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Where Nine-Inning's Meet 18-Holes: The 6th Annual Pinstripe Golf Classic at Woodloch Springs

  
  
  
  
  
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I’ve often heard the game of baseball described as a, “nine- inning vacation complete with a ball park hotdog.”

What if I told you that Woodloch, with the help of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, have up their sleeves the ability to turn that “nine- inning vacation,” complete with the professionals themselves, and team them up with YOU on a spectacular 18-hole golf course to play a round for a great cause!?  Now, that there sounds like a vacation!

Yes.. let that sink in, YOU, can play with a future New York Yankee’s player!RailRiders

On August 6, 2014, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of major league baseball's New York Yankees, will be at The Country Club at Woodloch Springs for the 6th Annual Pinstripe Golf Classic, the ultimate pro-am golf tournament. There will be a shot gun start at noon! All proceeds will go to benefit the Cody Miley Memorial Art Scholarship Fund that has been established for Cody Miley, the 17-year-old son of Railriders manager, David Miley, who died in a car accident in 2008.  Each foursome will pair up with a player or manager from the RailRiders.

There will be snack stations along the course featuring peanuts, cracker jacks, and jumbo franks, all the baseball go-to food provided to you on the golf course. A “beer tasting” tee and “Moon Shot” hole will be just some of the unique perks to your day of golf. There will be gift bags, raffles, silent auctions, and presentations from the RailRiders organization and Woodloch. Upon completion of the tournament there will be a cocktail hour featuring an open- bar, hors d’oeuvres, and crudité. A four-course dinner will be served featuring delicious foods such as  chicken, beef and fish entrees, as well as pasta, salads, and desserts.golf tournamenent 2013

Now, I know what you might be thinking…you’re either “team golf” or “team baseball,” and can’t quite see the lines that connect both sports. Well, with the help of an extensive google search, here is a list of the top three similarities between baseball and golf that I came up with…

1.) Most people don’t realize that baseball and golf swings are basically the same, they’re just on different planes. A baseball bat is swung on a very “flat” plane because the ball is in the air, and a golf club is swung on a more tilted plane because the ball is on the ground. Regardless of where the ball is, both swings demand a similar sequence of events to ensure solid contact.

2.) In baseball, before you swing the bat forward and hit the ball, you have to get all your momentum on your back leg, you shift your weight onto your back leg before the pitcher throws. Once the ball is on its way, you move that weight and momentum forward into the ball. In the golf swing, this same process is accomplished with the backswing then you are now ready to come forward with your club and hit the ball.

And last, but not least…

golf 3.) Most golfers have serious problems with proper athletic sequencing, the ability to start the forward motion of the golf swing from the ground. Most people start the forward motion of the golf swing from the “top”, their hands. In a baseball swing, at the top of the backswing your upper body is still moving backwards for a short period as the lower body is moving forward. This sets the bat in a “lagging” position where the bat trails the forward motion and power is stored in the hands and wrists waiting to where it is needed most, at impact. In the golf swing this ability is the single greatest separation of the “haves” and “have-nots” when it comes to striking the golf ball well.

 

 

golf tournament

So, everything’s set up... the vacation that lasts longer than nine-innings, the cocktails, the 18-holes of golf with a professional baseball player, AND the tips to help, the only thing that’s waiting is you!

For more information about the 6th Annual Pinstripes Classic click the link! 

~shared by Sara Coons

On the Path to an Exceptional Poconos Dining Experience: Meet Stevan Sundberg

  
  
  
  
  
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Did you know that Woodloch is home to 9 dining facilities?  With the opening of The Market at Woodloch, let’s make that 10.  From our family-style, country-comfort cuisine in the main dining room at Woodloch Pines, to the epicurean inspired “farm to fork” spa gastronomy at The Lodge at Woodloch, we have to up our game to ensure a quality dining experience is had by all.  Enter corporate executive chef, Stevan Sundberg.

R  Marketing sara.coons food 1 When Stevan started here in the beginning of the year   he came with lofty goals in mind for the all-inclusive Woodloch Resort nestled in the Pocono Mountains.  One of these goals is love, a little TLC, “I think the food at Woodloch needs inspiration.  I want every plate that runs out of any Woodloch kitchen to exude passion and heart.”

