A couple of weeks ago, the 2011 summer Hutmasters and Assistant Hutmasters gathered at Carter Notch Hut to start our planning for the upcoming full-service season. After hiring our leadership teams in December, we had a lot to talk about and there was no better place to do it than a hut. We met at the 19 Mile Brook trailhead and took a leisurely walk up to Carter, catching up on how school was going and life since last summer, enjoying the snow covered trail which is a rare sight for these summer hut workers. In the photos, you'll notice some shorts and t-shirts but I can assure you it wasn't -22 degrees like it was yesterday, rather a balmy 45 degrees on the day after New Years.
We arrived at the hut to meet the Late Fall Caretaker, Jeff, who will also be the Zealand Hutmaster this summer. The group pulled together a delicious lunch of burritos, nachos and birthday brownies to celebrate Harrison's 21st birthday, who will be the 2011 Lonesome Lake Hutmaster. Conversation over lunch ranged from topics such as guest service, food, education, safety, and how to be bosses. Although this group is well versed in hut operations from their years as crew members, for many of them, this is their first opportunity to be the one in charge so we spent considerable time discussing what it means to be a leader in and out of the huts.
As many of these talented young leaders heard from an old hutman at the OHA's (Old Hutman's Association) Annual Meeting last fall, the years spent in the huts have a lasting affect on ones career and life. The lessons learned of teamwork, responsibility, integrity and leadership are invaluable no matter what career path is chosen and where one decides to go. This message happened to come from Three Star General, Richard Trefry, who worked in the huts in the 1940's and is the longest serving General in U.S. history. As the General reflected on his achievements, he eloquently spoke to current crew members stating that his experience in the huts was the best preparation he could have had for his life as a leader. He also challenged them to work hard, take responsibility for themselves and others, uphold the traditions of the huts and serve others the way Joe Dodge inspired him to. From the discussions we had at Carter, our leaders clearly got the message.
As we packed up our bags that afternoon, we knew the next time we would see each other would be for training in late May. For the next few months, Hutmasters and Assistants will be going to class, taking exams and staying busy with their lives outside of the huts. But as we get closer to summer and even on days like today, I know they'll be thinking about the General's words, what kind of leader they want to be and how to run their own huts to the best of their abilities. There's a lot of time between now and then but I speak for myself and all crew members in saying we're already thinking summer and we're looking forward to it.