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Visit Woodloch, and a flock of blue shirts known as our Social Staff keep guests running and having fun. Today, I'd like you to meet Mr. Bob Filarsky, the man who supervises all of the chaos ...
Please tell us the tale of how you started working for Woodloch.
I started here in June of 2003 on a Recreation Management Internship. When that summer was over, they asked me if I wanted to stay just to help out with the Haunted Hayrides that fall ... that was almost 9 years ago now!
As an activities supervisor, please tell us what your favorite activity here is and why.
Tough question. My favorite thing to do here is drive a ski boat. You are in the sun, out on the lake, driving a boat ... don't think I have to say anything else. My favorite activity here is probably Double Dare. Just the fact that you have guests from 6 to 60 years old diving into chocolate sauce and begging to be squirted by a hose amazes me. It really brings out the inner child in everyone, and I can't imagine another place where they can do that.
What was the most rewarding/memorable experience you have had with a guest here over the years?
It was actually driving a ski boat. It was probably about 4 years ago, and it was a beautiful quiet day in the offseason, and the lake was like glass. I had an older gentlemen come to go skiing. He was probably 60 or 70 years old and told me he hadn't gone in about 10 years, so I was a little nervous, but he was in good shape and really wanted to go. He got up on the skis no problem, did his two laps around the lake, and I dropped him back off at the dock. When I got back to the dock to help him, he had tears in his eyes and immediately starting thanking me. He said it was one of the best times he ever had skiing . He said it really brought him back and that would be the last time he would ever go skiing. He was really moved by it and to see that genuine reaction from him really reminded me of what we actually do here.
Outside of work, what is your favorite hobby / pastime?
I really enjoy watching football. I am a huge Vikings
fan and all year long I look forward to the 16 Sundays I get to watch football. I also really enjoy cooking. I worked as a cook in high school and throughout college. I didn't want to make a career out of it, but it is a big passion of mine.
What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?
Another tough question. I will give you two answers. I am a huge Chris Farley fan so I've seen the movie Tommy Boy
more than any other movie in my life. I can basically recite the whole movie. I also love the movie Fight Club. I just thought the whole gist of the movie was genius.
I know you are a big football fan. Make a Superbowl prediction.
New England Patriots win it all, with Rob Gronkowski as MVP.
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At peak operation, Woodloch employs over one thousand employees. We'd like to introduce you to one of them! Meet Melissa Latsch: Melissa is a human resource assistant and the coordinator for Woodloch's International Work Program!
When did you first start working at Woodloch, and how exactly did you end up in HR?
I started at the end of August 2005. I just moved up here from New York. I interviewed with Anthony, our Human Resource Director, a couple of days before I moved up here permanently. The interview was for front desk and/or human resources. I found out on my wedding day that I was hired, and I would start in HR when I returned from our honeymoon. I was so excited; I was hoping for human resources!
Approximately how many employees have you seen start working here? (Work at an All-Inclusive Family Resort)
A LOT! I’m guessing over 1,000!
Outside of the office, where do you enjoy spending your "free" time (assuming you have any at all, we know your kids keep you BUSY!)
Ha, that’s a good one! First, I love spending time with my family. Then going out with my friends dancing and shopping of course too!
What is your absolute fondest Woodloch memory?
I would have to say the first week I started working; everyone was so nice and helpful to me. I was nervous moving to a different state and starting a new job, but everyone made me feel so comfortable. I was surprised that JK actually shook my hand and was sincere in welcoming me on-board. Any company I have ever worked for, the CEO never even acknowledged you existed. I have made many friends here, and I hope to make more!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are several things, but probably the top two are working with the internationals and helping the employees. I love hearing about all the different cultures, and I try my best to help out staff with any type of issues.
Everyone has at least one "hidden talent." What is yours?
I used to be dancer, not dirty … ballet, tap and jazz. I went to school for dance from when I was 3 to 16. I LOVED it! I always wanted to be a backup dancer for someone famous or a choreographer.
Make a BOLD prediction for 2012.
I hope this comes true; I hope for everyone to be healthy, happy, and wealthy. I know it’s corny, but being healthy will make you happy and having some wealth won’t do anyone harm ;)!
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One of the first years I actually consciously remember was 1995. Although the year of course featured the world debut of Buzz Lightyear and Cal Ripken Jr. smashing a baseball record, my best memories from that year all stem from the wonderful MUSIC that had been released. This was the first year in my life in which I actually grew an appreciation for the art. Yes, I went "chasing waterfalls" with TLC, only wanted to be with Hootie and the Blowfish, and became a complete "basket case" for Green Day. This was the year that propelled me to being a true music lover.