 Just beyond the entrance to The Lodge at Woodloch is a dirt road that leads to a lush garden where the concept of “farm to fork” comes from. Growing freshly there is everything from baby kale to fresh peas nestled in their pods. In the midst of getting to know what Steven brings to the table, I was able to step into his element where he is most inspired to do what he does best. Steven thrives off the ability to give guests quality, inspired, fresh cuisine. He wants to leave each plate with something scratch prepared, not necessarily out of a can. One of the many unique elements of Woodloch culinary arts is the new ability to be able to give our guests healthy, well-balanced options that could easily have been picked fresh from the garden the day their plate hits the table; which will continue to grow, figuratively and literally.

Stevan comes to Woodloch with 29 years of service and experience as the former executive chef at Skytop Lodge. He brought with him an exuberant ambition to keep dining options here at Woodloch trendy, unique, and to create consistency within each menu. There will always be room for improvement, but when it comes to our food options here we must always aim high and raise the bar.

R  Marketing sara.coons food 2Another great asset the Stevan brings to the table is an externship development program. Giving externs an environment in which they can grow to become a key player and eventually a long-term teammate in the kitchens here at Woodloch.  The short-term benefit to this program is giving Woodloch extremely talented chefs during the most peak season when demand is high.  The externs always seem to bring in passion, positive attitudes, and professional pride to our culinary and pastry teams.

 “At the end of their visit, I want guests to leave Woodloch saying, ‘Wow! This place was great. It had great activities, and fantastic entertainment, BUT the food was out of this world!’”

Cheers to the future of Woodloch dining, welcome aboard Chef Sundberg!

-shared by Sara Coons

A Woodloch Employee's Fatherly Inspiration

  
  
  
  
  
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 ~shared by Colleen Mitchell

A very Happy Father's Day to all!

 What's that old saying: "Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad."

 Colleen Mitchell and brother Kevin know all about special parents, the kind that make the world a better place, who brighten dark days, who listen, encourage and love you -- no matter what.

 Each Father's day is special. Yet, Father's Day 2014 is gearing up to be so much better for Glenn Mitchell of Forks Township. You see, last year, he was struggling to survive with a heart that was nearly worn out. On a much needed transplant list, he was anxiously awaiting a perfect match.

 There were two false alarms for a new heart. The first was turned down by the heart transplant team and second was turned down by Glenn for various medical reasons; and finally, a third and much awaited call. On October 29, 2013, Glenn underwent intensive surgery, receiving a priceless, beating gift.

 Eight months later, a healthier Glenn has the following words of advice: "Don't give up hope" and "Keep your faith." Asked if God's strength upheld him throughout his tough ordeal, Glenn instantly answered "absolutely."

 Once gravely ill, he's been given a new lease on life, one of independence, travel and trips to the gym. Having just returned from Florida, Glenn says air travel is limited to a couple of hours. But that doesn't mean he's given up hope of a return trip to Ireland sometime in the future. It'll have to wait at least a year out from the transplant date - doctor's orders.

 Medications have dramatically dropped from 35 to 40 pills post-transplant to about 25 pills taken daily nowadays. And yes, diet and exercise are strict, with triple trips to the gym weekly and diet restricted in fat, sugar and salt intake. But he's not complaining. It's just so good to be alive, to spend time with family and friends.

 His life's motto…  "Make the most of each day. Have a list of things to do each day and try to accomplish them."

 There's an important item on Glenn's bucket list that he'll definitely fulfill in the near future. "One year after transplant, we can write a letter (to the donor's family," he explained. That's when he'll pen the biggest "thank you" ever. There aren't enough words in the English language to describe the ultimate gift that he's been given.

 Glenn and his entire family are strong supporters of organ donation.

 "All of us, the whole family, are so proud of him," Colleen said.

 To learn more about organ donation, please visit organdonor.gov.

 Colleen Mitchell is enrolled in the management training program at Woodloch Pines Resort.

 

Exploring Woodloch: There's No Way Like "The Segway!"

  
  
  
  
  
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family reunions, golf resorts

-shared by Sara Coons

Let’s just say it folks, summer is so close we can almost see it! We’ve reached the end of May where the days are longer and the temperature is hotter! FINALLY! With that said, walking from one spot to another can become more of a walking sauna experience, turning a good hair day into a humid frizzy mess, for all who know what I’m talking about, you know exactly what I mean! On a hot day, even the littlest walk can feel like an all-out workout which is sure what it felt like when I was walking over to try out my skills on a Segway.

