A 40-Year Reflection: Interview with Patty Schaffner

We are excited to share that Patty Schaffner is celebrating her 40 year anniversary with Glenwood Hot Springs Resort! Patty is a longtime local and devoted employee. To celebrate this milestone, Patty took a moment to reflect on the last 40 years—how it all started, the legacy, and her secrets for success & longevity at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.

Tell us about the day you started working at GHSR in 1981.

The day I started at GHSR, I was delighted to be working at the resort that I grew up loving to come to each summer with my family.  I learned how to swim here in the warm waters of the GHSR pool as a little child in the late 1950's and my first big dive on the high board was a front flip which earned me an ice cream cone as promised by my Dad who dared me to do it.  I continued to swim and dive competitively throughout my childhood and dove in college at Colorado State University.  To be hired on as the receptionist/front desk attendant at the Club was a thrill and joy and I was certified and began teaching fitness classes soon after being hired.  All classes were taught using 45 records and the club manager and I would literally go to a record store and do aerobics in the store to see if the beats per minute were workable.

What are some of your most fond memories and experiences at GHSR?

My fondest memories are relationships with coworkers, club and pool members and guests of the GHSR.  We are so blessed to have such a "gem" in the mountains and I love being able to share it with others.  Many in my classes today are folks I've known since I moved here in 1980 as a new bride.  These long term relationships are of such high value to me.  I have some great memories of athletes I've coached at the pool in both swimming and diving and also of those I've instructed in swimming and lifeguarding classes.  I loved having our children grow up in this pool and am so grateful that our twin grandsons now enjoy time swimming/playing here as well.  I called my divers BMW's (Burly Mountain Women) as GSHS swim/dive was a winter sport.  We literally had to pour pool water on the board to deice them every few dives.  The girls wore wetsuits as often they would be diving in way below freezing weather. Many times the pool steam was so dense that they could not see the water from the end of the board and I could hardly see their dives.  My absolute funniest memory is of a high school girls swimmer who injured her wrists skiing just prior to the Regional and State meets.  She strapped Spatulas on her hands/arms so she could still swim.

What other positions, if any, have you held with GHSR beyond teaching water aerobics?

  • Assistant Recreation Dir. (In 1982, Dave Giocomo was the Recreation Director who was manager over the pool and the club and I was his assistant).  I taught fitness classes including the first water aerobics classes, was the Instructor Trainer for both water safety instructors and lifeguards.  I was in charge of all scheduling for the pool and spent plenty of time in the lifeguard chair when a guard couldn't make their shift.  I was also in charge of all training for lifeguards and pool attendants and responsible for ordering uniforms and equipment as needed. I took shifts as a Manager on Duty and worked my share of holidays.
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Assistant Swim Coach for both Sopris Barracudas and GSHS
  • Diving Coach for GSHS and for Sopris Barracudas  (Sopris Barracudas hosted an invitational meet during Strawberry Days, which involved hundreds of swimmers/divers/parents.  We totally transformed the middle of the pool with bulkheads to insure each lane was 25 meters long. Age group divers competed on both low (1 meter ) and high (3 meter) boards. We had a clown diving show and a diving exhibition in which I participated.  

Do you have a piece of advice or any secrets for your success & longevity that you’d like to share with GHSR associates?

The advice I would give is that we, the employees, are blessed to work here and every day here is a gift! The people with whom we work are each gifts as well.

What does it mean to you personally to carry on the legacy being a part of the GHSR team for so many years?

I am honored and proud to be a part of the GHSR staff.  I love that my parents brought our family here as children and all of our children bring their families here as well.  The GHSR is one of our family traditions and treasures!