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A Pocono Perspective ~ Woodloch's Blog

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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

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


Woodloch Guest Runs for a Cause

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~Shared by J. Ranner

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Now that I think of it, I've learned more from Dr. Seuss than I did throughout four years of college. There's an awful lot of truth in his words. We live in a world with almost 7 billion other people, so at times it's somewhat easy to feel small and insignificant.

Even though there's nothing further from the truth.

Change has to start sometime, somewhere, with someone. So why not be the one to make it happen?

We're proud to announce that Woodloch's very own guest, staff member and friend is doing what she can to make some positive change in our world. Jocelyn Gebhardt of Fallston, Maryland, will be running in the Saint Luke's Half Marathon on April 28th, 2013. She is doing it all to raise awareness for melanoma. 

Her motivation comes from the heart. She will be running in memory of her mother, Teri. Teri was not only a Woodloch guest but a very special Woodloch guest; she was the recipient of Woodloch's "Chuck Russell Award," which is handed out during the summer to people who demonstrate the true meaning of the Woodloch Games. Teri had a very welcoming disposition and knew how to make everyone smile. "She loved everyone," says Jocelyn. "No matter who you were or what you did, she just loved you, and she let you know that. I remember her as always trying to help someone." Woodloch provided the Gebhardt family with 15 years of "leaving reality" for a week. To Teri, Woodloch was a special place where she could just be herself and be "crazy" without anyone thinking it was odd!

Teri was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in 2004 when Jocelyn was just 16 years old. Though doctors gave her just 6 months to live, Teri, alongside her loving family, fought as valiantly as possible. "She didn't let the disease get the best of her," says Jocelyn. "She still came to my college lacrosse tournaments and went to our beach house on the weekends. I learned so much from her during that time about what it was to be strong."

Sadly, Teri lost a very tough battle with melanoma in 2007. Though she was deeply saddened by her loss, Jocelyn keeps her spirit alive with a great attitude and willingness to help others. "She was always so positive and upbeat, living everyday like it was her last. Today, I try to live my life just the way she did, never taking anything or anyone for granted."

She set out to find ways that she could help and make a difference against the disease. Jocelyn, a proud Woodloch competitor herself, found Miles for Melanoma, which raises funds for the Melanoma Research Foundation. This organization gives people the opportunity to run for sponsorships that will all go to fighting melanoma, so even if you aren't the next Steve Prefontaine, you can still help. All of the framework in place, she started her training routine. 

For the past few months, she has been following a rigorous training routine that has her running three to five miles three days a week and seven to nine miles at least two days a week. This is certainly no easy task, but it will prepare her for the half marathon (13 miles) that she will be undertaking in a few short weeks. She trains most days at the Sports Complex at Woodloch Springs, and if she gets a nice break in the weather, she jogs around the famously serene Woodloch Nature Trail. An absolutely great way to stay fit, if you ask me!

Need a little ambition to go out there and make things happen? Heed Jocelyn's advice: "We are all put here to make a difference. Whether it is to impact something or someone, we are all here for a purpose. Make your purpose be known. Get out and do the things that you are passionate about, appreciate the little things, and love everything and everyone unconditionally. Live every day like it's your last because you never know when it will be. Appreciate the life you were given!"

On a personal note, I'm proud of my friend and wish her the best of luck. I love seeing positive change and am reminded of my favorite Latin phrase Sic Parvis Magna, meaning "greatness from small beginnings." Your journey of a thousand miles starts with just a single step; never underestimate your ability to inspire others!

Find your "marathon," and go run it. 


If you'd like to support Jocelyn in her mission, please click here!


Swim for a Cure in the Pocono Mountains

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Throughout the month January, the Woodloch Springs Sports Complex will host the Hope Floats Swim-a-thon to raise money for BK Hope Cures.

BK Hope Cures was established by Bob Kiesendahl (BK), a leukemia survivor and recent recipient of the Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG Challenge Survivorship Award. The organization’s mission is to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancer. Over $9,000 was raised through last year’s Swim-a-thon event.

The Swim-a-thon will be open to Sports Complex members as well as non-members from the local community. Swimmers will compete to swim the most laps in order to raise money for the charities. Non-members are eligible to partake in this effort by obtaining at least three sponsors at $0.10 per lap. This allows them free access to the pool facility for the entire month of January. Participants will also have the opportunity to earn money through a variety of 45-minute water aerobics classes. These are each worth 22 laps or one-half mile. 

This year, a team competition is being added to the Swim-a-thon. Teams of four will compete, and the top three swimmer’s laps weekly will count towards the total. Children ages 5-10 are also eligible to participate if they obtain one sponsor at $0.10 per lap. The width, rather than the length, of the pool will count as one lap for them.

Gift certificates to Woodloch Pines, Woodloch Springs, the Boathouse, and Woodloch Springs Sports Complex will also be awarded weekly to the most active participants.