To sum up the emotion of a Segway “newb” like myself in a blockbuster hit, it would have felt just like the scene from the Titanic when Jack steps onto the very front of the ship and yells, “I’m the king of the world!!”  I’m sure if Jack rode a Segway on our trails here at Woodloch Resort chances are he probably would have said the same thing. The freedom that it provides you with is just totally awesome! Like everything here at Woodloch, after my Segway experience, I was officially convinced that what this resort has to offer is truly a unique experience!

With the patience of the always helpful staff here at Woodloch, after a very brief instructional video about ways to avoid a Segway ride gone totally wrong it was time to test it out. Just like riding a bike for the first time, I had hesitation on trusting a machine to get me from one point to another without falling off, but after time it came just as natural as walking.. Instantly two of my summer “beefs” were resolved, 1. I had to wear a helmet, which totally tamed the frizz I’d like to refer to as my hair, and 2. Left me with a b-e-a-utiful (good ole’ Jim Carry reference there) breeze made by yours truly and a Segway. 

After just a few short minutes of riding, I began to feel like the Segway was a part of me.  I felt free, independent and ultimately relaxed as I traversed the curves and hills of Woodloch's lush Nature Trail. Like all good things though, the tour eventually came to an end (only after my tour guide wrestled the machine from my hands). On a personal level, I will say that it was an experience I will never forget and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Woodloch offers Segway Tours now through the fall, conditions permitting.

 

 

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New at Woodloch for 2014: PART 2!

  
  
  
  
  
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~shared by J. Ranner

I'm a HUGE fan of classic rock. I don't consider myself really to a music snob, but in my humble opinion music these days just can't hold a candle to the "old time rock n' roll" (the kind of music that soothes my soul.)

Anyways, as I was rocking out on my morning commute the other day to Thin Lizzy, I was reminded by the song:

"That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song- the nights are getting warmer it won't be long, it won't be long til' the SUMMER COMES..."

And it hit me. With less than one week to go until Memorial Day, summer is practically here! Kids all over America are counting down the school days left until they are free from the educational system for a few months. Flip flops, sundresses and long days in the hammock are on the horizon!

And in addition to all of the great things we mentioned earlier, there's even MORE excitement on the way to Woodloch this summer! 

 

Get ready for:  


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Little Pocono Raceway’s Grand Opening – I feel the

need… the NEED FOR SPEED!  To keep up with demand and to diminish lines, Woodloch will be opening a second go-kart track next to our Nature Trail! 

 

Rice Krispie Wars – You’ve made it through our “Cupcake Battles” and “Take the Cake” competitions… it’s time to up the ante! For the summer of 2014, “kitchens” will be squaring off using those delicious marshmallow treats to sculpt delicious works of art!  Time and limited resources are your adversaries, but teamwork and creativity are your strongest allies! No idea is too crazy- bring your “A-Game” to the North Lodge bakery all summer long!  

 

Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.  Do you have what it takes to SURVIVE our games at the lake this summer?  No tribe does it alone- in your quest for the gold medal, teams will have to work together in six trials of speed, strength, endurance and wits! Catch it all summer long on the shores of Lake Teedyuskung!

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Big Bad Board Games- We've all experienced the fun of "game night" at home... but what if you could "supersize" them?  Check out our "Big Bad Board Games" on the Front Lawn to relive all the fun with that trademark Woodloch twist! 

 

80’s Blacklight Dance Party – Oh yeah, we’re going there!  Be sure to bring plenty of neon clothing with you for this special event!  Join our staff as we blast the best 80’s music around in our North Lodge and compete for prizes with great games in between! 

 

We're primed for some serious fun in the sun... are you? Hope to see you this season!
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Summer 2014 Brings a Whole Lotta NEW!

  
  
  
  
  
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~Shared by J. Ranner

 

Ahh... flowers are in full bloom, the days are getting longer, and the temperatures are getting warm enough for me unleash my inner Matthew Mcconaughey and tan in my backyard. Summer is CLEARLY on the way... alright, alright, alright!

With the excitement of delicious cold drinks and sunshine comes a whole NEW slate of activities and events that will be headed your way in 2014 at Woodloch!  As a staff member, I always feel that each summer will be harder to trump than the last... and every year, I'm once again humbled as our team continues to unleash the awesome for all of your family and friends.  

