“So how to lead, that’s what you’ve learned!” Here’s what someone should know: Sibyll Kindlimann (89) of Schwanden GL was the Leitlipfad National Lead early – and is a walking scouting story: part of it from 1944, active at federal level from 1958, federal leader from 1971-1979 and from 1979 to 1983, president of the Swiss Scout Association (BSP). When Meitlipfadi and Bubenpfadi merged in 1987 after five years of difficult negotiations, she was co-chair of the mergers committee. Co-chair, because the committee was chairman of Meitli and one of the Bubenpfadi (Swiss Scout Association). But more on that later.
After the initial resistance: Goms will soon become a big city(2:48)
In the conversation, Kindlimann asks quite early if I, the interviewer, was also in Meitlipfadi. I am. “Then we say thank you,” says who in Scouting was also called “Bill” – because of her voice, which was always deep – “not because I smoked, by the way!”
The fact that she has learned to lead is evidenced not only by the merger, which was very successful for women’s concerns, but also by her subsequent career. Kindlimann was the first rector of the gymnasium in the Canton of Zurich: from 1986 to 1999 she was the head of Kanti Winterthur. In addition to her cultural involvement in the Winterthur museum landscape, she was also active as a politician: in 1974, she was one of the first two women to be elected to the Winterthur city council.
Federal Councilor, City Councilor, Rector – all ex-paths
Thanks to this remarkable career, she is in the best company of Girl Scout – at least if you look at some of the early Swiss “Movers and Shakers”: Elisabeth Kopp, Switzerland’s first federal councilor; Josi Meier, first president of the Council of States; Esther Maurer, former Zurich city councilor and police chief, were all in Meitlipfadi.
Sandra Maissen is no longer as active in Scouting as she used to be as former co-chair, but “of course” will visit a federal camp next week. He also says, “Maitlapfadi continues to shape my professional and private life to this day” – and only means positive things. From friendship and relationships with my husband to leadership qualities, team spirit, assertiveness and creativity: many things started as a scout. And she also asks for the name of my scout first. “Silex,” I say, named after the flint. “I am Cosinus, Cosi for short,” says Sandra Maissen – and I am with her by name too.
Women have learned to take responsibility
The connection that is born from the common scouting past, which did not even have to be together, works to this day. In various departments, divisions and branches, in different generations. But that’s not all: Kindlimann and Maissen are not surprised that many former Meitlipfadi leaders occupy early (and current) leadership positions, some of which have been hard-won by women. “Meitlipfadi was the only place where Meitli and the young women could take responsibility for themselves, learn to plan things – and also realized that the world doesn’t end when something goes wrong,” says Kindlimann. “It made us willing to take risks that would otherwise be more difficult to take.” And he sees another strong point of Meitlipfadi: “The boys were very focused on the technical side: knots, rope bridges, Morse code… we did it all, but we had more room for creativity, we were more fun, we came up with mottos, there was room for imagination. It affects later in life: you are braver, you are more courageous, you are more creative. ” And Maissen says: “If you take to heart the principles and methods of Scouts, such as speaking out, taking responsibility and engaging in society, a man or a woman can do good – for society, for others, for nature and for yourself.”
All of this has been possible at times since 1911, even for women who were a generation younger than Kindlimann. During this time, the first Girl Scout groups were formed in Switzerland, inspired by the English scouting movement that Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell had released since 1907. England is still a great example, and networking with English girl scouts gives young Swiss women an unconventional look that was rare at the time: international cooperation and contacts allow both Sibyll Kindlimann and, a generation later, Sandra Maissen, to organize scouting camps in England – everything self-defined.
The first quota regulation in Switzerland
The fact that this free space for young women was combined with a scout in 1987 had practical and financial reasons, says Kindlimann. “It was just that organizing warehouses and materials was easier that way. Or publish a joint newspaper. But they were very afraid of being swallowed by the boys. “We were creative, determined; and those who had undergone Red Cross training for scouts like me even knew how to set up a makeshift hospital. And we were younger, more internationally connected and closer to the general youth movement. We didn’t want to give it up. “
But the social reality was different: “We women have never been asked what we want. In society – everywhere – people just ruled. ” It was the same with the merger – initially. At meetings, says Kindlimann, the young men often said, “We propose this and that, you will certainly agree.” And that wasn’t properly framed as a question. Kindlimann said dryly that young women sometimes disagree.
But Kindlimann, as co-chair, insisted on the basic structure of the merger:
No young person runs a scout department – one and one department head must always jointly lead important tasks and functions at the cantonal and federal levels. Only in the youngest groups and teams, where the needs are often very different, it is decided whether the genders should be separated or joined.
Kindlimann won in the merger committee on the basis of the principle of shared management, i.e. the always shared leadership and responsibility of man and woman. This is still the case today. Consequently, the ideas, concerns and suggestions of men and women are treated equally by scouts and have a positive effect on each other.
Another positive echo: “Bienli”, the next-generation Meitlipfadi level, whose name is associated with “hardworking” and “determined” compared to “Wölfli”, no longer exists. Since 2008, in the second and final stage, they are all called “wolves”.