Valley. All groups staying at the Centre have the option to be catered for by the Centre staff while staying here.
A full time Director, assisted by an international team of volunteer staff staying from three months to several years, is responsible for the Centre throughout the year.
KISC is not associated with any one National Scout Organization.
The Centre is governed by the KISC Association with over 700 members world wide, who meet every two years at a General Assembly and elect a Committee, in which WOSM has two permanent seats, and a Steering Committee. These Committees look after the long term strategic direction of the Centre and plan for the future. We also have a Foundation that owns, and helps us manage the development of, our buildings and grounds. The operational running of the Centre is done by the Director and Staff team- the Pinkies
Kandersteg is easily accessible for groups, by car, train or plane. The Centre can help groups with their transport by arranging coach transfers at a competitive rate, for groups over 20. For a quote and booking please contact the Programme Staff. We can also provide luggage transfer from the local train station to the Centre, if booked in advance through Reception for a small fee.
Most European motorways will bring you to Spiez - 30 minutes north of the Centre. Travellers from the South use the Goppenstein car-train through to Kandersteg.
The main international airports are located in Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Milan. Zurich and Geneva have their own train stations and the train system is punctual, multi lingual and easy to use.
Easily located for most European countries with routes via Bern, Basel or Brig. For Swiss train timetables and prices visit www.sbb.ch/en.
Google Maps can help you plan your travel to Kandersteg. Click here for an example of a trip from Zurich Airport to Kandersteg or see the map below. Other routes are also available.
Switzerland / Suisse / Schweiz
Fax. : ++41 (0)33 675 82 89
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : http://www.kisc.ch
Environmental features of the Centre:
KISC is in the Berner Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. We are at 1,200m above sea level, in the Kandersteg Valley. We are in an excellent location for exploring the mountains. On our Campsite we have a rare protected wetland or Fillefalle that’s home to numerous rare and protected plants and insects. We have 17 hectares of woods with a wide diversity of wildlife, from kingfishers to squirrels to steinbock. We manage the woodlands with the help of the local forestry service.
Through our grounds flows the beautiful River Kander, which consists of melt water from the Kanderfirn Glacier 14 kilometres upstream. The River Kander changes, with the seasons, its flow and colour, serene and blue in the Autumn, gently clear and crisp in the Winter, wild ferocious and murky in the Spring and in the Summer, strong and fast with a cloudy blue grey colour. There are also numerous freshwater streams.
The rock faces on the surrounding mountains provide fantastic examples of folded rock and illustrate beautifully the powerful forces of nature and geology that brought the Alps into being.
Kandersteg village is rich in history and heritage. Travellers have been crossing these valleys for hundreds of years to use the Gemmi and Lötschen Passes at the head of the valley. The passes are traditional North - South trading routes. We have access to many kilometres of hiking paths in the surrounding mountains as well as climbing routes and bike paths.
Access to surrounding environmental places of interest:
KISC is adjacent to the newly extended UNESCO Natural World Heritage Area of Jungfrau - Aletsch – Bietschhorn. The extension (first inscribed in 2001), expands the Natural World Heritage Property to the east and west, bringing its surface area up to 82,400 hectares up from 53,900. The Natural World Heritage Property provides an outstanding example of the formation of the High Alps, including the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Europe. The Natural World Heritage Property features a wide diversity of ecosystems, including successional stages due particularly to the retreat of glaciers resulting from climate change. The site is of outstanding universal value both for its beauty and for the wealth of information it contains about the formation of mountains and glaciers, as well as ongoing climate change. It is also invaluable in terms of the ecological and biological processes it illustrates, notably through plan succession. Its impressive landscape has played an important role in European art, literature, mountaineering and alpine tourism.
KISC runs a Snow & Ice programme on the Fründen Glacier, the Kanderfirn Glacier and the Wildstrubel mountain. This is a great opportunity for Scouts to learn about and experience glaciers.
KISC runs activities in the peaceful Gastern valley. It is one of the most beautiful alpine valleys in all of Switzerland. This narrow valley is bordered by the towering walls of Balmhorn and Doldenhorn massifs. The river Kander flows from the Kanderfirn Glacier down through the valley, where you go from rocky harsh terrain with goats, steinbock and marmots to beautiful woodlands with a vast array of rare wildflowers and especially orchids.
KISC has a hut in the Ueschinen Valley, unlike the gentle and delicate nature in the Gastern Valley, the Ueschinen Valley is wild and harsh, with its rocky environment and avalanche scars.
Environmental Education Programmes Available :
We have a series of information boards and posters describing our environmental practices in the buildings and around the Campsite.
We have an Eco Adventure Room where our Guests can take some time and browse through our Eco Activity Leaflets, sit and relax on our comfortable sofas, play some of our eco-exciting board games, talk to our plants, read up on the local environment or just relax with the latest National Geographic magazine.
We have a Nature Zone, a place of peace and tranquility where guests can appreciate the breath taking surroundings. Located next to our protected wetlands (The Fillfalle) guests can observe rare alpine plants and butterflies and listen to the gently flowing waters of the Fillfalle.
Environmental Management of the Centre + Environmental features of the Centre:
Our environmental practices are very much ingrained in the running of the Centre. Our Environmental Policy is designed to minimise our impact upon the environment - be that locally or globally.
KISC’s impact on the environment and its adherence to the Environmental Policy is assessed every 2 years. An Action Plan containing specific targets, actions and goals is followed. Click here to download our Environmental Policy as a PDF file.
Our Eco Team made up of Long and Short Term Staff regularly analyse and audit our performance, giving ideas on how we can reduce our impact. This method of working helps us to take the best ideas from all over the world and tailor them to our needs making the Centre more environmentally friendly everyday.
Here are a few examples of our Environmental Practices:
- We have a very advanced system of recycling for Guests and Staff.
- We use bicycles wherever possible instead of the vehicles.
- We have maintenance Staff to repair instead of replace broken items.
- We use a wood burning stove to heat the Chalet and provide hot water.
- The timber used in the wood burner comes mostly from our own managed forests and is dried for two years to maximise efficiency.
- We use energy saving light bulbs, timers and sensors to reduce our energy consumption.
- We use solar energy to heat the water in some of our campsite shower blocks.
- The Tower is heated using water (heat – exchange system) from the Lötschberg train tunnel.
- We use eco friendly chemicals for cleaning.
- We have an eco friendly laundry system.
- We buy Swiss products wherever possible from local suppliers.
- We buy fair-trade coffee and tea
- During Staff training a large emphasis is put on the environmental practices and our staff are strongly encouraged to improve their personal environmental footprint.
Main achievements to dates:
- Hold the European ECO Label for good environmental management
- Ecological heating system for the Tower
- Constant development of the Environmental Policy and the reduction of the environmental footprint of the Centre
Goals for the future:
- Installation of a grey water system in the bathrooms of the Chalet
- Replace current oil heating with renewable sourse
- Renovate Sunneblick with efficient heating system powered by renewable energy
Languages the centre can offer activities in:
The language of the Centre is English but we do have some activity leaflets available in Italian, French German and Spanish and where possible we do try to assign staff that have a common language with the guests.
Our Website and most of our information is available in English, Italian, French German and Spanish.