Let's take a sneak peak at some of the cool stuff headed your way this summer!

Tournament of Thrones – Sweet Mother of Dragons!  This summer, join us up at the Athletic Field as you compete head to head against other “Houses”- remember, only one team can emerge victorious and wear the crown upon “The Iron Throne.” Teams of 10 to 12 players will compete all summer long in games based on the popular show. Brush up on your archery skills and swordsmanship… “Winter is coming!” 

 

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“The British are Coming!”- Blast back to past for a double-edged retro salute to the British Invasion of America in the 1960’s!  It all starts with our special “British Invasion” edition of “So You Think You Know Music”- be sure to brush up on the era.  Monday evenings will transform our North Lodge lawn into Liverpool, England- it’s our UK Rock Fest featuring UUU!  

 

Woodloch Goes to the Movies for our brand new carnival!  Each and every game draws inspiration from your favorite movies- whether you’re visiting a park sprawling with dinosaurs, unleashing your inner Katniss Everdeen or using your superpowers to fight for justice!  There will even be a special game that pays tribute to movie soundtracks! Win great prizes! 

 

Abracadabra! Have you ever dreamed of one day becoming a magician? I know I have, and this summer, Woodloch will be offering our first ever “Magic Workshop” to our guests!  Join illusionist John Graham as he teaches you to dazzle friends and family with sleight of hand using everyday objects.  Both kids and adults will be “enchanted” all summer long! 

 

Late Night with Joey with so many changes being made to late night television, we thought we’d make a run at producing our own late night show!  Every Thursday in the summer, join our very own Joey for a unique interactive comedy show featuring YOU, our Woodloch guests!  Be ready for ANYTHING!

 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, kids. There's even MORE to report- but you're just going to have to stay tuned for more information in the coming days!

 

Pool Games at Woodloch from Woodloch Pines on Vimeo.

 

 

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Woodloch: HOME EDITION: Scavenger Hunt

  
  
  
  
  
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~shared by J. Ranner


Sometimes, despite my “young” age, I feel like an 85 year old man trapped inside the body of a 28 year old. I’m what they call “an old soul”- I’m very big on tradition and would love to go back to “the good old days” which I don’t directly recall, as they happened decades before my own birth.

One of my pet peeves today is sincerely the state of prime time television. Though there are a few really great shows on air (Game of Thrones and Mad Men are my personal favorites), it’s safe to say you have to sift through some garbage to find quality. Too many reality shows and morbidly dark shows are consuming the airways in my opinion.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, America had a golden age of GAME SHOWS- exactly what I want sometimes. Low key TV that helps me kick back, unwind and relieve my stresses for a while. Whether it was the hilarious antics of “The Dating Game,” battling wits with “Jeopardy” or watching your favorite stars with “Hollywood Squares,” there was always something for everyone.

Games got so popular that toy companies even started selling HOME EDITIONS of their most popular shows, so the fun could continue even between airings of your favorite shows. Which got me thinking: since Woodloch can sometimes kind of be like a game show with some of our events, how great would it be to have “home editions” of some of our marquee events?

I’ve huddled up with my friends in our Social Staff and I think we’ve come up with the perfect solution. Look for new installments of this blog often!”

SCAVENGER HUNT – Home Edition

Ahh, yes. The Scavenger Hunt. It is one of our oldest and most traditional contests, but it does not lack in intensity. As anyone who has participated knows, it is one of the craziest hours you will spend on your Pocono Woodloch vacation. Teams of 10 to 12 players come together to run for their “bonus,” try to crack our brainteasing puzzles, and of course find items on an extensive list.

Despite all the gears turning at once, the good news is that this game actually translates fairly well to a smaller ordeal- perfect for reunions, picnics, parties and even team building endeavors!

SET UP


PLACE: You’ll need a rendezvous point for when the game ends. It can be inside, outside, wherever really- just as long as everyone leaves and arrives back at the same time.

TIME: For us, it has always been 55 minutes total, but we typically work with larger teams. Depending on your group, you may have to expand this- you DO need a time constraint of some sort to add to the fun fury of the hunt.

