Tuesday, May 25, 2021

2000 - Leadership on the Road to "Just Serving"


PattyHart - (L & R)

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)

973 different things happen at camp each day. Count them – Patty Hart did. She is called PattyHart for a reason. The two words have to be said together. No space.

When I met her, there were several different folks named Patty who worked at that camp including one who had a self-proclaimed “Grizzly Patty” nick name. Mind you that camp was near Big Bear Lake California, so bears were a frequent thing.

Anyway, Patty Hart was there and always offered to help. I don’t think there was a day that went by, that even as she was walking out the door – she would want to know how else she could be of service. I have a scrap of paper that she left once, that says, “just here to serve.” 

Multiple times, she would be available to help sheppard my own children (who called her Patty Hart) to school or watch them during a Y event. Around this time in my life and career, I began noting who shows up and what skills and talents do they have. PattyHart (while notably was banned from ever telling a joke) would show up to volunteer.

Volunteers have been a staple in all that I have worked toward and this was no exception. We talked about things that she could or wanted to do. She began a list of the things that no one did in camp and the things that others were assigned. (This, by the way is how we got to the 973 number). By the time I was working in New York, Patty Hart, had become known as the “Catch-All” Support Staff because that is exactly the capacity that she served best.

I picture PattyHart always on the road somewhere. When we were in California at that camp, she lived "down the hill" and was always driving up to or down the mountain. (Please note that the term "down the hill" was used by locals who lived in the mountains near Big Bear Lake, California. The average elevation is about 6700 feet above sea level. Locals also refer to those below that level as "flat landers.")

These road trips are part and parcel to the 973 things that happen in camp every day including some items such as: Store Run List Updates, Code Yellow Alerts to Cabins, Airport, train station, bus station, and social security office runs. So many things that fall through the cracks and PattyHart helped me identify and assign to avoid those falls.

One of my favorite memories of PattyHart "on the road" was her cross country trip from California to New York for a summer. There were daily and sometimes hourly updates as to her destination being altered slightly and time of arrival. Her most recent trip is from California to Texas for the birth of a grand child.

On the Road to Camp

Our communication has even become short had in that work. A simple word such as “claw” or “kang” would be all we needed to communicate an idea or concept. Anyone who works in an industry or organization long enough knows the short hand and all the acronyms. Patty Hart and I have it down to looks, signs and single words.

John Maxwell talks about the "Law of the Inner Circle." The concept is that a leader finds greatness in a group and helps the members find it in themselves. 

I am honored to have had Patty Hart be a part of the inner circle at two different times in my camp career and her greatness was in demonstrating how best to serve. She did this at one level at a camp that she had been a part of for a long time and then again at a camp where the only ones she knew, were members of my family. 

Without knowing it, I learned John’s law by becoming a part of that inner circle and then modeling that for others. She helped others as well as myself find the greatness in what we do, simply by being a role model of service.

A year or two ago when I got to be the guest director at another camp; I actually went in with the concept of how best to model my service. I thought of two people who had an impact on me in how they served.

One was Steve Waterman and the other, PattyHart. As I embarked on the best way to approach that camp that I had never been on staff; I started each day with their examples in mind. I even took the note that Patty Hart had etched so many years ago. “I am just here to serve.”

I consider it an honor to be part of her inner circle and I am grateful for her kindness and service to my own children as well. As I have learned from so many over the 50 plus years I have spent in these United States, I am especially grateful for PattyHart.  

Item 674 - Pick up Spaniards from the airport.

Say it with me outloud. "PattyHart." “PattyHart.” I really want you to say it out loud while you are reading this. “PattyHart.” Say it with no space between the names at all, “PattyHart.”

See how it sounds, that’s how my kids would say it when they were little.



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