Offseason Home: Moab, Utah
Years at Camp: 18
Describe one of your favorite memories as a camper.
When I was a Mallard having never heard of Twilight League, all of the sudden the doors to the Barn busted open and counselors came in doing these hilarious skits. Slow Campers Everywhere, The Love Seat, The Wasp, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, Bad Robot. All those skits are burned into my memory, I was in awe. It was magical.
How about a favorite memory as a counselor?
One of my most meaningful moments–it was junior year, so 2012—and Sandy pulled me, Evan, Aiden and Tommy aside one Sunday after the staff meeting and told us we were doing a good job.
I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that that small conversation changed my life. It made me really want to come back the next year, and I don't think it would be too far off to say that it plays a small role in why I'm still here.
It’s funny because this happens at camp all the time. You might be discouraged or distracted, and someone you look up to comes over and just says, “Great work,” and it sticks with you forever.
What qualities make for a successful Granddaddy Gorilla?
(laughs) I'm probably not the best person to ask. When Nick reads out what cabins find you, I’m one of the guys who is, “Pat Hayes…everybody!!!” In recent years, fewer people have found me, and the only thing I’ve done differently is inconveniently place myself in a spot people don’t want to walk. One time I went into Red River and got under the mud and put some leaves over my face. It was uncomfortable for about 30 minutes. I only got found by two cabins and one was because someone stepped on me.
Speedy Pat down at the swim docks for the T-Relays
Where do you spend most of the day around camp?
I’ve been on instructional swim every morning since 2011. The afternoons tend to be a little more diverse. I'll get a period of water skiing in or I’ll run a campcraft period. If a camping trip is going out, I’ll often spend the afternoon packing. When I’m not doing these things, I’m down in Crows.
You mentioned packing for trips–you've been a trip leader for many years. Do you have a favorite trip?
A trip that just feels like a home run every time is the Falcons and Loons second half upper bunk line trip to Tumbledown Mountain. The hike is such a nice balance between hard and rewarding, but attainable. There's a lake at the top so you get to swim after the hike, and the campground is right on a beautiful lake, so you can take dips in the morning.
What unusual skill has camp given you?
Eyeballing the amount of water that needs to go into rice.
Pat with his fellow Crows Aidan Prior and Aidan Russell in 2010
What's the most fun you've had doing a Horse Race?
Oh, man. Horse Races is consistently one of my favorite nights of the year. That's another thing. It's only gotten better the longer I’ve been at camp. It's magic when you're a camper, but watching the creativity that goes into everyone’s skits is truly magical.
There was one year where I pretended to be a third grader running for class president and my name was Sammy Simmons. I gave a speech, and in that speech I got nervous and l had to sit down, and I had a whoopee cushion. But the whoopee cushion didn't really go off in the hall. I practiced it with Avery Paiste, and there was a moment where I was suspended in the air, sitting on it and it hadn't gone. And then the whole thing pops, and me and Avery were crying laughing. I think if that had happened the night of Horse Races–that's a hundred votes.
Pat as Sammy Simmons for Horse Races
What's the state of the USS Pineman? Is she seaworthy?
(laughs) Uh, it needs, uh, a little bit of fine tuning. One of the canoes takes on water pretty heavily…rapidly.
You once gave a chapel about “not sweating the small stuff.” Why do you think that's so important?
There's a lot of things in life that are worthy of our worry and worthy of our time. If you don’t let the small stuff capture your attention and energy, then you can bring that attention and energy to the “big stuff.” If I have a friend who is having trouble, that’s the “big stuff.” I want to be present and dedicate my energy there. But if I’m dwelling on a social interaction that didn't go well or spending all day running through an argument that I wish you won in 2009 or something like that, I’m not going to be as helpful as I could be.
Why do you come back to camp?
I'm still growing in friendships that I established a long time ago. The connections I've built with a lot of the other counselors that have continuously come back have only gotten stronger. Those friendships mean a lot to me, and they keep growing the more I keep coming back.
And then, in recent years, education is where I want to put my energy. In all of the activities and hobbies and jobs I've picked up over the years, connecting with and facilitating a meaningful experience for young men is a skill set I've really honed. It's what I do in my work outside of camp. It's what I do in my work at camp, and it means a lot to me.
You know, I loved Timanous so much as a camper and a lot of that was due to the counselors. I just want to pay some of that forward. And, I think camp in the early two thousands was a great place to be, like, a sporty bro. It wasn't always kind to less jock-y types. And I think camp right now is a great place no matter your interests & skills. I think there's a lot more grace right now, and if I can play a small role in helping diversify who gets to have a good time here, I think that's important too. Camp is an amazing place–it’s never been a perfect place–and I always want to make it better.
Pat as a Crow (front, second from the left) Pat as Head of Crows (front, furthest right)
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