MATERIALS: Luckily, this isn’t an expensive endeavor but you may have to spend some time developing an appropriate list, “Frantic Pic” bonus and accompanying puzzles. As someone who has developed them, it never feels like “work”- it’s far too much fun! But you will need a computer and a printer if you’d like to include these options. Make up your packets so your group has a chance to give everything a try. We give you a list, a photo bonus, and about 12 puzzles for each hunt. Play it by ear.

DESIGN: First and foremost, you need an ITEM LIST. Ours feature over 60 items- really strong teams typically come up with about half of that when they return. For smaller endeavors, scale it back. Think of what someone can possibly find in their environment, what they already might have, and in some circumstances, what they can MAKE (i.e. costumes, puppets, postcards etc.) and try to balance it out. The harder it is to obtain an item, the more points you should make it worth. Great ideas for puzzles exist on Sporcle, and you can even check out our “Roadtrip Concierge” program for extra ideas on Frantic Pic bonuses and items!

GO: You’re going to need someone to serve as Grand Marshall / MC / Leader / call it what you will. They will not only be organizing and timing everyone but will be responsible for fairly scoring everyone. For BIG groups, you may need to have “scorekeepers” to give you a hand when everyone returns. REMEMBER: players can “argue” all they want, but the judge’s decision is always final!

INCENTIVE: Of course, at Woodloch, we are ALWAYS about competition. The fun of the games is always a reward in itself, but we like to spice things up by offering prizes to our guests. There’s nothing quite like the euphoric sense of hoisting that gold medal high and placing it triumphantly around your neck.


You can always buy a few cheap medals in places like the dollar tree and certainly online, but don’t underestimate the value of human craftsmanship! Sometimes, all you need is an ideal with some tin foil and string!

And that is really all you need to get a good home-made Scavenger Hunt underway… that and enthusiasm! Always have a few cameras and camcorders around to capture all of your smiles!

Like where we’re going with this? Check back often for new installments in this series!

 

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Woodloch Staff Members Showcase Their Talents to Benefit Fellow Employees

  
  
  
  
  
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~Shared by T. Compton

Hugs from Sharon Bedrosian, Woodloch's Meal Reservation Specialist, come straight from the heart.

My sis, Cherryl Hessling, and I had just left the stage, knees still knocking after singing two songs: "Hey Santa" and "You're in Love" at Woodloch's Crisis Fund Show, a fund originally established by Woodloch employees back in 1986 as a means of assisting staff members in times of need.  

Had we even sung the right words?

Practice in an empty auditorium is one thing, but bring on the bright lights and an audience, and the adrenaline starts pumping (I believe they call it the fight or flight response :)

A jolly old elf, Craig Bower, had generously joined us on stage for our second act. That helped a lot, as did Sharon rushing forward with words of praise and warm hugs, telling us we'd sung well - that we'd brought tears to her eyes.

That's who Sharon is; the one who puts it all together, who treats each talent with love and care.

And trust me, there was plenty of talent. All 19 acts gave of themselves, bringing laughter and singing, poetry and dance, musicians and a magic act. And let's not leave out the crescendo -- the Kiesendahl Family, owners of Woodloch, brought the house down.

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Hats off to all who made the night a success: "In the Garden" and "My Wild Irish Rose" sung by the Stourbridge Lion (a quartet from Northeasters Barbershop Chorus) featuring Scottie Ogden, Elmer Day, Frank Boast, and Jeff Granger; "Salsa Delight" dance featuring Amanda Gallo and Luis Tejada; Captain Apathy skit featuring Shari Denker and Adrian DiGiovanni; songs by Jim "Doc" Mould accompanied by Harry Petaccio on piano; "What I Did for Love" sung by Cara Stakowski accompanied by Harry Petaccio on piano; "The Skeletar is Back" featuring Luis Tejada; a magic act by Harry Petaccio; and "Let it Go" (from the movie Frozen) featuring Jacqlyn Olecki accompanied by Justin Taraschuk.

The second act began with Briana Torres playing guitar and singing "Radioactive," followed by Woodloch's Sweethearts in fine Zumba form, featuring: Amanda Gallo, Chris Bower, Cara Stokowski, Sharon Bedrosian, Sue Guccini, Tess Murray and Amy Beilman; "Guns & DC" featuring Sam Abuschinow; "I Could Chew on This & Other Poems By Dogs" featuring Adrian DiGiovanni; "Columbia Pete" featuring Amanda Gallo and Luis Tejada; "When You Wish Upon A Star" featuring Rich Perrotta on guitar followed by Jen Kiesendahl's "Route 66" with Rich accompanying; "Young Frankenstein" featuring Randy Barnes and Patrick Kiesendahl; "Listen to Your Heart" featuring a remake sung by Wayne Howell Jr.; Social Staff's choreographed dance; and The Kiesendahl Family.

