Meet Carlos From Capri RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona

Profile:
Name: Carlos Paredes
In position since: November 2016
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Capri RV Resorts
Favorite hobbies or sport: Talking & Listening to people

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?
Turning my park into a “place called Home” for our guest.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Park Manager? How do you overcome these challenges?
Having guests trust you as you put your vision in place for the future of the park. I gain trust with action – I share what we have done and what we are doing to do in our monthly newsletter, showing our improvements and changes.

How do you help make guests vacations at Capri special?
By making sure they feel welcomed. I go out of my way to go meet them when they come in and continue with my park walks to insure each guest feels that we care.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?
They appreciate someone that listens to them – they want to be heard. I started getting involved in their activities – I can get lots of information as we play or interact. If you listen, you can learn a lot about their needs and of course about future stays. They see me as one of them.

What accomplishment at Capri are you most proud of? Why?
Able to get separate groups of people to work together in activities with one goal in mind – having fun.

What does a typical day at Capri look like?
Lots of activities – walking around and talking to my guests and listening for issues that I can prevent from getting bigger. And run the office of course.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Capri?
First day on the job, I was about to open my new office and a customer came by and asked me what I was doing (he might have thought I was trying to break in). I took that and ran with it – security is very important. So I introduced myself as the new manager and we had a good laugh about it.

Can you share your favorite memory at Capri?
I was walking out of my office and next to our shuffleboard court – they were missing a player. I was asked if I wanted to play with a group. Even though I had never played the game, the team embraced me and showed me what to do. Everyone was surprised that I was doing pretty good! They asked me how long I had been playing and I surprised them by saying it was my first time. We ended up winning and beating our park’s best players.

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?
I have a logo of mine – a face with a hand over his ear – my saying is “I’m here to listen.” One day a customer that engraves things came to my office and said “I have something for you.” He engraved the logo on a glass cup and now it sits on my desk.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Capri?
There have been plenty of friendships developed Capri. Every Monday late afternoon, there is a group that waits on me to go to the Recreation Hall and participate in their card games. The “Tuesday Jammers” always invite me me to sing Feliz Navidad with them during the holidays.

I also have a special bond with the Morton family. Kathy Morton fell and broke her arm one day and they were having issues finding a place to get x rays they could afford. My wife and I met them in Mexico and were able to get them an appointment to get x rays at a very reasonable price. After that we went out to eat and now we have become close friends.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Capri exemplifies the idea of community?

We are starting a neighborhood watch program on our property – having each neighbor look after those that are out for the season and during the season for each other.Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Capri?
It comes down to feeling like they are coming home not just to a park. as well as forming friendships here from different parts of the U.S.A and Canada. As I get involved with them they become part of a family.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?
As my staff and I continue to make improvements. I will never forget that I am here to listen and to continue to make Capri RV Resort “a place called home.”

Meet Roy From Sherwood Forest RV Resort In Kissimmee, Florida

  • Name: Roy Reyes Silverio
  • In position since: November 27th, 2014
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sherwood Forest RV
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at (if applicable): n/a
  • Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Spending time with my family and friends, drawing and some karaoke

What brought you to Sherwood Forest?

My first introduction to the property was through another employee inviting me to play Bingo at the community. After that event, the rest was history. I never thought I would get the opportunity to grow with the company as I did. I had also never worked at an RV resort so the challenge of a new adventure peaked my interest.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager?

The most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager for me would be the opportunity to interact with so many people. I love connecting and making bonds with customers and guests which turn into valued customer returns or new beginnings. It’s our relationships that people remember and cling to, why not put that same emphasis to our clients? The guests and residents have become a Sherwood family that I love to spend time with.

How do you help make guests vacations at Sherwood Forest special?

The best way to understand what guests expect and want is by simply asking them. What acts do you like to see as far as entertainers go? What about the ice cream social made you want to come support us? Put yourself in their shoes and participate. Nothing gets your residents more interested than jumping in during a line dancing routine. You want to create memories that they will want to remember and give them a reason to come back for more.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?

I’ve learned a lot from my guests. Their life experiences, their many travels and family stories. The one thing I have taken from everyone is don’t be so serious. Broken water pipes can be repaired, cable can go haywire but the one thing that you can control is your outlook on things. Staying positive and not allowing yourself to become detracted from the world is essential and just makes you a better human being.

What’s special about Sherwood Forest?

Whenever I get asked this question I always refer to Sherwood Forest as a hidden gem. The property is tucked cubby behind other local business that drowns out the hussle and bussle of the major highway but we are still so close to everything your heart desires. Between the vast choices of dining and local eateries you can find just about anything within a 10 mile radius. The attractions are a big seller as well. Why not save a buck camping instead of a hotel and use the extra money to spend at Sea World or Disney. We even promote our local attractions that are not costly that just give us an edge due to our location.

