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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

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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From the Ears of A Woodloch Reservationist ...

  
  
  
  
  
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~Shared by T. Compton

Talking is my favorite.

You know how people always ask: What are your hobbies? I generally flounder for an answer.

I like to sing, shop, read books, watch movies … make my family crazy :), make others happy, stuff like that. But then it dawned on me. I also like to talk, which I guess comes in handy since I work in the reservations department at Woodloch Pines Resort.

But then again, what’s even better than talking? Yeah, you guessed it: listening.

I’ve learned that when you listen, when you pause that extra moment, that people sometimes let you in. That they share. Their lives, memories, happy moments, trying times, and triumphs.

Like the middle-aged man struggling to survive an aggressive cancer, who promised to fight with every last breath, wanting nothing more than to get away with his family.

Or the military man, soon to be deployed, whose thoughts were of his young family and wanting to give them a fun-filled weekend at Woodloch before he has to leave.

And the hard-working husband trying to book a last-minute anniversary reservation to celebrate 10 amazing years with his wife and two youngsters.

Or the daughter wanting her dad to experience the wonder of Woodloch firsthand. And how he wouldn’t come if he couldn’t bring his paralyzed pup, a little dog that had one day gone limp and was outfitted with a cart so that it could remain mobile. Learning that Woodloch has pet-friendly homes relieved their fears about travelling.

And that’s just some of the stories. Trust me, there are many. Each one is special.

So, I definitely subscribe to the saying, “Listen twice as much as you speak.” As the Bible shares, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” - James 1:19 King James Version.

It kind of makes sense: two ears, one mouth.

listening

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Poconos Profile: Meet Frank!

  
  
  
  
  
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How did your path in life lead you to becoming the heart and soul of the Woodloch IT Department?
After I was hired at Woodloch in 1997 to be an Assistant Golf Professional, I was asked to assist in the IT Department in winter months because I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from DeSales University.  As the years went by, I became more and more involved in projects to the point where I had to make a choice between committing to the golf operation or to IT.  I took the IT route, and it all grew from there.
 
When you're not working on a computer of some sort, how do you enjoy spending your leisure time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and family.  I still play as much golf as time permits and bowl in the Tuesday night league at Wallenpaupack Lanes.

 
reunions, kids travelThere is an exquisite portrait of Cosmo Kramer in your office. What is your favorite episode of Seinfeld, and with which character do you most closely associate?
I can't say that I have one particular episode in mind, but what I can say is that it sure seems like a lot of situations and conversations the Seinfeld cast had over the years relate directly to real life situations.  I think I closely associate with Jerry more than other charcters simply because I can find humor in a lot of situations.

In no particular order, what are your five favorite movies?
Caddyshack, Usual Suspects, Tin Cup, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Happy Gilmore.

What do you enjoy most about working at Woodloch?
I enjoy the every day challenges technology brings and being able to develop solutions to fit them.  I also enjoy working with everyone else at Woodloch.  It really is a great place to work.

You are quite the bowler. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to improve their game?
My best advice is to learn the proper footwork to the approach in order to release the ball in a better position and allow for you to hit your target on the lane. 
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POCONOS EMPLOYMENT PROFILE: Bob "Baywatch" Campen

  
  
  
  
  
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Just like the great David Hasselhoff before him, Bob Campen oversees our water operation both indoors and out. In case you haven't been fortunate enough to meet him yet, take a moment to get to know our head lifeguard!

Please tell us how your path in life ultimately led you to Woodloch.  

I was looking for a job to make some spending money. When I was 14 years old, my mother was already working here in housekeeping, and our neighbor Fred Gelderman was too. My Mom asked JK if he could find a spot for me somewhere. I sat across from him, at the ripe age of 14, nervous yet confident. It was my first and last job interview. I have been here at Woodloch since then, working through high school and staying on full-time after graduating from Wallenpaupack.reunions, lake wallenpaupack resorts

You are a man of the water. Please tell us what your favorite water amenity/activity is here at Woodloch. 

I was a waterski die-hard from the day I learned to ski in high school. I enjoy skiing myself, driving the boat, and instructing new skiers, guests and friends alike.

What is your favorite genre of music, and who are your favorite bands? 

I like country music, but I don’t mind some good old rock and roll when I can listen to it LOUD! Kenny Chesney I have seen in concert a handful of times, he is entertaining and puts on a great show. The Zac Brown Band and ACDC would be the next two groups on my list; they also can rock a venue and make you want to see them over and over again.

How do you spend your time away from work? Any specific hobbies or pasttimes? 

I am a Penn State fanatic. I love college football and enjoy tailgating with my family and friends in our home on game weekends. My wife, kids, family and close friends have shared many memories tailgating, enjoying beverages in the parking lot, and enjoying games at Beaver Stadium. We enjoy camping and our summer cottage at Elk Lake, where all we do is relax and enjoy the sunshine, water activities and our neighbors and friends.

What are the names and ages of your kids? 

My son, Robbie, is nine years old and in the fourth grade. My daughter, Claire, is five years old and in kindergarten. They are both GREAT kids, very active and make me smile every day!

It's almost swimsuit season! Any tips on looking good for the beach during the summer?

If you don’t already have an exercise routine, start one. Everything done in moderation works best; get the blood flowing three or four times a week. The older we get, the harder these habits are to sustain.

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Cross-training to "go the extra mile" at Woodloch

  
  
  
  
  
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~Shared by Tammy Compton

Do you have great co-workers?

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Nothing beats co-workers who care about you, those who laugh along with you or reach out when you're troubled or sad. I'm proud of the people I work with at Woodloch and of the compassion they show one another. It's an emotion that readily spills over to the guests that they serve. I love to watch them in action. Each one is special, bringing different gifts and talents to the table.

I especially love how they're willing to go the extra mile. Cross-training at the front desk recently, I had the pleasure of spending a day with Kathy VanHorn. She is a great coach:  patient, kind, knowledgeable, and a multi-talented multi-tasker. I was most impressed with how she cheerfully waited on the guests in front of her, stepped away to grab something for their check-in, noticed my woeful expression while trying to get the computer to cooperate, threw me a few words of encourgement and direction, and never broke stride in getting back to the guests. Wow. Still, that wasn't the take away from that day.

That came a bit later when a call came into the front desk from a guest who had missed lunch. The guest didn't feel well and had not made it into the dining room with the rest of her party. Kathy excused herself from the front desk and walked to the dining room, poured two cups of hot soup, grabbed some crackers, cookies, bananas, and bottled water to be delivered to the woman in her room. As I watched her in admiration, she said, "I think about how I'd want my grandma treated if she wasn't feeling the greatest."

I'm proud of my co-workers because that's who they are. They're people like Kathy who go the extra mile.

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