Special thanks to those Woodloch staff members who worked tirelessly behind the scenes: Nichole Granville, Luis Tejada, Debbie Katz,Chris Engel, Nancy Kutz, Sandy Kowalczyk, Sue Nordenhold, Phyllis Donohue, Dee Austin, Charles Knapp, Krystal Schrieber, The Bar Staff, The Country Store and The Woodloch Pines Kitchen.

Thanks to the following businesses and friends: Brucelli Advertising, Pocono Profood, Tom Butler Provisions, Woodloch Shoppes, and Woodloch Pines Resort.

Woodloch's Crisis Fund is all about helping others. Here's the background story as shared by Sharon Bedrosian:

"The first Crisis Fund Show was held in November of 1988. This fund was set up by Woodloch employees to benefit employees. Two days before the very first show, a fatal fire claimed the life of a staff member's brother. The tragic fire is a perfect example of why this fund was established.

"Since its inception, we have held shows every other dyear. The Woodloch Family donates the Heritage Club for us to perform a myriad of both silly and talented acts. All ticket sales, baked goods and 50 percent of the bar sales go into the fund. We also receive donations from vendors, guests and others for a 'tricky tray' to raise additional funds.

"Sadly, we have had many occasions throughout the years to help staff through the Crisis Fund. Fortunately, we are able to lend a helping hand.

"Charlie McHale was one of our first staff to be helped. He was a dishwasher here for years. He was also a 'hero' veteran of WWII. He developed lung cancer and was being treated at Walter Reed Hospital. He loved the Boston Red Sox, so we got him complimentary tickets to a game and he was able to help fill his bucket list.

"One of our housekeepers, Ken Ackerman, had a fire in his home. He was in the process of getting everyone out and had gone back in for his baby. Sadly, they both perished. The Crisis Fund helped, as did many Woodloch staff.

"We held a square dance for another longtime staff member in our Maintenance Department, Brian "Newt" Hafler. Sadly, Brian got his wings shortly thereafter. The money raised was used by his family.

"We have noted money to staff for airline tickets to be with loved ones in time of need, to buy gas for staff undergoing chemo, radiation or other critical situations, and to purchase gift certificates from local supermarkets for families in need. It's what the fund is all about - helping families in crisis."

 

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How "Middle-Aged Warriors" are Forged at Woodloch

  
  
  
  
  
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~ shared by Martin Lessner

It seems that among a certain set of athletes, the traditional 100 mile bike ride or 26.2 mile run is (yawn) no longer a worthy goal.  Hence the proliferation of "Ultra" sporting events, like triathlons, Ironmans, and events combining mental challenges with exhausting "feats of strength." 

For example, consider the "Super Spartan" which "provides an 8-mile battlefield of insane mud running with 15+ obstacles to test your physical strength and mental resolve. This mud fest of a race will have many trials to push you to your full potential!" And then, of course, there is the granddaddy of all challenges, as written up in Outside Magazine, where few finish, and with a web site that says it all:  YouMayDie.com

Now consider, if you will, a longstanding tradition, the Woodloch weekend.  Woodloch is a family retreat facility, laid out on a lake surrounded by about 150 acres of woods, ten miles from the PA/NY border.  For eight years, my family and Jeff W.'s family, along with three other college friends and their families (a/k/a the "Penn Pals") spend a winter weekend competing in various events against scores of other families from New York and Philadelphia.  The ultimate prize is the gold Woodloch medal, to be worn proudly around one's neck while walking around the dining room.

This year's weekend was in cold and snowy mid-February.  A Friday night arrival allows us to warm up in the "Cash Cab" event, modeled after the TV show.  In a promising start, we win in a comeback in the final round of the 55 minute event, with a question right in my knowledge sweet spot: "What is the sum of (a) the year of the First Continental Congress plus (b) the year Disney World opened in Orlando?"  A team gold medal is our reward for my overruling a certain history major and pop culture expert who pressed for dates a year off the correct answer (1774 + 1971 = 3745).