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting Kissimmee?

The first word I would use to describe Sherwood is “exciting”. We know how to have a good time here even if we are grilling hot dogs and hamburgers in the blistering heat. Every event is such a joy to participate in that we want you wanting more. The second word I would choose is “friendly”. I have come to see the residents and guests to form groups and connections that present during dinners. They will come in before a potluck and reserve a table just so they can sit by their friends. It’s truly a sight and a testament to their belief in friendship. Last word that comes to my mind would be “relaxed”. Nothing like hearing about a lazy day at the pool. You can’t go wrong with knowing you can spend your day just lounging about the property and enjoying the comforts of the amenities on site. You can choose to play a round of golf at our miniature putt putt course or even surf the internet at our rec center. You choose your own activities and events, there is no wrong way to vacation.

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Sherwood Forest?

The best bang for your buck I could offer would be Old Town and Fun Spot. Both are just 1 mile from the property that offer games and rides for kids plus some bars and shopping for adults. There is also a great place to kayak for those outdoor activity junkies at The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek. Obviously you can’t go wrong with Disney, Sea World, Universal, Legoland and all the other major attractions close by. If you think it, we probably have it.

What accomplishment at Sherwood Forest are you most proud of? Why?

There are a lot of things that we do as managers on a daily basis that change the property for the better but the one accomplishment I take with me is really delving into the activities we provide. Of course there are the staples such as potluck, bingo and cards but I didn’t want it to just end there. We have introduced new performers to the resort, painting classes, Happy Hour at our tiki bar and other events that give people a reason to come out of their campers and see us. I’m not afraid of trying anything once, if it works do it again, otherwise look for another event to fill the guests calendars up with another fun filled activity.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Sherwood Forest?

One of the funniest stories I can recollect is helping aid the guard shack dressed in a Luigi costume from the Mario Brothers. It was close to Halloween and I was trying out an outfit to wear and was asked by other employees to drive around the community in it. As we reached the entrance we all collectively thought the same idea as to have me wave in traffic. We were laughing from the time I stepped off that golf cart to my departure. Everyone stopped that night to get a good look and it made for a good story to those who caught me in character.

Can you share your favourite memory at Sherwood Forest?

One of my most memorable moments I can think of is when I was finally offered the management position. It had finally come to fruition on Thanksgiving day and during my speech to the guests at Thanksgiving Dinner in the clubhouse I announced to everyone my new role as manager. Everyone was so supportive and I’m still so thankful to be here to this day. Whenever I need a reminder as to why I do what I do, I think back to that day and it pushes me to do more and want more for the property and the guests.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Sherwood Forest?

The bonds of friendship truly shine when I think about Sherwood. One group that comes to mind rotates dinner and drinks from camper to camper every night and have even put up lights for the holidays which coincided with each other. And if you weren’t aware of how close these guests get with each other just wait for a meal event. You’ll always have one in the group come in before the event to save seats for their gang. A lot of the guests that come truly call their stay here with us their home away from home.

Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Sherwood Forest?

I can think of many reasons guests return to Sherwood Forest. The location, the activities, their friends and even the staff. We have formed quite the family here and when our guests return it’s like seeing a long lost relative finally coming back home. When you treat your guests like they belong, that’s what gives them a reason to come back. When our long term guests come in and mention they don’t want to check out yet, that’s a sign you’ve locked them in for another fun filled stay next time around.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

Sherwood Forest is a breath of fresh air. We enjoy nothing but providing guests with the best experience they can get while creating memories of their own. Our location offers so many amazing dining options and you can easily stay entertained by all the local attractions and activities. If you are looking for a getaway from your normal everyday routine, come visit us even for a weekend. Give yourself the opportunity to visit old friends, make new friends and join the Sherwood tribe.

 

Meet Alison from Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort in Clermont, FL

Profile

  • Name: Alison Schulz
  • In position since: February 2016
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort in Clermont, FL
  •  Favorite hobbies or sport(s):  Walking my dogs and horse riding

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?

Meeting new people and making sure they have the best experience while they are in our park.

How do you help make guests vacations at Clerbrook special?

From the time they check in I believe first impressions are very important and ensure that the staff is prepared and ready to give the best customer experience possible to our guests. This includes accommodating them with their needs or to be ready to give suggestions in regards to entertainment and things to see in the area.

What’s special about Clerbrook?

We are a hidden gem in the middle of Florida with an 18-hole golf course and many other amenities, including a fitness center, shuffleboard court, and even great fishing and hiking sites.

 

 

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting Clerbrook?

Accommodating, Friendly & Fun!

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Clerbrook?

Lakeridge Winery is an amazing, local vineyard where guests go to tour the vineyards and enjoy the tasting room. During the season they even have festivals!  If a guest enjoys live music, I always send them to the Orange Blossom Opry to enjoy their variety of concerts and jam nights. And of course Walt Disney World is only a short drive away.

