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Woodloch Flood Clean-Up: Almost There!

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~shared by J. Ranner

I have to say that there’s a proud tradition in my house every holiday season: at some point, we partake in the “Rocky” marathon.

We all have our favorites (I, for one, am partial to IV) but I have to say perhaps my favorite quote came from “Rocky Balboa”- the sixth and final film. As Rocky is talking to his son, he says,

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”

The Italian Stallion was 100% correct on this.

Back in August, our resort was hit with torrential downpours and flooding that washed away our indoor pool complex and 28 accommodations. There was millions of dollars in damage and quite honestly, things looked bleak. Where do you even begin to pick up the pieces?

But we responded. And in a big way.

For the past few months, construction crews, maintenance workers, carpenters, glaziers, plumbers, and everything in between have been working round the clock to not only repair the damage but to improve the facilities. All of the damaged guest rooms were completely remodeled and opened in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. And our pool is oh-so-close to being re-opened as well… with some pretty awesome upgrades to boot (more on that in the coming weeks!)

In the meantime, we wanted to share a few photos with you… we can hardly wait for the first cannonball!  

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A Very "Engaging" Festival of Lights Premiere at Woodloch

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~Shared by J. Ranner

When I was younger, a wise man once told me a bit of advice that has been rocking around in my head ever since. "There are two incredibly important days that are going to be coming up in your life," he said. "One will be when you meet the woman of your dreams- and the other will be the day you decide to spend the rest of your life with her." 

The man surely has a point.  There is no bigger decision that any of us make in our lives besides choosing who that "one and only" will be. So of course, when our minds are finally set, many of us attempt to find that special way to ask that all-important question!  Some proposals are very private, low key and informal while others are huge, over-the-top elaborate spectacles that rise to viral video fame.

And then some of them just hit the mark of perfection. 

On Friday, November 28th, 2014 at Woodloch Pines Resort, Matt Rufino of Mahopac, NY and Bethany Deer of Huntington, NY got engaged aboard our first holiday "Festival of Lights" tour of the season. Though temperatures were certainly chilly, the subtly incredible proposal melted everyone's hearts and illuminated everyone's night. 

"Her family and their vacation is very important to her- I knew this was a special place and her family would be here all at the same time, and I wanted to capture that," says Matt.

"We've been coming to Woodloch for the past 14 Thanksgivings," says Beth. "In my family, there has always been an unwritten rule that boyfriends / girlfriends are only invited when they get engaged." As far as she knew, Matt was still back home and the two were going to be spending the weekend apart. That was all about to change...

"I thought about a New York City Christmas proposal, but I thought it was a little cliche. Once I saw that Woodloch offered the 'Festival of Lights,' everything seemed to click." The stars had aligned, and the fates were pointing him in the right direction. Now all he needed was a flawless execution.

Of course, the element of surprise would be critical in this situation. "I got there Friday, got into my room and basically hid for the day," says Matt. "I forgot to eat breakfast, arrived just too late for lunch and basically was starving, but I didn't want to risk her finding me so I stayed in the room." You know it's true love when a hungry man forgoes a Woodloch meal! 

On Friday evening, Beth's family boarded our rides by the Heritage Nightclub- bundled up in blankets and eager to enjoy the musical light ride.  Unbeknownst to her, Matt was already inside the truck next to Mr. Patrick Kiesendahl, crouched like a ninja in full stealth mode. Through 25 cramping minutes, Matt's anticipation built up as the wagon rolled along the trail.

Finally, after the fireworks of the grand finale, instead of our usual "Auld Lang Syne" New Year's music, Matt arranged for Patrick to play "their song"- "Close Your Eyes" by Michael Buble. "When I found the song," says Matt, "he sang all the qualities that make Beth so beautiful and why I'm so happy that we have each other. I told Beth about the song and after she listened to it, she said she felt the exact same reunions, weddings

At that point, Beth suspected something was up, and Matt hopped out of the truck, ring in hand, dropped to one knee and asked the woman he loved to spend the rest of her days with him.  To the joy of all of her family members (and other surprised guests as well!) aboard the ride, she said "YES." After a round of applause, hugs, kisses, tears of JOY and smiles everywhere ushered the happy news back to the main building, where the tale of the perfect holiday proposal made guests and staff alike simultaneously swoon.

The happy couple has yet to set a date, but they've definitely been recommended a certain venue. "So many people have congratulated us and said, 'you definitely need to have a Woodloch Wedding.' I'm still just trying to get my mind wrapped around what just happened!"

