By Jen Taylor
For students who have ever wondered what its like to be a UK mascot, they have their chance this Sunday at the Stitches tryouts.
Tryouts to be the part-time Kentucky Children’s Hospital mascot Stitches will be 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday in the Seaton Center. The beloved mascot makes weekly visits to children in the hospital along with other events.
The UK Healthcare team will be looking for an energetic UK student looking to become involved with the community. The chosen student will receive a $750 scholarship.
Students must be between 4-foot-8 and 5-foot-4 and enjoy children. The student does not need to be a full-time student but they need to be taking classes that cost at least $750 so that they can receive the scholarship that is paid through SFA, said Cynde Estep, the senior service line manager for UK HealthCare.
The current full-time mascot is Cory Allen, a kinesiology junior.
“It’s crazy, lots of fun,” he said, “and can get really hot.”
He recommends the job to anyone.
“I mean, how often can you walk down the street, hold out your hand and everyone gives you a high-five,” he said.
This mascot has similar duties as the Wildcat Scratch, and Stitches is said to be Scratch’s cousin.
The apprentice position includes filling in when the full-time mascot cannot be at an event. The part-time mascot also will assist the full-time mascot, helping them in and out of the costume, navigating around and taking turns, which can be difficult.
Visits to children in the hospital range from weekly visits to greeting and playing with kids in the play area at Whittier Ball Park during baseball season.
“They stress grades and work around my schedule. I mean, I never have to miss class,” Allen said.
His main commitment is visiting the kids at the children’s hospital every Thursday afternoon, but most other commitments are on weekends.
“I would say the average is about 10 a month,” he said.
The student selected is expected to place a high priority on all events that Stitches is scheduled to attend.
“Travel is dependent on events,” Estep said. “The majority of the appearances are local but there are times when he/she may need to travel, but we provide mileage reimbursement.”
She said the commitment level can vary but estimated a few times a month.
At tryouts, students will fill out a questionnaire, and then interviewed. They will also try on the costume and demonstrate their ability to interact with people in different scenarios.
“This helps us to gauge how they will act in different situations, since Stitches appearances vary and Stitches represents Kentucky Children’s Hospital,” Estep said.
Allen said the tryouts are pretty laid back and fun, and he will be there to help pick the mascot.