The reason my hometown of Hawley, Pennsylvania is so special to me is because of Woodloch Pines Resort.
Woodloch Pines is a resort much like the one in the popular ’80s movie, “Dirty Dancing.” There are plenty of activities, games and contests in which guests can participate, as well as a relaxing lake, evening entertainment, family-style meals and so much more.
My father, Joey, has been the entertainment director at the resort for more than 30 years. And my mother, Ruth, was once vacationing away from her home in Long Island, New York, as a guest at Woodloch when she first met my father.
When my mother’s oldest sister moved to Pennsylvania after finding love at the resort, my mother began spending her summers there with her, working as a cocktail waitress at Woodloch. She immediately caught my father’s eye, and after some time, they began dating.
They have been married for 25 years.
I practically grew up at the resort, but that’s only half the reason why I hold Woodloch so close to my heart. When I was 16 years old, I started working at Woodloch in their social department. And it changed my life.
I greeted hundreds of guests as they entered the dining room for a meal, geared them up for the zipline and taught them to water ski.
Sometimes my job entails quizzing a room full of around 200 guests on how well they know music and covering guests in mashed potatoes and cheese as a part of a competition in which hundreds of guests participate. And that’s not even the half of it.
To someone who has never been to Woodloch, this can be confusing and downright weird. But the guests love every second of it. I have brought friends to Woodloch in the past, and the crazy games and competitions did not amuse them like I thought they would. I was so excited for them to experience everything the resort had to offer, but it was not as special to them as I hoped it would be. To them it was just a resort, but to me — it’s my upbringing.
During my four summers working at Woodloch, I met the most amazing people, some of whom quickly became my best friends. I have created my favorite memories, encountered a summer romance that easily could have been made into a romantic comedy and learned some valuable lessons along the way.
Because of Woodloch, I am more patient, creative, understanding and cheerful than I could have ever imagined being.
For me, Woodloch surely felt like more than a summer job. Woodloch has always been my second home. In fact, sometimes it feels more like my first.