Warmest of Wishes from Family and Friends!  

"A beautiful evening ride through Woodloch's Festival of Lights turned into a magical moment that will live forever in our minds and hearts.  Congratulations to Beth & Matt...2 beautiful people who deserve all the happiness in the world!!"

- Jeff Deer


"The look of amazement upon Bethany's face said it all. They are a perfectly matched couple who are truly in love. Best wishes, love, and happiness to them as they start their new chapter in life together!"

- Kari Deer


"Watching the proposal was like watching a moment in a movie. It was amazing and beautiful and I'm so happy that the family got to witness it. Congratulations to Beth and Matt!"

- Johnny Deer


"I was so pleased with how the whole thing was done - from Matt's respectful requests of me, to Woodloch's input and assistance in pulling off the surprise, to the beautiful and festive setting, to Bethany's precious reaction. It was a most memorable moment that I will treasure forever! There's no better feeling in the world than seeing your child made happy - thank you, Matt! Congratulations to you both, and may the Lord bless you and foster in you going forward as much joy and elation as was evidenced that evening at the Festival of Lights."

- John Deer


"Never before have I wished I was somewhere more than on Friday November 28. This was my first Thanksgiving not spent at Woodloch Pines in 16 years. Yes, Florida is beautiful, but this also happened to be the time that my one and only sister became engaged. My heart aches for the opportunity to have been there. My brother sent me the video he took. Driving, I couldn't fix my eyes to it. However, just by seeing a wonderful glimpse of Bethany's face, I knew exactly what had transpired. Job well done, Matt. It was great talking to you all on the phone directly after. I love you guys and remember... a couple who prays together, stays together. I'll be back next year! God bless you guys!"

- Benjamin Deer


"I was so thrilled to be there and be a part of this! It was a very emotional experience for me. All I could picture was Beth's mom and grandma smiling down from up above. Congratulations!"

- Jack Deer


"First, I have to give credit to Matt for coming up with a great way to surprise Beth. He knows how much family means to her. The staff at Woodloch, especially Tess, worked with him to create the most amazing and memorable way to propose. I am truly thankful that I was fortunate enough to be part of it."

- Jenn Porter


"My warmest congratulations to you. Matt, welcome aboard to the Woodloch family- you're in for life now!"

- Joey Ranner, Social Director


"I was so happy to be the person to answer the call when Matt phoned to make arrangements to propose to Beth. I was so lucky to have many more conversations with Matt making sure his betrothed would feel as special as he felt about her. Then it was so exciting to have our unknowing, unrelated guests come to the desk after the hay ride to tell the tale of a love story and how beautiful the moments were. It doesn’t get much better! (Unless you were Matt and Beth I guess!)

 - Tess Murray, Front Desk Manager

Woodloch: HOME EDITION: "Gingerbread Wars!"

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~shared by J. Ranner

In case you didn't get the hint from the displays at your local Wal Mart (mine since August!), it is certainly beginning to look A LOT like Christmas round these parts!  

For many of us, that means shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking, cleaning, traveling and other things... all in preperation to spend time with family, friends and loved ones. Which hopefully will be a fun thing for you.

But maybe holidays aren't always so kind to you. What's the PG solution to the holiday blues? Some of my fondest family memories all came from us playing games together (who could forget the legendary Monopoly riot of '96?). As "The Gurus of Family Fun," we here at Woodloch Pines Resort in the picturesque Pocono Mountains sincerely believe that a great game can spice up even the most tepid of family affairs. 

A few months back, we gave you a step-by-step guide on how to create your own Scavenger Hunt.  In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we'd coach you along on how to also host your own "Gingerbread Wars"- our most popular holiday event. Tis' the season of giving, and this one's for you guys!  



PLACE: With family gatherings... any old house will do. Try to give yourselves a little bit of space (good fences make good neighbors, and the last thing you want is a REAL war).

TIME: Our contests usually last about an hour (10 minutes of rules, 40 minutes to build and 10 minutes of "judging") but adjust based on your participants.


  • Gingerbread - (cupcakes, sheet cakes, and krispie treats can be substituted... or used in addition)
  • Frosting (you can make different colors with food coloring)
  • Candy - we use dozens of different varieties but you a decent assortment will get you through.
  • The "secret" ingredient (kept confidential, and must be incorporated into the final design. We've used oranges, donut holes, waffles etc. - use your imagination. 
  • A "base" to build upon. Cardboard squares work well, but a large platter or plate will serve as well.
  • Some type of "currency" for your store. We use tickets, but coins or even slips of paper will serve. Every team starts off with the same amount of "currency"- we typically give you 10 tickets. 

