The first month of the summer season came and went and it's already mid-July. After getting out to visit all of the huts in June, Jesse and I have been recently focusing a lot of attention on the coming fall season. That's usually the case in the Huts Department. We hire, train and send our crews out into the huts and then we immediately start thinking about the next season. It doesn't provide a lot of opportunity to really soak in a whole season from start to end but, that's how it goes.
For the last two months, Jesse has been going through our database, reading applications and narrowing the pool of fall applicants down. Last week we interviewed about 25 fall season applicants and happily, we met a lot of great potential hut workers. We talked with folks who grew up in the Northeast and came to the huts as children, we met people who've hiked the Appalachian Trail and even one person who lives in Portland, OR. It's always great to meet these interesting people who are excited about working in the huts and after interviewing well over 500 applicants during the last four years, we've become pretty good at identifying those who have what it takes to do well in the huts.
There are many things we look for in hut applicants; outdoor knowledge, cooking experience, prior work experience and ability to work closely with their peers are just some of them. The number one thing we look for though is customer service experience and desire to hold up our tradition of offering high mountain hospitality to all. As I like to say to applicants, the huts are more than just a motel on the side of a mountain and that it's the personalities on the crew that help make a hut experience unique.
Knowing the immense responsibility that the hut crews have, we take this hiring process seriously as there is only so much training we can do and after that, it's all up to them. As I heard from an OH today (Old Hutman), you can train people how to cook, how to stir compost and how to pack heavy loads but it's much harder to train them to have constant enthusiasm, to be warm and friendly and to be excited about sharing the AMC, the Whites and the huts with guests every day.
Once we have our new crew members picked, we start to play matchmaker. We assign returning crews to huts and pick Hutmasters and Assistant Hutmasters. There are many things to balance on a hut crew like personalities, seasons in the huts, gender, cooking experience and special skills. It's a lot to consider but we've taken a couple days to think about it and tomorrow, we make our final decisions. For those reading this who happened to apply for the huts, we'll be in touch by the end of the week, just as we promised.
We'll be back out to the huts soon enough for some more updates and photos. The fall season starts on August 19th and we'll be enjoying every bit of summer until then.