What accomplishment at Clerbrook are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of bringing the property back to life by helping our park to be more involved in with the local community. We help with hospice fundraisers and regularly contribute to the local food bank.

What does a typical day at Clerbrook look like?

I love arriving at the property very early every day and the first thing on my agenda is to drive around the community and make contact with all my smiling residents and guest. Afterwards, as my staff comes in, I meet with them and disseminate our goals for the day and work matters that need attending to.  

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Clerbrook?

When guest come in and ask me where I am from (usually due to my English accent), I tell them “North Carolina!” They usually give me a weird look and then I tell them “England”, we always laugh and it is a fun way to break the ice.

Can you share your favorite memory at Clerbrook?

This past season when all my veteran guests returned at the beginning of November, they all had big smiles on their faces! They were like children, excited to be back in the park.

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?

Yes, Miss Glenda (a long-term guest) brought in flowers for me and my team. It was very sweet of her.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Clerbrook?

I have seen many friendships form this past season. Canadians inviting new residents to their dinners; Canadian-American bands always put people together and create friendships that last past their time at the resort.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Clerbrook exemplifies the idea of community?

When someone is ill, the guests all come together and help. We also have people who help out for our homebound residents. If a RV is broken, there are always people in the park to help those who need it.

Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Clerbrook?

Some of our residents have been coming here for over 20 years and they do consider this a second home. They feel there is a sense of community and family within the park.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

My door is always open so why don’t you just stop by have chat and stay awhile.

 

Meet Silvia From Orlando RV Resort in Clermont, Florida

Profile

  • Name: Silvia Wingfield
  • In position since: April 2017, since 2009 with Encore RV resorts
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Thousand Trails Orlando
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at: Lake Magic RV Resort & Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort
  •  Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Reading and spending time with my two boys. My favorite sport is basketball. I played back in middle school and my oldest son is on a school team. Go Celtics!!

LM = Lake Magic     TTO =Thousand Trails Orlando

What brought you to TT Orlando?I have recently been promoted to Resort Manager at Thousand Trails Orlando after managing Lake Magic RV Resort since November 2012. What brought me to TTO was the opportunity to continue to grow within this wonderful company that I have been a part of since 2009.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager? – The most rewarding aspect of being a manager is the people; the residents and guests that I meet and the relationships that I build with them. Talking to them and getting to know them personally. Hearing their life stories and connecting with them about experiences and family. All of this goes for the staff as well. I spend 8 plus hours of my day working at the property and the friendships and connections make the long days easier.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Resort Manager? How do you overcome these challenges? The most challenging aspect is not being able to make everyone happy. I struggle with this because I truly want all of our guest to get what they want but I have learned over the years that making EVERYONE happy is not realistic or possible. I try to overcome this challenge by finding a happy medium from what the guest wants and what I can actually offer. For example: a guest is assigned a site that they do not like due to location but we are in the middle of season and our resort is full and I cannot move them to another site. I will try to make a connection with them in other ways. I will personally invite them to a resident social event and/or offer them a breakfast or lunch voucher. They still might not be happy with the location of their site but they appreciate the personal touch of knowing that I care enough to do a little something special for them, which ultimately makes me feel good.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests? – What I have learned from my guests is to enjoy life, to savor every moment because it goes by quickly. I have learned that friendship and being neighborly is valuable. RV’ers are unique because they are always willing to help anyone who needs it.

What’s special about the RV resorts you’ve managed?  Lake Magic is special because of its beauty. The resort is clean and well manicured with tall palms tree throughout the resort that constantly remind you that you’re in sunny Florida. All of our sites have 50 amp service with full hookups and most of our pads are paved. The sites are large with plenty of space in-between from site to site. The location is premier and most importantly the guests are friendly!

Thousand Trails Orlando  is special because it is a property that offers choices for all the different RV lifestyles. The park offers clean, paved sites, as well as a more woody area for the RV’ers that really like to feel like they are “roughing” it. TTO is in a great location that is off the highway but tucked in far enough away from the hustle and bustle to make you feel like you’re truly camping.

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV resort to someone who is considering visiting Orlando? 

  1. Friendly
  2. Filled with Activities (in Season)
  3. Great location

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at TT Orlando or Lake Magic?

