RAC Treehouse manager Nadine Hutchens has the patience of saint and a heart of gold. Her passion for her job shows and it reflects in the kids that come into the club everyday as well as in her team.
We sat down for a Q&A session to find out what makes her tick and find out why in the Treehouse it’s called a boat and not a ship.
Q: What brought you to the RAC?
A: So basically the flood of 2013 brought me to the RAC. (Nadine was working in Estes Park at the time of the Big Thompson flood and had no way to get back up there while Hwy. 34 was closed.) But more than anything this is family. This is like my second home. I worked here from 2000 – 2003 and I loved working here because it always has a great group of people.
I love the growth that RAC allows. I started in housekeeping — because I love cleaning — and now I am the manager of the Treehouse. I’ve grown as an individual a lot since starting here.
Q: You have an incredible passion for people. Where did that come from?
A: I have been like that since I was little. I remember in elementary school and high school I always helped special needs kids. Even in kindergarten, I remember sitting with them. It is something that God put on my heart as a very young person, just to take care of people. And it is still my passion today.
You can even take care of people in housekeeping. To be there for them and to listen to them.
Q: It takes a certain level of patience, and you have the patience of a saint.
A: It does, but it comes real easy to me.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do with the kids in the Treehouse?
A: Just to talking to them. Listening to the funny things they say (we will get into that later) and just to get them involved in our activities or games. Being an active teacher – whether it’s the helping recite the ABC’s or helping kids with their colors – I just love watching them learn and grow.
Q: What is the funniest thing a kid has said to you or do they ever catch you off guard with the things they say?
A: Yes. When they say words like “ship” in the Treehouse – yet it sounds a bit different. It is usually followed by “What did you just say?” So we have now turned “ship” into “boat” in the Treehouse.
Q: Tell me about your team.
A: I have a great team. We have a wide age range of girls from 17 to 40 and they are all passionate about impacting the lives of our youth. Some are early eduction majors, others are hoping to become nurses, but every one of them is committed to being a part of the Raintree community. They treat all the kids like family. They all care for the children with a passionate heart. Right now I think we have one of the best teams.
Q: What does it take to work in the Treehouse?
A: You have to have a lot of patience with children, because there may be days when we’ll have 30+ children at once and some screaming, and crying. You have to have that patience and understanding and a compassionate heart for it.