GO: Gametime... have a "neutral third party" start the show as an MC of sorts, explaining the game rules and starting the clock. You will need to "staff" the candy store- teams will exchange a number of tickets for certain ingredients to enhance their creations.  For example, a single candy cane might cost you 1 ticket, while a bag of orange frosting will cost you 3 tickets. Adjust based on your needs. Once the clock starts, your "store" might decide to run "specials"- 1/2 off, "buy one, get one" etc. This adds to the fun!

When time has expired, GAME OVER. The team needs to safely transport their structure to a "Judging Circle" where voting will occur. Points are awarded for originality, overall design, and the incorporation of your "secret ingredient." 


Nothing beats a "Woodloch Medal"- even if you decide to make your own! Bottles of wine and champagne are great if you have an all adult contest. But remember, every team gets to keep their structure (for better or worse) at game's end, and the real reward is going to be having fun with friends and family this holiday season. 

So that's it. Rage your very own "Gingerbread Wars" this holiday season. It should tide you over until your next visit to Woodloch!  


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Operation Christmas Child Returns to Woodloch

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~shared by Tammy Compton

Power gliders, cop cars and rescue cruisers "Hot Wheels" style, and "Toothless" the Night Fury flying on the cover of an activity book - those are just some of the things 4-year-old Savannah chose to fill her shoebox. Great toys for a little boy somewhere in the world -- possibly the first gift he's ever been given.


Operation Christmas Child, a division of Samaritan's Purse, is the chance to share God's love with children in war-torn and poverty stricken countries. Shoeboxes, packed with school supplies, hygiene items, t-shirts and toys, hats and scarves and so much more, are tenderly placed in the hands of children eager to receive them.


November 17 to the 22, 2014 marks Operation Christmas Child collection week. Woodloch Pines employees have pledged 50 boxes- including help from the resort's owners, the Kiesendahl family. 


Jackie Krewson, Samaritan's Purse/ Operation Christmas Child NEPA Area Coordinator/ Volunteer writes, "There is still time to pack one (or two or three :) more). Your group makes a difference like this one: Nebojsa had epilepsy and often went to the hospital for treatment. When he received his box in the hospital, he opened it impatiently. Inside, he found a hat and gloves, candies and a school set including a compass and ruler. When he saw this, Nebojsa started crying. His mother explained that he was failing math class because he told the teacher he forgot his supplies, but the truth was that his family didn’t have the money to buy them. He held the supplies in his arms for a long time, with tears in his eyes."


A note placed atop the toys in Savannah's box also makes the eyes mist. It's a letter dictated by a little girl to her daddy -- a note sharing one child's heart with another. "Dear Boy, This is a present just for you," she said. "Merry Christmas. Wishing you a cheerful week. Love Savannah."


Rory O'Fee, Marketing Director at Woodloch Pines Resort, says, "I would have written whatever she said." Like father, like daughter. Savannah's willingness to share doesn't surprise Rory in the least. "I believe it is part nature and part nurture. I have control of the nurture and it's incredibly important for me to teach my child the importance of selflessness, the rewards of giving, sharing and understanding the true meaning of holidays like Christmas, let alone just good manners," he says.


Savannah's cheerful giving is far from isolated. "Thankfully it’s a constant in my home, but just as recently as Halloween, Savannah said to my wife, 'Mommy, I don’t want to go trick or treating, I’d rather walk in the parade and give other kids candy.' True story. She ended up doing both," the proud dad explains.


Melissa Latsch, Human Resources, couldn't be prouder of her two boys who gave up their Halloween money to pick out and purchase gifts for O.C.C. Christopher, 7, and Joseph, 4, are just soft-hearted kids. "Christopher is always wanting to buy Joseph something with his own birthday money. I catch them both in tears when the ASPCA commercial is on with all the sad animals," she says.


Asked if there's ever been a time in her life when someone reached out and made a difference for her family, Melissa said, "Yes! My husband was ill for months. The doctors didn't know what was wrong with him. We spent countless hours, days in emergency rooms away from our children. Finally after almost a year we found out what was wrong and he needed to have brain surgery. I cannot express the amount of love and help we received during that difficult time. I will remember it forever!" Melissa explains.


"I always like to help and give back to people/children who need it the most; and now I'm so happy my children are feeling the same way," Melissa says.