  1. Walt Disney World- It is only 6 miles from LM and 11 from TTO
  2. Southern Hill Farms – during blueberry picking season this is the best place to pick your own blueberries!
  3. Airboat Ride – a fun way to spend the day and tour the Central FL Everglades

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Why?At LM, I am most proud of our Annual Poker Run. I started this my first year as manager at LM and the first year we had maybe 50 participants but this past season we had 176 participants!!! The Poker Run consists of eight stations (1 for each section of the resort). We have eight hosts and the hosts are residents that set up stations with goodies, snacks and drinks for all of the participants to stop at. The participants stop by the stations, mingle, eat, drink and draw a card. At the end the 5 players with the best hand get prizes.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Lake Magic?In 2015 at LM, I was trying different new activities during season to keep the residents entertained. (They were all nice enough to try any crazy fun idea came up with). One of the games we tried that season was a play on the “Newlywed Game”. We called it the “Oldie Wed Game”. Three couples took turns answering different questions about their partners and we had a blast. It was fun because of their answers, but also because they were fearless and willing to try whatever out of the box idea I came up with.

Can you share your favorite memory at Lake Magic? – My favorite memory is of one of our end of season going away parties. We put together a Carnival event around our Clubhouse and pool area with carnival games, pool games, raffle prizes and carnival food! We fed the guests corndogs and thought they were going to complain because it was simple food but they loved it!

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you? (LM) Yes, 2 years ago for my birthday they called me up to the clubhouse and surprised me with a cake and singing. I felt special that they cared enough to take time out of their day to share it with me.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Lake Magic? One of the most meaningful friendships that I have developed is with a resident who now works for me. This person volunteered for many years and finally decided to commit to working for me. They are a great asset to me because they provide insight to what the other guests want and they have become someone I can depend on and trust.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Lake Magic exemplifies the idea of community?There are 5 sister properties (Sherwood Forest, Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort, Winter Garden, Thousand Trails Orlando and Lake Magic) in my area and we all are very close to one another. Anytime that one of us is full and needs to accommodate a guest, we call on each other for availability to help the guest. We also get together for friendly tournaments between properties. This allows our guest to meet each other and visit a sister property.

Have you visited Thousand Trails Orlando RV Resort or Lake Magic RV Resort? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Meet Melissa from Tropic Winds RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas

Profile

  • Name: Melissa Cortez
  • In position since: September 2008
  • Title: Resort Manager.
  • Work Location:  Tropic Winds RV Resort
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at (if applicable) Southern Comfort & Country Sunshine RV Resort
  • Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Spending time with family and friends

1. What brought you to Tropic Winds RV Resort?

Before going into the RV industry, for 16 years I worked for a power line construction company as a Regional Business Administration Manager. The regional office closed and gave me the opportunity to change industries. Before becoming the resort manager at Tropic Winds in 2013, I was the resort manager for several years at two other Encore resorts in South Texas – Southern Comfort and Country Sunshine.

2. What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?

There are so many rewarding aspects. First of all, I have a job that allows me the opportunity to be part of a community family. I have the ability to create memories and play a critical role in our customer’s experience. Secondly, I have a phenomenal team. There are not enough words to describe how rewarding it is to have such an awesome group of people to work with.

3. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Park Manager? How do you overcome these challenges?

The most challenging aspect would have to be time. As a manager, you are pulled in every direction from every aspect of the operation, which makes it difficult to be everywhere for everyone. I’ve learned that you have to do your best to ensure you are producing productive quality time, regardless of how you are spending your time. Prioritizing tasks, time management, and doing your best to stay on task is key to overcome this challenge.

4. How do you help make guests vacations at Tropic Winds RV Resort special?

Whether it’s guest’s first time or they return year after year, we will make sure they feel like family. Plus, it is important for me that every guest understands that they have a direct communication line to me. They can choose any communication method of their choice. It is our mission to ensure all of our guests get the best experience and we are ready to go above and beyond the call to leave our mark.

5. Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?

Tropic Winds RV Resort is an aged qualified community and I’ve learned from our residents that age is just a number. You are as young as you want to be. Our residents love life, are extremely active and are full of energy. They don’t let age stop them.

6. What’s special about Tropic Winds?

Tropic Winds RV Resort is special because it is one of the newest resorts in South Texas; built in 1997. Therefore this property has some of the largest RV sites and paved streets that you will find in South Texas. Plus, the moment you arrive you are greeted like family into our beautiful resort.

7. Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting
Friendly, Clean, Fun

 

8. What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Tropic Winds RV Resort?

In South Texas there are attractions for many interests. We have the ocean shores of South Padre Island within 45 minutes. Due to the large range of birds that migrate to South Texas, one of the largest birding festivals in the country is held here in Harlingen. There is plenty of history so you may want to visit the Iwo Jima memorial, the amazing museums or a wildlife refuge. South Texas has everything you can possibly imagine within a short distance.

9. What accomplishment at Tropic Winds RV Resort are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of the property being awarded Trip Advisor’s 2016 Certificate of Excellence Award. This award is based on the customer experience and confirms that our team is focused on the mission, vision and values to provide the best customer experience.

