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“I want to give something back”


Fashion designer Lucrezia Biondi, who lives in Germany, used to go on OSA Youth Service summer camps every year when she was younger. She is now taking the plunge as a camp leader and wishes to take elements of her training for this position and put them into practice in her professional life.

Lucrezia Biondi works as a clothes designer and has her own fashion line. She is a dance instructor, she is learning to become a yoga teacher – and she has also completed her training as a Y+S camp leader this year. Y+S stands for Youth and Sport, the federal government scheme to promote sport. Soon Biondi will be doing a dance project in the south of France. A few weeks later, she will be co-leading the OSA Youth Service camp in Fieschertal (canton of Valais). The 26-year-old obviously has a lot on her plate and a great deal of energy to burn. “I just get a kick out of doing a lot of different things,” she laughs.

Living in Germany, Biondi is a Swiss Abroad herself. Her mother grew up in Geneva, while her father holds dual Swiss and German citizenship. She used to go on an OSA camp every year as a child and teenager. “It was the highlight of the year for me,” she says. “To meet people of my age from around the world, all of them Swiss nationals like me, was always exciting.”

The attraction of team play

It is ten years since Biondi last went on such a camp. “Because I enjoyed the camps so much, I decided to become a camp leader myself. I want to experience that special atmosphere again and give something back.”

Lucrezia Biondi in her day job as a fashion designer. Photo: provided

Biondi did the Y+S camp sports and trekking instructor course in Switzerland. “The course itself is structured like a camp. I thought that was great. The whole camping environment pulled me in again straight away.” Biondi felt particularly energised by the team-play nature of camp sports. “Until then, I had only ever done sports outside the competitive, teamwork setting. This playful aspect of camp sports is missing in fashion, yoga and dance.” The course changed her perspective. “I found that camp sports can really be quite exciting too. I can imagine incorporating these elements in my professional work.”

Chance to catch up with her relatives

There was another good thing about doing the Y+S training course in Switzerland: “I realised it had been a long time since I had last seen my Swiss relatives.” She therefore went to visit them after completing her course. But Biondi not only caught up with her extended Swiss family, but also travelled to the base in Fieschertal where the camp is due to take place. She and the team spent a weekend there preparing for the camp. Anticipation was starting to build, she reports. Nevertheless, Biondi is happy not to have to take on overall responsibility for the camp yet. She is non-committal on whether she wants to be head of camp one day. “I will just do my job and gain experience.”

Biondi still has a fair amount to do before the camp begins. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her part of the schedule and is looking forward to good vibes and a good group of young people. And she cannot wait to return to Switzerland. “I call it home, without ever having lived there.”

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