This is merely a warm-up for Saturday's main events.  First up is the 7:00 a.m. father/son basketball game.  On one side, five guys in their late 40's, in wildly varying physical shape. On the other side are 17, 16, 15, and two 13 year old boys.  My son Zack had been talking smack the whole prior week, labeling me as "not good at basketball," another college pal as "not athletic enough," and accurately describing Jeff W. as "injury prone."  The games were tough, with lots of sweat and elbows, and ended in a father/son split of 1 game apiece, and no serious injuries for the dads (for now).

Next up at 10:00 a.m. is the premier event, the Scavenger Hunt. Although the actual event is a strictly timed one hour affair, preparation begins months in advance.  It starts with playing various online games on the Woodloch website.  Attaining a certain success level at these online games yields a partial list of items that will be required if a team wants to have any chance of winning in February.  Before we left for Woodloch, Dan K. was kind enough to loan me his "Born to Run" album on vinyl.  Other clues resulted in our team pre-gathering the following:

  • Return of the Jedi on VHS
  • Count Chocula cereal
  • a winning lottery ticket
  • Tim Tebow rookie card
  • Halle Berry perfume
  • pretzel M&Ms
  • autobiography of Mark Twain vol. 1
  • Volkswagen key
  • "Lost" season 6 on DVD

Other competitive teams of families show up with these items too.  And most show up with laptops and iPads for easy access to the internet, all the better to answer the questions and mind benders to be handed out shortly.  After the instructions and checklists are distributed (to all teams at the same time), the one hour clock starts.  Our captain delegates to everybody their role, matching as many items on the lists as possible, whether it is the kids dressing up funny, composing a song, or the wives solving puzzles and finding other items (but not taking something from another team or the gift shop, because that is considered "stealing").

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Jeff and I are assigned to go after the 150 point bonus.  Out the door into the 10 degree morning, we run a half mile to the snow-covered nature trail.  Along the trail some trees have small signs tacked on them, with a foreign word or phrase, some in German or looking like German (but really gibberish).  We separate and run along different parts of the trail.  Upon spotting a tree with a word nailed to it, we take out our blackberries and e-mail it back to a teammate sitting by a computer in the main lounge.  In about half hour, with frozen hands and cold feet, we run back from the trail to the main lounge, where our teammate has run the words through a German/English translator.  The few random words actually in German (head, comb, awake, rise) are part of a Beatles song, but which one?  With a little help from my friends, it comes to me that these are words from "A Day in the Life", which I then have to sing from memory to Joey (the longtime Woodloch MC and judge).  After an off-tune rendition of  "Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head", Joey gives me a code, which I then use to navigate through a web site, which eventually plays a short music clip, which I identify as "Lovely Rita."  We get our bonus points, and in the end, win the silver medal.

The events keep coming.  Next up is the father/son football game on a field covered with ice and snow.  Again, injury potential is high, but the Dads escape unscathed.  Jeff and I then run 5 hilly miles on a road leading down to the NY border on Delaware River, arriving back just in time for the "Name that Tune" competition.  For the first time ever, our families beat the other 24 teams, mainly on the strength of our early teenage daughters, who fuel a last round comeback based on their knowledge of "songs" from the last three years.  Class of 1985 members are clueless.

Sunday: on the court by 7:00 a.m. for father/son basketball, Part II.  This time, the dads squeak by, two games to one.  Then the 10:00 a.m. Winter Olympics, with six timed events involving tubing, sledding, running up and down snow covered hills, shooting a hockey puck, and the ten person team "running while bound together with a giant bungee cord" event.  The last Olympic event involves running up an incline, touching a flag, then sliding down a steep slope to touch another flag.  We do not win the Winter Olympics.  In fact, we finish near the bottom of the 24 teams.  And in a recent update, Jeff W. informs me that "the huge bruise from the Olympics Butt-Slide Event debacle is still there."