10. What does a typical day at Tropic Winds RV Resort look like?

A typical day at Tropic Winds starts off with the best sunrises you’ve ever seen. While you stroll through the resort enjoying the morning breeze, you’ll see that everyone is acknowledged with a friendly smile or wave hello. You will see guests gathered outside their rig/home enjoying their morning coffee. You will hear the paddle hitting the ball during the morning sessions of pickleball or you may hear the excitement coming from the RC track. The buildings are filled with guests enjoying each others company while they participate in daily activities. If you start getting hungry, swing by Windy Café and I’m sure you’ll see something you like or get a sample. After your afternoon nap, come join the fun in the pool and then you are off to the nearest happy hour. The evenings wrap up with gorgeous sunsets and heading to our main hall for dinners or planned entertainment.

11. Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?

The guests here at Tropic Winds continue to surprise me with their continued acts of kindness.  The guests are very supportive of each other and will do what any family member would do for one another.

12. Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Tropic Winds RV Resort?

The friendships that develop between guests are very special.  Since they all live a similar lifestyle, they have a lot in common.  They are able to share different experiences they’ve had as retirees and in the RV Lifestyle.  Plus, they are now part of the same community family where they will eat, play and have fun together.

13. RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Tropic Winds RV Resort exemplifies the idea of community?

In South Texas we are very fortunate that there are 10 resorts in close proximity and it is easy for us to exemplify community.  For example, if a guest is requesting a specific amenity/activity that I may not offer, we will refer them to our sister resort that will be able to accommodate our guest.  Another example would be with our park model rental program.  If our rentals are booked we do the same and forward the perspective lead to a sister resort.

14. Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Tropic Winds RV Resort?  I believe they keep coming back because it is very affordable to stay in South Texas.  Our winter weather is top notch.  Plus, they enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community that embraces their return.

15. Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

As you travel throughout the different RV Resorts across our beautiful country, you know firsthand of what sets each one apart.  I’d love to personally invite you to come and experience what Tropic Winds RV Resort and South Texas has to offer.  We’d love to have you as part of our growing community family.

Meet Terry from Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

portrait_terryGoss

Profile:
Name: Terry Goss
In position since: December 2014
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Victoria Palms RV Resort
Favorite Activities: Sitting around a campfire (yes it’s true)


1. How does a typical day at Victoria Palms look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?

Believe it or not, we start the day by baking cookies. We have become known for having warm, fresh baked cookies waiting for our guests as they arrive. It’s a small token of our appreciation for our customers when they arrive, often after a long time behind the wheel. From there it’s off to tour the property to make sure everything is ship shape and everyone is ready for the day. That’s the fun part. After that I move into running the daily reports, reading and responding to emails, and digesting our online presence and reviews. All that being said, my favorite time of the day is when I get to socialize with guests, old and new, and hear about their travels, their family and what their “other” home is like. It’s really a pretty good gig.

2. You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

Here at Victoria Palms I am both a manager and a cheer leader. Of course I can’t be everywhere, all the time, but I try my best to be a vibrant part of the community. Even when I can’t stay for an entire event, I am very likely to stop by and cheer on the contestants. I love being around fun loving, happy people, and this position gives me lots of opportunity. I am the first one on the dance floor, love anything where there is food, and was the runner up in last year’s belly flop contest. You just can’t be at a place like Victoria Palms and not have fun.


3. When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

The area around Victoria Palms has something for everyone. We are less than an hour away from the best beach in Texas with lots of entertainment and great eats. We are on the migratory path for both birds and butterflies and are one of the premier places to see them in the entire United States. We have some truly incredible shopping with an international flair. For even more fun, we can cross into Mexico for great shopping, food, drinks and services. Of course we have a zoo, museums, theaters, and every restaurant chain known to man. But my absolute favorite thing here in the valley, as we call it, are the little mom and pop restaurants. Not only is the food incredible (and very reasonably priced), but when was the last time the owner came to sit with you on your second visit, and actually remembered your name and what you like to eat. Just incredible!


4. What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Victoria Palms?

I believe that all of the employees at Victoria Palm are a team and each has a significant role in delivering guest satisfaction. I expect that everyone will pick up whatever task is required, even if it is not considered in their job description. That goes for me as well. Last year we were getting ready to do some street repairs. We were using fresh, hot asphalt which has a very limited time on a truck before it cools off and is no longer usable. The day our asphalt arrived we had one of our maintenance team get hurt and another go home sick. So I jumped into some old jeans, slipped on a pair of work boots and some gloves, and jumped in the truck to help pick up the slack. What makes this special is not what I did, rather it was the looks I received from residents and guests as they saw me working in that truck. I have to say I had more pictures taken that day than any time in my life. It was almost like being a rock star followed by paparazzi. It was hard work but we got the job done and I gained a story to recount.


