Marval doesn’t expect as many campers in April, so they lumped three weeks under the theme of the Azalea Festival — which isn’t even here in the park, or as far as I can see, in Gore. They say it’s a local fesival, so I’ll have to see if I can get to it sometime this month. I think most of the folks here this weekend were here for other reasons.
Fishing is ongoing, of course, but this weekend we also had a class reunion here — Class of ’93! Among other activities, their planners booked a band to play last night. It was loud and ran a little late. I talked with Melanie this morning and she said if she’d known how loud it was going to be, she would have put it out in the back forty. At the same time, she said she went down to watch for a while and noticed that a lot of people who weren’t with the class reunion were enjoying the band too, so she’s going to invite them back sometime.
I have been listening to the comments made by parents in regards to the crafts we offer, so I’ve been experimenting. One comment I had a lot during spring break was that folks had come back often enough that they’d already done most of the crafts I stocked because they seemed to be popular last year. So I’ve been experimenting with offering some new items, and it’s going pretty well. Some of the new things seem to go better than others though.
Another comment I’ve heard a lot from parents is how expensive everything is, so I’ve been attempting to stock some less expensive crafts. I currently have some sand art bracelets and some sun catcher pendants that are only $.50 and they are selling well. One of our neighbors comes every weekend with their grandchildren, and yesterday the grandmother let her granddaughter do all four crafts I was featuring. The granddaughter was a happy camper because she said she’s never been able to do so many crafts before, and the grandmother was a happy camper because she said she’d never been able to afford so many crafts before! This was a particularly moving encounter because the girl’s mother is in the hospital with lupus, and all four crafts were things she could give to her mother.
Another mother came in with her two boys and was amazed when she saw what all we have to offer. She said she came to Marval when she was young and all they had for kids here was a tether ball. Seven years ago she came before she had her boys, and there was a pool here which she thought was a big improvement. This was the first time her sons had ever come, and they loved all the kid-oriented activities. They want to move here!
We also got a visit from a couple who are originally from Argentina. I could tell they weren’t from around here because they had an accent and seemed to struggle a little with English. Once I found out they were Spanish-speakers, I tried a little of my Spanish on them. They were surprised to find that I was able to make the attempt. They hadn’t been able to get a reservation for this weekend, so they were just visiting for the day, but they said they would come back in a few weeks when they can get a reservation. They have a tiny little girl who seemed to enjoy the water table I got for the Activity Center.
I think these kinds of encounters I have with the people who come into the center are the most satisfying parts of the job to me. Mark’s favorite part is getting to “play”. He looks forward to driving the train every chance I give him. We’re still loving it here!