"I was lucky to grow up and have wonderful holidays with my family; and now my children are sharing the same great memories. My mom was always adopting a family at the church helping them have a great Christmas like my brother and myself had. The first year I adopted a family it was the best experience for me. I received a letter from the mom thanking me countless times and called me her daughters angel! The letter made me happy knowing the child was happy! I still continue to help a child each christmas and now my children will help me help others!" Melissa exclaimed. 


Did they pray about the items to place within their box? Rory shares, "I can’t say that we prayed about the box specifically, but the importance of God and bringing Christ to others was a topic. Veggietales definitely helped inspire the act. We wanted to be both fun and useful, so a few toys and some school supplies made it in the box."


"I let my child be my guide," says Brooke James, Woodloch Family Member and owner. A giving heart is just a big part of whom her 4-year-old daughter Annie is. "Annie's always thinking about getting things for her sister, not just herself," she says.


"Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful opportunity to give to those who are in need," she says. Brooke's family wants every child who receives a box to know just how much they're loved and cared about.


Jessica Brasile, Special Events at Woodloch, couldn't wait to include her son in Operation Christmas Child. "For me it is an amazing feeling to make a small difference in a childs life. When I brought home the boxes, my son Dominic was excited as well. He wanted to get these children everything. When I explained to him that there are children in the world that dont have 'things' he was upset. We both picked things that we thought would bring a smile to their faces. That is what we want --children to smile and know that they matter. They do matter and we love them," she said. Dominic, age 7, is in second grade.


Krewson invites participants: "Be sure to add a note to your shoe box gifts to let the child know you love them and prayed for them. A picture is one of the most liked gifts in their box many children say. It will be a lovely addition. As a result of the note, a child may write back to you," Krewson said. "Several churches that we visited in our area report that they have received notes and sometimes pictures as a result of this. Mehoopany Baptist Church in Mehoopany, PA, have had two donors who received letters. One was an eight-year-old girl who has corresponded several times with her shoe box recipient.


"Ready for another story that was told to us by the National Leadership manager in the Phillippines? young boy packed and sent a box that was distributed in the Philippines and a little girl received it. You guessed it, he got a response from a note he added to the box. It was from a young girl and they became pen pals. When he grew up, he had the opportunity to go to her country and meet her and did this several times. They are getting married! That is not to say, 'This is a way to meet your child's future spouse.' But, hey, God works in mysterious ways. He has plans for us. It all started with a simple shoebox."


Woodloch Flood Clean-Up: Day 65

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~ shared by J. Ranner

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

-Frederick Douglass


It's been a little bit over 2 months since severe flash flooding has rocked Woodloch, but as we close in towards the holiday season, we are happy to share with you some progress!  



Ever since the storm, crews have been very hard at work to repair accommodations so we're able to meet demand, and we're happy to say their efforts are paying off.  Construction workers have been at it around the clock to repair affected rooms in the lower levels of both of these buildings.

Carpet has been laid down in the Mountain Laurel facilities and brand new furniture is soon to follow... and Springbrook is very close as well!  We are hoping to have all of our rooms available by November 14th, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. 



Things are slowly yet surely coming along with repairs to our indoor pool- all for the better. First and foremost, our lobby will no longer feature the Pool Shop (items will be available elsewhere) to provide 2 much-needed family changing facilities.  Our indoor pool bar is in the midst of a redesign while we are soon going to be laying new concrete and tile for the pool. Very exciting for all of us- the pool is tentatively rescheduled for a "re-opening" on December 26th. 

Though this flood has challenged us, we are very excited for the changes to come to our resort! We think you should be too!


Stay tuned for more updates!  


Woodloch Flood Clean-Up: Day 29

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~shared by J. Ranner

I'm a dedicated child of the 90's- in many ways, it was a decade of good times, great movies, classic sitcoms and simply fanstastic music. I'll never forget my first summer of work here and the accompanying soundtrack was something that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.

One of my favorite tunes STILL to this day was "Closing Time" by Semisonic- it's the source of one of my favorite lyrics and life mottos: 

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  

Although lyricist Dan Wilson had intended those words to be for his daughter, I think all of us can apply this mentality to something in our own lives. If certain things never ended, we would never get the opportunity to start other endeavors. 

It's been just about a month since the record-breaking rainfall led to a damaging flash flood of part of our property.  In just a few minutes, swift moving waters rushed the bottom level of our Springbrook and Mountain Laurel accommodations, as well as the indoor pool and sports complex. Nobody was hurt and everyone was safely evacuated, but we had our work cut out for us.