Over my 14 year tenure at Woodloch, I've met many guests who share my passion. The great thing about our resort is that you can put your musical appreciation and palattes to the test in one of our featured "Name That Tune" competetions. In this game, we span many different generations and genres of music to see which team has the best musical chops. Though I could NEVER share any inside information to help your team get a leg up in the contest, I thought I would recommend some resources and helpful techniques for you to get yourself ready:
1. Online Music Services- many of these are free, and offer you a great opportunity to broaden your listening horizon. Recently, a free program called Spotify seems to have taken the web by storm. With limited commercial interruptions, you can listen to literally hundreds of thousands of tracks on demand. Alternatively, internet radio stations like Pandora not only offer free streaming music but can also adjust your playlists based on your personal tastes. And like all great things in life, there's a mobile app for your iPhones, Blackberries, cherries, grapes and etc. I find both of these sites very good at helping you connect what you hear with a name/band.
2. Publications- although newspapers and magazines are becoming less and less commonplace in this wonderful digital age, they can still keep you up to beat with what's hot and trendy in the music industry. Publications like SPIN and Rolling Stone are great for stories, but Billboard Magazine gives a statistical rundown on the country's hottest tracks.
3. Quiz Websites- in my opinion, this is the best way to get yourself ready. Namely, a gaming site named Sporcle features quizzes that will test your mental reflexes and condition you to be able to name that tune in a matter of seconds. There's a great variety here so I encourage you to practice, practice, practice!
4. Friends- and last but not least, when assembling your team, choose wisely and don't underestimate people. Play to everyone's strengths. For instance, while I love classic rock and alternative music, I am completely in the dark on many of todays pop hits. That's where having a teammate like my 13 year-old-sister would come in handy. A good diverse team is usually a strong one!
And that's all the tips I'm willing to share with you. Of course, you can always visit THE EDGE for a chance to win hints at the games. So please study up, come on back, and play some "Name That Tune" with us. And impress us with what you've learned!
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International employees come from all over the world to work at Woodloch, one of the best all inclusive resorts around. They improve their English skills, get college credits, learn about our culture and teach us about theirs. Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Russia, Germany, Moldova, France and Romania are just a few of the countries that have participated in the International Work Program at Woodloch. Over 20 European and Mexican internationals are employed at Woodloch every summer and even a handful of students from South America during the winter time. Their visits range from four to seven months, and before they return home, Woodloch sponsors a trip to the country’s Capital or even Niagara Falls.
The international employees work primarily in the housekeeping, food and beverage, and landscaping departments.
- Strong friendships are built and cultivated through the spirit of teamwork at Woodloch.
- After coming to Woodloch, some international employees transfer to American universities to continue their education with their improved English skills.
- International employees and interns are an essential part of the Woodloch family.
It’s hard for the year-round employees to say goodbye to their new friends at the end of the program. Some students come back year after year during school breaks. Many form strong friendships with year-round employees who in turn have traveled abroad to visit their international colleagues. Additionally, a number return each year to take on the same positions or even advance as supervisors!
Romulo Junior, an international student from Brazil, worked at Woodloch for three consecutive winters and then decided to transfer to a school in New Jersey. He praises Woodloch, the program, and the people he met here:
“I traveled to Woodloch first in winter of 2007 during my school break. I spoke very little English and worked in the housekeeping department. I made a lot of friends during the three month work program so I decided to return the next year. Melissa Latsch, the international coordinator, was very helpful. Any problems we had with our house or communication we went right to Melissa, and she always did her best to help us.
Woodloch provided us with a house to live in and food to eat. We could also go swimming or even use the gym. At the end of my stay, Woodloch sponsored a trip to Washington D.C., and our tour bus stopped in Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City. From the staff to the owners, everyone at Woodloch was patient, kind and very understanding. They were intrigued by my culture and I by theirs. I had a great time at Woodloch and improved my English enough to study in the U.S. After my third visit, I decided to transfer to a school in Sussex, New Jersey. I am very thankful to Woodloch for the great opportunities they have provided me with and for all the friends I have made. I know these people will be an important part of my life for years to come.”
To learn more about the Woodloch International Work Program visit the 'Work With Us' page.
Please feel free to comment below with any questions!