Aikens Staff Spotlight: Nick Milne
Dec. 01, 2019
Our extended Aikens family often says what a fantastic place Aikens is to work. As management, one of our favorite things is witnessing new staff members join our team and develop as young adults over the years, often in a variety of roles with increased responsibility and growth opportunities. Making lifelong friends and being embraced into the Aikens family is universally cited as the best part of working at Aikens. Meanwhile, the work itself varies and individuals can carve out their path here based on their areas of interest.
Nick Milne, of Manitoba, is a shining example of this. In 2019, Nick completed his third season at Aikens. After two years as a dockhand, Nick spent this past summer on the water as an Aikens Pro-Staff Guide.
“I love it here,” said Nick. “It’s a great place to work, a great place to spend your summers, and the people are amazing.”
Like his grandfather and father, Nick is mechanically minded, so he enjoyed helping with various hands-on projects as dockhand for two seasons.
“I’d say the three main tasks as the dockhand are keeping camp and the boats clean, managing the water boiler and keeping fuel in the boats,” said Nick who first heard about the Aikens job through Kajiji, a Canadian website for classified ads similar to Craigslist.
A unique benefit to being a dockhand, he added, is that you get to interact with virtually every Aikens guest as you greet them at the bait shop and offer them any snacks, beverages or other conveniences to enhance their day.
“We have interesting people who come to Aikens, and we all take a lot of pride in providing them with the best possible experience,” said Nick, noting that seeing the camp dog, Enzo, always puts a smile on his face after a busy day working.
Multiple guests commented on Nick’s work ethic and positive attitude during his two seasons as dockhand. Now, as a guide, Nick relishes the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with guests while sharing extended time on the water. He is patient and kind with guests of all ages and experience levels.
Nick also appreciates the support and coaching he’s received at Aikens.
“After my first summer, Pit and I talked about potentially guiding the next summer, and I wanted to do another year as dockhand. Then, toward the end of my second season Pit gave me the chance to take a couple guests out fishing. I wanted to make sure I’d be ready and would do a good job before I committed to guiding for a season,” said Nick, who’s grandpa was a legendary guide on Lake of the Woods.
In terms of preparation, Nick was impressed with the thorough, personalized guide training he received. All new guides-to-be receive a week of one-on-one training by a former head guide (often Jesse, aka Gus). The veteran guide spends full days on the water with the trainee, teaching them the lake, practicing boat control and electronic tips, and meticulously preparing step-by-step shorelunch to master every part of the process.
“The key is being organized, having a plan and always keeping the individual guests’ goals at the forefront of everything,” said Nick, who is also into carpentry. “We’re very fortunate to get to work in such a beautiful place. You can’t beat this.”
The Aikens team feels fortunate to have Nick as part of our extended family.
“Nick is a hard worker,” said Pit. “He’s a great example of someone working here for multiple years, enjoying different roles and working his way up.”
Editor’s Note: As mentioned, we love watching team members develop as part of the Aikens family. In fact, we remain friends for life with many of our former staff. Interested in seeing what various former staff members are up to these days?
Click here to visit are “Where Are They Now?” page to see photos and updates on members of the Aikens family.