It’s the time of year Americans reflect on all we are thankful for and generally eat way too much. We celebrate family and friends and some wait in anticipation for the Black Friday sales. Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a busy place at Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for that! If you are spending this holiday at Ocean Lakes, check out the decorations in the Recreation Center (by Noon on Saturday).
It has been a tough couple of years for many Americans. Yet, no matter the situation, often Americans look at what we have been blessed with and reach out to those who are less fortunate. I guess many of us did learn to share when we were younger.
This Thanksgiving holiday, Ocean Lakes’ teammates have looked to their creative, resourceful, “green” selves to help raise money for “Substitutes for Santa,” a local charity that provides a Christmas experience to between 50 and 85 underprivileged children from the Loris and Myrtle Beach communities. Several of own teammates are involved in this special holiday outreach annually. They actually take the children shopping with a gift card. You’d think these children would go crazy buying the stuff they want. However, the children spend a good bit of the money buying gifts for their loved ones. Melts your heart.
Ready, Set, Create!
Truth is, our teammates are a competitive bunch. And though we are like a family, we each love to win! In 2008, we came up with the “Christmas Challenge” and it was a lot of fun! The challenge asks the campground’s teammates to decorate a tree or wreath as best they can without purchasing any decorations and only using items they find in their own department. It really proves for some pretty funny things – and some great ideas!
In the past, there’s been no limit to the teammate’s creativity. The Ocean Lakes Storage and Transport Department previously made a wreath out of a blown camper tire, decorated with flashing tail lights, mangled camper parts and reflectors. Security staff at the 310-acre campground created a wreath with old uniform shirts, handcuffs, reports, confiscated items and a flashing blue light.
The 2011 challenge continues to showcase the teammates’ creativity with departmental supplies including old fluorescent bulbs, orange caution cones, unused toilet plungers, iCare Program dog biscuits and mutt mitts, tools, toilet paper, and garden hose. This year, Security teammates formed the wreath itself out of caution tape. The Accounting Department crafted beautiful angels with halos out of coin wrappers and garland from dollar bill wrappers.
Judges will cast ballots during this week for winners in three categories: Most Festive, Wow! and Most Creative Use of Departmental Supplies. But Ocean Lakes’ guests and teammates will vote for the “People’s Choice.” Winners will be announced at The Jackson Companies’ Teammates Awards Breakfast and on the Ocean Lakes Facebook page on Dec. 12.
Do It for the Children…
In 2008, after we were already in the heat of the contest creativity, we thought, “we should have auctioned these off for charity!” So we made a mental note to plan for Thanksgiving.
In 2011, and the teammate response has been overwhelming – 14 departments and several collaborations. Teammates are already plotting next year’s challenge. But this time we planned enough in advance to include our guests’ votes and arrange for a silent auction for Substitutes for Santa.
Teammates are hoping to raise $1,000 for Substitutes for Santa, giving 10 underprivileged children a Christmas shopping spree with volunteer Santas. Minimum bids start at $25 and bidding ends on Saturday, November 26th. Remember – it’s for charity, so we appreciate any donations.
Have enough holiday décor?
Toys for Tots boxes are also located in the Ocean Lakes Main Office and Recreation Center.