5. What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?

I would like to believe that I have had an impact at Victoria Palms in a lot of areas, but I think the most significant is in communications. Not everyone is comfortable being in front of people or starting conversations with strangers. That can leave some people feeling like they aren’t appreciated or respected. I have always made it a point to make the operation of the resort an open book. I don’t dodge questions and do my best to always provide an honest answer. Sometimes that answer is “no”, but when that’s the truth, anything less is misleading. As well I have expanded the modes of communication here at Victoria Palms. We had a great newsletter here when I arrived, but I thought we could do more. We now have a new website dedicated to events and activities (www.vpractivities.com), I do monthly “Town Hall” meetings which I record and post to YouTube. This enables our residents who are not here at the time of a meeting to still get all the information and not miss anything. I believe strongly in open and honest communications and think our residents and guests really appreciate that.


6. If had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Victoria Palms, what would you say?

Picture a fine resort with every conceivable amenity, or a cruise ship where the activities seem to never stop. If you are an RV’er, picture wide, paved and lighted streets where maneuvering your rig is easy and the sites are all concrete with full hook-ups. If you are looking for a permanent winter or year around home picture well manicured yards, lush plantings, beautiful flowers and grass. Envision neat homes (each unique) which exude a feeling of community and safety. If you like to dance, dream about multiple live bands every week, where you can dance the night away on one of the largest and most beautiful dance floors in the valley. Or join in some of our dance lessons; line, ballroom, country, round. If you are a crafter then this must be paradise. Woodworking in our supersized woodshop, firing your pottery in one of our 5 kilns, stained glass, painting, sewing and quilting, wood carving, and the list goes on and on. If you are of the sports type we can keep you pretty busy there too. From racing remote control trucks to bocce ball, petanque, horseshoes, shuffleboard, pickle ball, tennis, cycling, swimming, water volleyball, etc. Are you starting to get the picture? Victoria Palms is incredible and you can do as much or as little as you desire.

7. What brought you to Victoria Palms?

Truthfully I came to Victoria Palms quite by accident. I had previously managed large resorts and honestly was looking for something with a little slower pace. I actually applied for a position at a smaller Thousand Trails park that was somewhat off the beaten path and very rustic. Remember one of my favorite pastimes is sitting by a campfire. As I was being interviewed the question I kept being asked was why I wanted that position, and was I really sure I could be happy there. In the end the interviewer convinced me to come see Victoria Palms. When I visited it completely knocked my socks off. I was instantly in love. As a resort manager I get to live in the resort, and I knew this was a place I could really feel at home. I was hired to manage it and have never looked back. It has been a complete labor of love.


8. Any last words for your current and future guests?

If this hasn’t given you a vision of what life is like at Victoria Palms, then you simply need to come see it for yourself. Come spend a week with us and I will personally make sure you see it all. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Come join me in paradise under the palms.

Meet Barb From Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis, Florida

barbStanze

Profile:

  • Name:  Barb Stanze
  • In position since: September 2012 at Southern Palms,  with Encore RV Resorts for 21 years
  • Title:  General Manager
  •  Work Location:  Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis, Florida
  •  Favorite Activities: Traveling to new places and spending time with my family and grandkids.
  1. How does a typical day at Southern Palms look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?  Southern Palms is a special mix of long term guests that have been coming for years to our property and short term guests visiting our area for the first time.  The mornings are filled with our long term guests stopping in to say hello and handle whatever business they have that day.  The afternoons are filled with our new arrival check ins.   I really enjoy the check in period of the day,  between 1pm-3pm when our guests start to roll in and we hear their stories about traveling to our location.
  1. You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?   It makes me feel very satisfied that I have provided an environment for our guests to enjoy their vacations and to see them having a good time at the resort is a real pleasure for me.  I try to make time to visit with our guests IMG_3390during a portion of my day to see how they are doing and ensure they are having a good time.
  1. When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?  By far, the most popular area to visit is historic Mt Dora, which is about 10 minutes from our property.  We  recommend this area to spend a day and have lunch.  Eustis is a great area for walking along the water, as there is a long boardwalk to utilize.  Bird watching is popular along this area.  We have a weekly Farmers Market right next door and we encourage guests to walk over to this on Thursday to see what the local vendors are selling and get fresh local produce!  Disney attractions are only 45 minutes away,  so we have many people visit that are going to these attractions but did not want to fight the crowded conditions of a big city.  You can get to either coast for a day trip to the beach from our location.  Pack up a lunch and see the beautiful sandy beaches .
  1. What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Southern Palms?  Southern Palms is an older Airstream campground that was originally owned by the City of Eustis.  I have photos of this era, dating back to the 1960s!  I enjoy sharing the history of the property with our guests.
  1. What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?  We have developed the IMG_3359largest rally destination at Southern Palms in Florida for the Encore portfolio.  Since we have over 950 sites, we are able to designate a section specifically for this business.  We have numerous rallies booked during the winter season and guests enjoy having their own clubhouse designated to their groups to use.  We host large regional rallies as well, successfully securing Good Sam State rally, Giant Rec World regional rally and National African-American RV Association (NAARVA) regional rally over the past few years.
  1. If had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Southern Palms, what would you say?  This location has so much to offer and yet it is very laid back and relaxing!  Central Florida is convenient to both the East and West coasts and to the Disney attractions as well.  On site, we offer numerous activities for our guests to enjoy during their stay.  There is always something going on at our main clubhouse and we host dances every Saturday night during the winter busy season.  Staying in Central Florida is much more economical that the coastal areas which gives our guests more spending money to enjoy their IMG_3429vacations!
  1. What brought you to Southern Palms?  My husband and I have lived in Florida for 35 years.  We moved to the North Carolina area where I managed a  property for several years however we missed Florida so we decided to return when Southern Palms had a management opportunity open.
  1. Any last words for your current and future guests?  Southern Palms is wonderful RV resort and has so much to offer!  Since it is a large property, there is a site type for everyone, from the large RV coaches to the small pop campers.  The surrounding  area offers many festivals, art shows, flea markets, farmers markets and historical venues.  There is always something to look forward to!  The staff at Southern Palms is top notch and ready to serve you.  We are a friendly, laid back group and our goal is to offer the best customer experience possible to our guests!  Please check us out…  you won’t be disappointed!!