Additionally, prizes will be given to those raising the most money each week. Current Sports Complex members who earn more than $350 for the cause will receive a $50 credit to Woodloch; non-members will receive a free one-month membership when they purchase a six-month or one-year Sports Complex membership.

The two individual grand prizes winners will each receive a bed and breakfast package for two at Woodloch Pines. The two team competition winners will each get to choose between a day package for four at Woodloch Pines or a spa day at The Lodge at Woodloch.

The Swim-a-thon promotes Woodloch’s ongoing tradition of hospitality and togetherness by teaming people up to support an important cause. By allowing participants free pool access at the Sports Complex, individuals will also be working towards improving their overall health in a fun and encouraging environment.

We look forward to a very successful Swim-a-thon this year! For more information on participation or to donate to the cause, please visit:

Poconos charities


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The Woodloch Springs Sports Complex Swim-a-thon raised over $9,000 to support cancer awareness and research.

Throughout the month of January, both members and non-members of the Woodloch Springs Sports Complex competed to swim the most laps to raise the most moeny. “This event was an opportunity for us as a team to raise money for the BK Hope Cures Fund, supporting cancer awareness and research” says Erica Collins, manager of the Sports Complex. Non-members earned eligibility by receiving 3 sponsors at $.10 a lap. Full access to the establishment was granted to each contributor, offering a variety of water aerobics and free range of the pool. Participants earned money for the distance swam throughout the month- for those non-swimmers each 45-minute water aerobic class attended was worth 22 laps or ½ mile.

Gift certificates to the Boathouse, Woodloch Springs, Woodloch Pines, and also the Sports Complex were handed out weekly to the most active participants. Prizes were not only awarded to the contestant with the most laps and/or joining in the most water aerobic classes weekly, but also to those raising the most money week to week.

Grand prize winners, Steven Lundgren who swam the most with 53 miles and Robin Ditman who raised over $1,900, both received a complimentary Bed & Breakfast Package for two at Woodloch Pines.

The rewarding event mirrored the Woodloch way of “togethering” by pulling people together as a team to do something great for others. While enjoying the Sports Complex at Woodloch Springs and additional pool amenities, contestants were able to increase overall health, and compete for wonderful prizes.

The BK 5K is scheduled for Sunday June 5th, 2011. for further information log on to

I Reached Nirvana ~ in the Poconos…

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Shared by: Rory O’Fee, Woodloch Staff

So… I’m not really a spa guy.  Well, at least, I wasn’t.  Then I threw my back out.  Ugh, it was really frustrating, I could barely stand up, walking was a real challenge; I only felt as ease flat on my back staring at the ceiling.  I found if someone rubbed my back it seemed to feel better – so it was suggested I “get to the lodge” because “it’ll be great” and I will “feel like a million bucks” – or something like that.  But I had never received a professional massage before, and I was nervous about it. 

Pocono Eucalyptus JaccuzziAlright… I’ll do it”, I found myself at The Lodge at Woodloch Sunday evening.  I had frequented the Lodge many times before, as I would be working ~ a tour, a meeting, film crew, etc… ~ but never as a patron, it was about time.  What I was most excited for were the spa facilities.  I made it a point to try every option in the aqua garden.  I spent 10 solid minutes in the eucalyptus hot tub (wow) and 5 minutes in the sauna and 5 minutes in the steam room (hotter than I expected…).  Soothing music emanated from the ceilings and calmed my nerves, the smell of eucalyptus was inviting and calming.  I really enjoyed having pitchers of ice water with optional lemon wedges waiting outside the saunas – unbelievably refreshing.  The main pool was amazing, equipped with 2 hydro-massage waterfall hot tubs, I let the water vibrate the stress from my trapezius. 

I relaxed for about an hour and then it was time for what I feared most.  Vernelle met me outside the men’s retreat and led me downstairs – while I expressed my hesitation and fears.  She laughed comfortably and assured me I had nothing to worry about.  Well, before going to the Lodge, everyone told me “if it hurts, you can stop the treatment” and “they shouldn’t hurt you, this is relaxing” – ok, great, so it’s not going to hurt…  As we got situated in the treatment room (which was pleasantly warm and calm) Vernelle explained to me that she specializes in sports massage and injury massage therapy – ok, great, so it’s not going to hurt… “Now I have to tell you Rory, for this to work, I’m going to have to hurt you” **WHAT?** “trust me”.  Against every fiber in my body, I gave in and trusted her – and she did hurt me… But in the end the pain went away and I felt so much better.

The Lodge at Woodloch Aqua Garden
As she pressed hard on tight focal points in my back muscles she explained to me every step she was taking.  She taught me about the different muscles in my back and how they worked; she released the tension and warmed the tissue, then cooled the trouble spots with ice to circulate the blood.  After a about an hour our time was through, I stood up from the table and felt instantly improved (not 100% yet, but that was to be expected).  What an experience, therapeutic, relaxing, fun and even educational!  I showered then made my way home after that, soon to enjoy a long, relaxing and comfortable night sleep. 

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