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Great experiences, new friendships and lots of exercise – thanks to our summer camps

07.10.2022 – Annegret Voigt, Leader of the Swiss Challenge camp & Fabienne stocker, Youth Service of the OSA

After a two-year interval, this year’s OSA summer camps once again offered memorable experiences for young Swiss Abroad – in the Fieschertal valley (VS), in Jaun (FR), and in a camp that took them all over Switzerland.

The suspension of the summer camp tradition of the Youth Service of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic finally came to an end in July 2022. A total of 110 young people from 40 countries took part in three summer camps – in the Fieschertal valley (VS), in Jaun (FR), and in the “Swiss Challenge” camp that crisscrossed all of Switzerland.

Open-air cheese fondue

At the sport and leisure camp in Fieschertal, we spent two incredible weeks together with 46 campers in the heart of the Valais mountains. We made the most of the area’s well-known and spectacular suspension bridges and hiking routes. As is customary at the Youth Service camps, we treated ourselves to typical Swiss food, including a classic cheese fondue enjoyed outdoors. However, one thing became very clear – classic Swiss cuisine is not for everyone.

A fun way to learn new languages

The second summer camp began at the end of July in Jaun, Fribourg. The 40 participants spent two weeks exploring the Gruyère region. The camp was also a pioneer of sorts as it was combined with a language course for the first time. During the two-week camp, around half of the campers were able to improve their German or French in the morning classes. There was also a range of exciting activities for those who chose not to attend the language course. The group programme with all campers participating offered a diverse array of highlights including a visit to a chocolate factory, hiking, and a wide variety of outdoor sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, kin-ball and ultimate frisbee. The hours spent around the campfire and sleeping in a tent also provided memorable moments.

A chat with Ignazio Cassis

And last but not least, the popular “Swiss Challenge” camp started on 6 August and crisscrossed all of Switzerland. The 24 participants spent 16 days travelling through seven cantons and all four language regions. This year the itinerary led from Montreux to Berne, then on to Davos and Lucerne and finally ended in Lugano. One of the camp’s definite highlights was a meeting with the president of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis. It was much more than just a photo opportunity as the young people were allowed to ask President Cassis all manner of questions. The questions ranged from an explanation of Swiss neutrality, to the voting age of 16 and his favourite football club.

Organisation of the Swiss Abroad SwissCommunity, Youth Service, Alpenstrasse 26, 3006 Berne, Switzerland | email | www.SwissCommunity.org | +41 31 356 61 25

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