Alumni Spotlight: Nick Prout
Until 1968, Camp Mohawk was a boys’ camp for half the summer and a girls’ camp for the other half. Nine-year-old Nick Prout became a Mohawker in the Wyantenok Unit in 1959. Older brother Parker had already been a camper for two years and sister Consie followed four years later. In ’1959, Tom Moore had not yet arrived at Mohawk and there were only three other units – Utees, Mohicans and Seniors.
After six years as a camper, Nick worked in the kitchen at age 15, and then spent the next five summers on the maintenance crew with Oscar Richards. The first three of those years, Nick's primary job was Lighthouse keeper, a position he inherited from brother Parker. In 1969 and 1970 Nick, worked general maintenance and drove the International Harvester Travel-All (an early SUV). That involved lots of shopping from a list Camp Director Arlene Foulds gave him (masking tape for arts & crafts, Kotex pads for making torches, film for photography, etc.) and driving staff to and from Torrington on their days off to do laundry, see a movie and hangout at Dunkin Donuts in the Plaza. In those years (and well into the 1970s) days off were 12 hours long from noon to midnight, so no one went much farther than Torrington.
Nick was also a counselor in the Wilderness Unit (later based at Bear Rock Tripping Center, adjacent to Camp Hi-Rock), which included driving trucks and buses taking campers on hiking and canoeing trips in Maine, New York and Canada. Many old Mohawkers remember those trips led by Eric Bailey and Don & Pat Pratt. YMCA Camp Hi-Rock, located near Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was Mohawk's brother camp for 20 years beginning in 1968 when Mohawk became an all-girls camp for the full summer.
Beginning in 1973 Nick began working as a long-haul truck driver based in Virginia. He took summers off and continued to return to Hi-Rock each summer on the maintenance crew through 1981. We would see Nick at Mohawk regularly as he drove a bus to Bridgeport twice each change-over weekend taking campers to and from all three camps.
In 1981, Nick began a 33-year career driving for Pepsi-Cola. He could no longer take summers off, but did come back to Hi-Rock for a week at the end of each summer to serve as boat driver during Family Camp. He continued to do so for the next 40 years!
All told, Nick has invested in a 60-year association with Camps Mohawk and Hi-Rock as a camper and employee. Nick was at Mohawk's 100th anniversary gathering in 2019 and at Hi-Rock's 75th anniversary celebration in early September this year. Also of note, Nick graduated from Torrington High School in 1967 with Fran Marchand.
Nick met his wife Diane while making a delivery to a Pepsi plant where she worked. Diane commented on his (uncommon in Virginia) Met's hat. They married in 1988 and continue to share an interest in sports, especially the Roanoke Railyard Dogs, a team in the NHL development league. Nick and Diane have been season ticket holders since the team came to Roanoke in 2016. They are dog owners, work on behalf of animal welfare, and have a fondness for a local winery. Nick serves as a volunteer at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke where they live. He retired from Pepsi in 2014, but still works two days a week at a Kroger distribution center switching trailers.
Nick counts Tom Moore as one of his mentors and is grateful for TQ's influence on his life. Like many of us, Nick’s oldest friends are those he met a summer camp.