The cleanup itself was an extensive procedure. Yards and yards of carpet, blocks of wall, and all sorts of equipment needed to be scrapped due to water damage. Concrete needed to be scrubbed and sterilized, and large industrial fans needed to be running 24/7. It was definitely an involved ordeal, to say the least.

On this lovely fall morning though, there was a trumpteting grinding screech of hope: a buzz saw. We are now to the point where cleanup is completed, and we are on the road to REBUILDING. The enchanting aroma of sawdust is wafting through the air, while the booming sound of classic rock is echoing throughout our ground level, helping the construction crew whistle while they work.  

family reunions, girlfriend getaways

It's been a long month for the resort, and this is a more than welcome beacon of hope for all of us.  The symphony of power tools and reconstruction is much like the return of sunlight to the Antarctic- good things are on the horizon for both the march of the penguins AND us.


Not only are we pushing to get things re-opened, but we're going to be doing it in style. In the meantime, check out a few photos of our work in progress! 


Stay tuned for more details!


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Locker Room Framework

describe the imageSpringbrook Hallway 

corporate retreatsCeiling Replacement Underway

weddingsKiddie Splash Pool - squeaky clean!


Woodloch Flood Clean-Up: Day 10

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~shared by J. Ranner

"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love."

-Hubert H. Humphrey


I was listening to one of my favorite Grateful Dead tunes the other day, and one of the lyrics just keeps resonating in my mind:


"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right..."

It's been over a week since Woodloch was bombarded with record-breaking rainfall that led to severe flash flooding and, consequently, damage to our indoor pool facilities and 20 guests accommodations.  Yet as the old adage goes... "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." 


In immediate response to the flooding, firefighters arrived on the scene to help pump thousands of gallons of water out of the building.  And from that point on, considering the circumstances, things were cleared out at blurring speed. 


Day in and day out, relief workers worked hand in hand with Woodloch staff to start the long road to rebuilding.  Piece by piece, remnants of what was our ground level of the Springbrook complex were scrapped. Industrial fans have been drying out the ground 24 hours a day while giant pieces of wall are removed.


While many of us are pained to see this happening, I can't help but notice the new blank canvas that has presented itself.  When all is said and done, things will not only be back to "The Woodloch Standard" that we've all become accustomed with over the years but will exceed them.  


But perhaps most heartwarming of all throughout the darkness was the response from our guests.  We honestly lost count of all the phone calls received- a good portion of them from guests that were concerned not with the availability of the pool, but with the genuine well-being of everyone involved in the disaster.  Even if vacation time was far off on the horizon, we genuinely felt the love pour in from all directions. 

poconos spa               DSC 0130

We will continue to clean and rebuild at full-throttle speed, and hope to have our sports complex and adjoining rooms back in operation as soon as possible.

family reunions


Woodloch Flood Clean-Up: Day 3

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DSC 0029

~shared by J. Ranner

"While natural disasters capture headlines and national attention short-term, the work of recovery and rebuilding is long-term."

-Sylvia Mathews Burwell


In the early evening of August 21st, what had started off as a typical hot and sunny summer day in the Pocono Mountains transitioned into one of the worst natural disasters in Woodloch history.

Isolated, yet incredibly powerful torrential downpours soaked our property with over 10 inches of rain in less than an hour. Flood waters breached our lower Springbrook and Mountain Laurel areas, causing severe damage to 28 guest accommodations, as well as the Indoor Pool and Kiddie Splash area. describe the image

Nobody was hurt. Emergency personnel and staff were able to relocate all guests as well as themselves into safe zones as the waters broke through.  

Almost immediately, we began our clean-up efforts.  Thousands of gallons of flood water were pumped out of the buildings.  Soiled furniture was promptly removed from rooms.  Dry wall and carpets were ripped out.  Supplies, equipment and even gift shop merchandise were simply thrown out. Needless to say, the entire complex was essentially gutted. 

describe the image           


  DSC 0033

Disaster workers, as well as our own staff, worked around the clock to get our resort on the path to recovery.  Perhaps the most promising event of the day was the outdoor pool opening that morning- less than 96 hours after the flash flooding.  Guests used makeshift changing facilities (converted tractor trailers), but other than that... it was business as usual at our outdoor pool.  

From the outside looking in, I have to share my own thoughts on this unfortunate situation. While I truly am saddened by seeing the great pool facility and Springbrook / Mountain Laurel accommodations in the shape they are in, I'm concurrently beaming with Woodloch pride.  