Two o’clock is the "Amazing Race."  Among the many implausible events, Jeff and I are delegated by our captain to gather points by running a half mile to a snow bank.  I then drag Jeff down the hill by his feet, and he struggles to do the same for me up the hill. For this we get a piece of paper, which allows us to run a half mile back for further instructions.  These further instructions send Jeff and me back on another half mile run, where we must knock over water bottles with a pendulum, play "Bop-It" 25 times without error, run some more to a different location, eat a full large snow cone drenched with red-dye laden syrup (this was the hardest event, resulting in both brain freeze and stomach ache), and rotate a stack of 20 cups without dropping.  Then a half mile run back to the lodge. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is playing charades, running around the campus taking pictures of certain things (the snowplow, the tree by the lake, etc.), and solving puzzles.  Our streak continues, and we take the bronze medal.  Meanwhile, my son Zack returns with the gold medal in the Texas Hold'em Tournament.

Lessner 3By four o'clock on Sunday, Jeff's non-"injury prone" streak comes to an end.  The late afternoon football game on the snow and ice has Jeff trying to cover a teenager.  For no good reason (age?), Jeff's hamstring goes south.  Immobilized, we flag down a bus to take Jeff back to the lodge.  Pretty much the end of the competitions, save for the wrap-up "Family Feud", where we go down in flames in the second round, unable to name all ten items on the board "that would fall out of your pocket if you were turned upside down."

In conclusion, when I read about the Ultra endurance "Super Spartan", "You May Die" competitions I could never do, I take solace in the fact that my almost 48 year old body and mind survived the trials of Woodloch, with many keepsake memories of family and friend teamwork in the face of stiff competition from those always tough New York and Philly families.

 

Martin Lessner is a long-time Woodloch guest and friend. 


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#WoodlochLove is in the air in the Pocono Mountains!

  
  
  
  
  
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~shared by J. Ranner

Teddy bears, red roses and little tiny conversation hearts everywhere you go, from the most upscale shopping venues on Fifth Avenue to the gas station counter in downtown Hawley.

Love is in the air. Every February 14th, couples (and hopeful romantics) let the world know their intentions with fancy dinners, sentimental cards and in some cases, the presentation of jewelry and other elaborate gifts.  That's what love is all about, right? Taking one day of the year, going over the top and letting the world know that "she's mine." 

Nope. Not to me. And I feel I'm not alone. 

My experiences and observations of what I consider to be "true love" are really more eternal. You don't take one day of the year to let someone know how important they are to you- you let them know every day of the year, and not always in grand fashion. Subtle hints of care often speak volumes over razzle dazzle. To me, those are the couples that endure and last. 

I've been working at Woodloch for over 16 years and have lost count of all the sweet gestures and stories I've seen over the years from our guests.  I've seen many romances - TRUE ROMANCES - develope and flourish right before my very eyes.  I've had friends meet their soul mates here, then I've watched their families grow.  There's seriously something about Lake Teedyuskung that brings out the best in all of us. In the end, "little things" collectively end up as being "the big things" after all. 

 

Recently, we've received a flood of special Woodloch love stories. So, in the spirit of the season, I'd like to share just a few of them with you today.  

 

"My husband and I have been going since we were 17 - we are both approaching 50 now (totally crazy). We have been visiting Woodloch as teenagers, newlyweds, "babies on the way"; "infants in tow"; "toddlers in tow" and now "mini adults in tow. We have certainly passed on your tradition to our children who are now entering adulthood and still beg us to take them twice a year."


"My wife and I were fighting. She just had our second son a few months ago. She was complaining that we never do anything fun because I was always working. It was just before labor day 2007. I stormed away and went on line. Found Woodloch and booked Labor Day weekend. I came downstairs and said, 'I booked a trip - happy?' That was 6 years ago. We just had our 12th visit. Best fight we ever had."

 

"When my husband proposed I knew the only place I wanted to get married was Woodloch. It's like going home again! Now I bring my children every year and hope they will continue the tradition when they have families of their own one day."

 

"My parents would go yearly with another couple in the early 1980's. We always heard great stories and were shown beautiful pictures. My brother and sister in law were the first ones to accompany my parents and loved it! Before you knew it we all joined it (mid 1980's). As each year passed it grew into nieces and nephews joining us every October. We continued to go even after my Dad passed away in 1994. Unfortunately we lost my Mom in 2010 and my nieces and nephews are in college so each year since then it is now my husband and I carrying on the tradition. We know one day my siblings and their children will be back again when possible. We love it and can not imagine a year without Woodloch. Wonderful memories...priceless."

 

"My only son dressed as Tigger asked his wife to marry him in the dining room."

 

And this is just a sampling of the great stories we have- and I know there are many more out there! Feel free to share your special tale in the comments section below! 

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