Scouting in Switzerland
Everyone probably knows the scouts from their home country – the international scouting movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell and now has around 42 million members in over 200 different countries.
In Switzerland, the scouts are called ‘Pfadi’ which is a short form of ‘Pfadfinder’ which just means Scout. There are other groups too with similar activities and aims – for example Cevi (run by the Protestant Church and associated with the YMCA) and Blauring (organized by the Catholic Church).
Both my children are in Pfadi and love it, so I wanted to share some basic information for those of you who are interested, as things are done a bit differently here in Switzerland!
Kids can join from Kindergarten age and then join the ‘Biberstufe’ (Beavers) who meet every other week. The next level is ‘Wolfstufe’ (Wolves) which is for children from 7-11 years old and after that, they join the ‘Pfadistufe’. The two younger levels are mixed boys and girls; from 11-14 they are separate. After the age of 14, children have the chance to continue and train as leaders. That’s the good (and slightly scary!) special thing about Scouts in Switzerland: it’s run for children, by children (or teenagers/young adults).
When and where do they meet?
The children are assigned to a group, led by around 3 Scout leaders, and meet every weekend, usually on Saturday afternoons for 3 hours, during school term time (the youngest children only every 2 weeks, for 2 hours).
You find out the time and meeting point on the website – the information is posted towards the end of the week and includes what the children should wear (always weather appropriate clothing plus their Pfadi shirt and scarf, often a snack, sometimes Swiss army knife, things to dress up in, something to grill…) The meeting point is often a school house or the Pfadi Centre, which is opposite the Uster Swimming Pool, on the other side of the Highway.
What do they do?