Let us know if you’re interested in visiting Southern Palms RV Resort in the comments section!

Meet Steven from Forest lake Village RV Resort in Zephyrhills, FL

stevenBagiardi

Profile:

  • Name: Steven Bagiardi
  • In position since: June of 2016
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Forest Lake Village RV Resort
  • Favorite Activities: Spending time with family and friends, golfing, scuba diving and much more!

How does a typical day at Forest Lake Village look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?

Well first off, it starts off with a whole lot of sunshine and beautiful weather. But there is no such thing as a “typical day” on the operations part of this business. There are so many different facets to what we do every day and that makes it fun. My favorite moments of the days are when I get out 2-3 times a day and ride in the golf cart. I just take a ride, enjoy the weather, and see the beautiful community and the amazing guests that are here in the park.

You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

This is an easy one. I simply love making people happy. My guests are an extension of my family. After all, I am at work more hours than I am at home. Seeing my guests having fun and helping to make their stay the best it can possibly be is what I love.

When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

We are so fortunate to be located centrally between Tampa and Orlando. I would send people to Tampa for the amazing sports teams we have like the University of South Florida Bulls and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning! Can’t forget Busch Gardens, Tarpon Springs, and the gorgeous beaches! Towards Orlando, I would send people to Disney and all of the other great attractions they have.

What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Forest Lake?

I tell people how happy my residents are when I do something for them or the park. No matter how small or simple, the guests here are so appreciative.

What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?

I have made it a point to get out in the community and to get to know my guests and spend time with them. This is something that they never had with previous ownership. I want to change that.  I want people to get to know me and feel extremely comfortable with me as the manager. I am a people person!

If you had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Forest Lake Village, what would you say?

Forest Lake Village RV Resort is a stunning oasis where you can relax and enjoy all of the great activities that we have to offer every day. It is also close enough to Tampa and Orlando so that you can enjoy all that they have to offer as well.


What brought you to Forest Lake Village?

I wanted to manage a top-quality RV park just outside of the busy downtown Tampa area. When Forest Lake Village came into the company’s portfolio, I knew I wanted to come here.

Any last words for your current and future guests?

Forest Lake Village is a phenomenal resort with so much to offer onsite, or nearby. My staff and I do everything possible to make our guests happy and we would love the opportunity to show you how much we truly love what we do. Welcome to Forest Lake Village RV Resort!

Meet Rosa from Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina in the Florida Keys

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• Name: Rosa Cimino
In position since: July 2015
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina
Favorite Activity: Enjoying time with my family

1. How does a typical day at Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina look like? What is your favorite moment of the day?

My favorite moment starts with my drive to work. The view of the island from the 7 mile bridge is spectacular. Seeing the park full of RV’s starts my day with a smile. I also enjoy the variety each day brings – interacting with guests, working with colleagues and relating dsc_9685-1with staff. These moments are all opportunities to expand the guest’s experience.

2. You are working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?
It’s a joy to know that my work directly results in our guests enjoying their time on the island! To me, that joy hardly makes it feel like work.

3. When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?
Surrounded by the ocean our guests enjoy fishing, swimming, and kayaking right from our shores. We are also just 2 miles from the award-winning beaches at Bahia Honda State

Park, where you can also roam the trails and see a real piece of the historic Flagler railroad bridge. Ten minutes in either direction you will find excellent dining, shopping and areas to explore.

