Sometimes they get out on «Töfflis» – or mopeds, as they are known to non-Swiss riders – and putter around the Appenzellerland. On another occasion, they might have the pleasure of being shown the best table tennistricks by Daniela Müller, the multiple Austrian national champion. Or they might get to grips with their swings at «Hornussen», an indigenous Swiss sport in which one team hits a small plastic disc, the «Hornuss» (hornet), into the field while the other team has to use its wooden «shingles» to prevent the disc from touching the ground.
These and other unusual activities are the hobbies shared by the members of the Hügli Sportclub in Steinach. The club currently has around 90 members. As well as employees of the Hügli locations in Steinach and St. Gallen, they also include their relatives, former members of staff and retirees. The members decide themselves which new types of sport they want to try, and at the beginning of the year they get together to share ideas. At the annual general meeting in March, the members vote to decide what the active group will undertake together over the coming months. «When we narrow down the suggestions, we make sure we have a good mix of summer and winter activities», reports club president Rolando Vidi, who organises the events together with the management team.
Six or seven times a year the group gathers after 4pm on Thursdays or Fridays to do something together. And because it's a well known fact that sport gives you an appetite, they usually go on for a meal together afterwards. To a Hügli catering customer if at all possible, of course, because they will then also benefit from the sports club. And alongside the more arduous activities that bring a glow to the participants’ cheeks, there are others such as the annual «Chlaus Lotto» during the Christmas period. «The evening when you can win lots of fabulous gifts from suppliers playing lotto is an annual highlight for us all», says Rolando Vidi. The Hügli Sportclub was established in 1976. In the early days, the events consisted mainly of hiking and football. The club even took part in international football matches between Hügli teams from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. They also met in a gym once a week for some «physical exercise», as it used to be called. However, after member numbers started to decline, the committee decided in recent years to completely overhaul the concept. «Our main interest today is trying out the more unusual types of sport», said Rolando Vidi, explaining the concept. The result: the number of members has more than doubled over the past ten years, and the club has definitely been rejuvenated. What hasn't changed: the joint activitiesen courage people from every department and hierarchy level to spend time together and get to know each other. This has an extremely positive effect on the working atmosphere in Steinach.