~Shared by J. Ranner
Beep. Be-beep. Be-beep. BEEP. With the painful tone of my alarm clock, my day begins. But today is not like other days. In fact, the sun isn’t even out yet. It’s 5 AM, and I have a long day ahead of me.
But as I fire up the Keurig and nibble on a bagel, there’s a hint of excitement in the air, even if my senses are still not fully aware of it. I am going into work at the crack of dawn to assist with a live television feed from WPIX at Woodloch, part of their 11-week feature on prime vacation destinations in the Poconos. I’ve never seen a live TV news shoot, but I am pretty excited to be a part of it. By the time I suit up and get on the road (listening to my "pregame" mixtape, courtesy of Ludacris and “Moneymaker”), I’m in the zone and ready for action.
It isn’t the most beautiful of days outside. Pretty cloudy, sort of damp, and very, very foggy. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl ride out of the mists of Lake Teedyuskung. Yet even with the dreary weather and insanely early wake up call, our guests still made it out to the lakefront for the live feed . . . and in high numbers with nearly unlimited energy! I couldn’t have been more proud of them.
Woodloch's President, John Kiesendahl (JK), and WPIX's weather anchor,
Linda Church, talk business.
The live feed started off with WPIX weather anchor, Linda Church, going head-to-head against our very own Patrick in our “Spanish Armada” event, where teams pile into a large tube and paddle using just their hands from one dock to the other. The first round of competition is a convincing victory for Patrick and Team Woodloch. Once the first spot wrapped, the congregation of guests and staff all understandably migrate towards the coffee and muffin station to celebrate a solid beginning. As we start to unwind and chat, a very spunky Linda Church rallies us all together and says, “Hey everyone! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, stays on the sidelines for these shoots! Everyone needs to participate, even if you are wearing a tie.” Of course, she is pointing directly at me.
A handful of guests break for the paddle boats along with JK, dressed to a T in his Elmo gear and all. The rest of us take our spots on the dock in anticipation of the next boat race . . . round two for Pat and Linda, it seems. The shot once again goes live; this time, with help from her cheering section on the dock, Linda prevails victorious. Their contest is now in a dead heat.
JK and a guest enjoying a chat on one of our paddle boats!
After shaking off a little sea sickness (I’m best suited for dry land), myself and the crowd migrate towards the beach house area. It's time for Cupcake Battles! We assemble four teams, and they immediately get to work. Considering the time constraints, our guests do a fine job of flexing their creative chops for the next two live shots. I personally got a kick over the group of children that consumed enough sugar from the cupcakes to fly them to the moon and beyond.
It sprinkles for just a moment during the beach volleyball shot, but everyone powers through and sticks around. The only drawback to the day? The planned shot of my boss, Mr. Patrick Kiesendahl, being buried in the sand by an army of small children is nixed. But no worries; I take a mental photo that I will cherish for years to come. Sweet memories.
As the shoot winds down with Linda conquering Pat in a cannonball showdown, I get a warm fuzzy feeling about my line of work and all that has transpired this morning. The news team arrived before the rooster crowed, and our guests showed up. It was somewhat dreary and murky outside, and our guests showed up. We shot during the breakfast hour (when we could smell delicious bacon sizzling all morning - what a tease!), and our guests still showed up to participate. This is a huge testament to them and their love for fun at Woodloch, as well as a reminder of why I'm fortunate to be in this line of work at such a special place. And while the live shots came and went, everyone that participated this morning will keep the memories with them for a lifetime.