4. What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina?
We were lucky enough to have our property picked as a staging and filming site for a major movie production. Hosting Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren was an experience all our guests and staff will not soon forget!

5. What’s your best accomplishment so far at Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina?
We have a wonderful team that works hard to ensure our guests’ needs are met at every turn. The revamped play area and tennis/pickleball courts look amazing. I’m also proud of playarea-1the new branding and signage we’ve created. With a list of projects on the horizon, each trip will bring new discoveries.

6. If had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Sunshine Key, what would you say?
I always say that Sunshine Key is a private island in the middle of paradise. Our resort is located on the 75-acre island of Ohio Key, near Big Pine Key in the lower Florida Keys. It provides the perfect gateway for ocean activities, or just relaxing at the water’s edge.. Our marina also offers the RV adventurer unprecedented access to a tropical island environment.

7. What brought you to Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina?
img_3009-1I had worked at Disney for 20 years and was ready for new challenges and a new environment. When the opportunity arose, the timing was perfect for a change of life and the chance to move my family to the paradise of the Florida Keys.

8. Any last words for your current and future guests?
We have an amazing resort, wonderful guests and a remarkable staff. Sunshine Key has everything from boating to kayaking to fishing to swimming all on our own private island.
Come make some new friends, meet old friends or just soak in the rhythm of island living.

Meet John from Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas

johnvanwyk

Profile:

  • Name: John Van Wyk
  • In position since: 2011
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sunshine RV Resort
  • Favorite Activities: Fishing and Bird Hunting

1. What does a typical day at Sunshine RV look like? What is your favorite moment?
I usually start out the morning with my “housekeeping” activities and then move on to items that pertain to our residents. I try to get their requests completed first before moving on to my other duties, such as managing our on-site restaurant, coordinating our schedule jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-67-1of special events and working with our internal team here at the RV resort.

My favorite moment of the day comes when I get to interact and visit with our residents just one-on-one. I’m usually focused on what I can do to make their experience even more enjoyable, so it is nice to take a second and catch up with guests.

2. You are working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?
jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-61-1I enjoy seeing people have fun and come up with new ways to enjoy the community, so I never look at it as “working” while others vacation. The guest experience comes first and making sure that everyone is enjoying their stay keeps me busy, so the day goes by pretty fast.

 

3. When people ask you what best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

There are some excellent golf courses in the area where guests can test their skill. Birding is huge in the Harlingen area, as we are in the middle of the migratory pattern for birds jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-48-1heading south, as well as butterflies. However the must-see destination in the area is definitely South Padre Island, where you get a mix of southwestern culture and beach paradise.  Also, many Winter Texans take day trips to Progreso, Mexico which is about 30 minutes from our property. They go for shopping and the authentic dining experience. I’ve also heard they go for affordable dental care.

4. What’s your favorite Sunshine RV story to tell?
I don’t think I have one particular story that sticks out. I get a lot of pleasure out of helping people get plugged into something that brings them joy. Many times we are dealing with someone that may have recently lost a spouse and after the grieving process, they may need a little encouragement to get out and find fun. They often thank me for helping them through that and that is usually the most rewarding feeling.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-82-15. What’s your top accomplishment so far at Sunshine RV?
When I was hired as the Resort Manager two years ago, there were many areas of the operation that needed to be improved including staff morale and resident relations.  I am very proud to say that in the past two years, as a team, we’ve been able to create a positive environment for both the staff and residents.   As far as property improvements, most recently, we completely renovated our indoor pickleball courts which is something I am very proud of. We now have three, indoor, climate-controlled courts that are the envy of many.  

6. If you can describe (in a few words) your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to South Texas, what would they be?

Sunshine RV Resort has approximately 1000 sites.  For those who would prefer to stay in a smaller community, we do have a secluded section of the resort called Lakeside which has approximately 150 sites, with it’s own amenities and a lake!    Our RV site options jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-24-1include standard, premium, pull thru, and lakeside.  We have all the standard amenities you can think of including indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, a woodshop, a dog park, and a fitness center.  In addition, we have two large buildings that accommodate many of our entertainment events and activities.  

7. What brought you to Sunshine RV?
A friend told me about an ad in a newspaper that they were looking for a manager of Lakewood RV Resort, a 300 site community. I was hired and immediately made many improvements, to the point where I was promoted to run Paradise Park RV Resort, a 600 site RV resort. Eventually, I was promoted to manager of Sunshine RV Resort, which is over 1,000 sites and includes an on-site restaurant. You could say hard work brought me to Sunshine RV.

8. A last word for your guests?

While you may come to enjoy the warmth at Sunshine RV Resort, you’ll quickly find that the genuine staff and the kind people who stay at the resort make you want to keep coming back, year after year. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people, the customer experience and having fun!