The spirit of our guests, company and so many of the employees that I have the pleasure to work with clearly shines in this situation.  Almost immediately, we had guests kindly offering their accommodations to those displaced. The big Woodloch games that you all know and love went on as scheduled the next day with the same vigor and smiles that always accompany them. As the saying goes:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." 

This clean-up will not be easy. We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us.  But as long as we keep that Woodloch competitive spirit alive, I have no doubts that we will emerge from the other side of this bigger and better than ever. 

Check back with us as we keep you updated! 

DSC 0045


Flash Flood in the Pocono Mountains, Back to Business as Usual

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Flash Flood Causes Substantial Damage to Woodloch Pines Resort

Resort is Business as Usual, Guests Still Having Fun Despite Setback

As you’ve probably heard already, on Thursday August 21, 2014, Woodloch experienced an intense flash flood causing substantial damage to the indoor pool, kiddie splash zone, gift shop, bar, locker rooms, hallways and 28 guest accommodations. 

While the damage was extensive to the areas affected, those areas are just a small piece of the Woodloch experience.  While the cleanup and reconstruction project is already underway and moving at a breakneck speed the rest of Woodloch’s facilities are all running business as usual.  The outdoor pool, kiddie pool, hot tub and bar are open and being enjoyed without interruption and will remain so as long as the season will last, in addition to the dozens of activities, amenities and entertainment offered daily.  The immaculate waveless indoor pool, outdoor pool and kiddie pool at Woodloch Springs are open and available to all Woodloch guests.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this in our 56 year history.  Thankfully no one was hurt and our staff did a great job getting everyone to safety quickly” said John Kiesendahl, owner and CEO. 

The flood waters from the storm raged within minutes and thankfully everyone was evacuated safely and expeditiously. Guests displaced by the flooding have been relocated to our Woodloch Springs guest homes and other facilities on property. It’s business as usual across the resort.  Repair work to the damaged area has already begun, and Woodloch plans to reopen the building as soon as possible, bigger and better than before. 

Woodloch extends a tremendous thank you to the team for their extraordinary efforts and all Woodloch guests, family and friends for their concern, understanding and assistance through this unprecedented event.

Here’s some of the press clippings from the coverage of the storm in our area: 


Aid Woodloch in its "Operation Christmas Child" Efforts

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~Shared by T. Compton

Nothing beats a favorite pair of slippers, that "ahhhhh" feeling of weary feet sliding into memory foam following a hard day's work. Paints a satisfying picture, right?

Now picture a rough, rock-strewn road and a weary child walking miles to attend school or fetch clean water for his or her family, tired feet encased in worn sandals with holes in the soles that offer little or no protection. Or worse yet, no shoes at all.

That's the true story I heard of a child in an impoverished country, asking his mom once again for a new pair of sandals. The old were worn out, you see, and stones were poking through the soles as he walked. Why couldn't they get new shoes? His mom, aching for a need that she had no money to meet, assured him she was praying every day for an answer.

That answer came in the form of a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Run by Samaritan's Purse, OCC spreads joy to kids around the world, those living in third-world countries, war-torn areas and towns wracked by disease or natural disaster. They send gift-filled shoeboxes to young chldren -- from babies to teenagers -- filled with things we might take for granted, like pens or pencils, crayons allowing them to paint thier imaginations on paper, a simple bar of soap and a washcloth to clean off the dust of the day, or a small toy or stuffed animals to cuddle with in the dark. It doesn't cost a lot -- just your heart.

photo 1

Your gift filled shoebox may be just what that child needs. That's what happened in the above true story. That little boy's box held a simple pair of flip-flops --something that costs mere dollars -- but was priceless to a child in need.

This is Woodloch's second year in helping out the worthy cause. Last year, more than 30 boxes and monetary donations were collected. What if that could triple this year? What if everyone brought something: a few dollars here, a pack of pencils there, a pack of markers or washcloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste, or like new stuffed animals from childhood that could use a new home. It doesn't have to cost a lot, but what a difference it could make. It's a chance to change a life. Will you take it?

Please drop off all donations in the Reservations Department at Woodloch Pines Resort. To learn more, please visit Checks may be made Payable to Samaritans Purse with Operation Christmas Child in the memo section.

P.S. OCC is unable to accept any form of liquids such as shampoo, lotion, bubble stuff, etc. They also ask that no war-related toys such as tanks or toy soldiers be placed in the boxes.


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