Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Wondering what folks are doing walking up and down every road in Ocean Lakes? It's a different kind of March Madness

Don’t be alarmed if you notice pairs of teammates walking a brisk pace around Ocean Lakes Family Campground, weaving up and down every road, every row of campers along the way.

No, they aren’t lost. And they aren’t just wandering aimlessly.

They are on a mission: Complete our first March Madness 22-Mile Challenge. That’s right, they are going to walk 22 miles.

Greg Bender, manager of Ocean Lakes Golf Cars, logs seven miles after work Monday, March 5.
The challenge’s goal: Walk every paved road in the campground – a total of 22 miles – while off the clock during March. The reward: 2,200 points in the company wellness program, which encourages teammates to earn points to receive discounts on their health insurance premiums.

“It’s such a beautiful place to do it,” said Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes General Manager and Vice President. “Would you rather walk on a treadmill in a stinky gym or by the ocean with beautiful surroundings?”

Don’t panic – teammates don’t have to walk all 22 miles in one day. A mile here, a few miles there. Teammates have a handy campground map provided by our Human Resources Department to log their miles and mark off the roads after they walk them.

Embracing the challenge

The 22-Mile Challenge kicked off March 1, and teammates have embraced it. About 59 full-time workers signed up to participate, way more than the dozen or so competitive teammates who organizers thought would jump at the challenge.

“I’m shocked that 59 people have signed up, and that they’re talking about it and are into it,” said Bonita Lloyd, Human Resources Director.

The first day of the challenge, some teammates arrived early before work to walk a mile, two or more. Others - campground map in hand - spent their lunch hours racking up the miles. Some overachievers walked multiple times that day: before work, lunch hour and after clocking out for the day.

Lloyd has even gotten a phone call from a teammate at 7:30 a.m. making sure they were logging their miles correctly on a fitness app as they walked before starting their workday.

Then there are the weekend warriors. Lloyd and Thompson joined Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies; and teammate Michele Throgmorton from the Main Office to log 14 miles on a brisk Saturday morning. Thompson, who is an expert on the campground’s layout after working at Ocean Lakes for 33 years, led the group.

“It was so cool seeing every nook and cranny [of the campground],” Lloyd said.

After four hours of stepping that windy Saturday morning, the gang celebrated with a big breakfast at Bob Evans.

“Those were the best eggs I think I’ve ever had,” Lloyd said.

A group of teammates treats themselves to a big breakfast at Bob Evans after logging 14 miles on a windy Saturday morning. Pictured are Dennis Wade (top left), CEO of The Jackson Companies; Michele Throgmorton from the Main Office; Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes General Manager and Vice President; Bonita Lloyd, Human Resources Director; and Bonita's husband, Kevin Engelman.

Racking up the points

Challenge participants not only enjoy the benefits of the fresh air and physical activity, they will earn points in our wellness program for every mile they walk.

A flier promoting the March Madness 22-Mile Challenge hangs on a board in the Ocean Lakes Front Office. The flier includes the campground map teammates use to log their miles.

Teammates who walk all 22 miles earn a whopping 2,200 points. Full-time teammates who earn at least 7,000 points receive the largest discount on their health insurance.

The points were enough to get teammate Danielle Hopper in Accounting lacing up her walking shoes. She admits she’s usually under the gun to accumulate the 7,000 points each year; this challenge will give her a big boost way before the deadline in the fall.

“I love the points,” said Hopper, who is accumulating the miles on her lunch hour. “I cannot believe it is this many points. That is going to help me so much. This is a huge relief off my back.”

Exploring the campground

The challenge of walking every road in the campground – tracking it on the map – makes it much more fun than just logging 22 miles wherever.

“The challenge makes it so much more fun,” Hopper said.

Danielle Hopper, front, from Accounting, walks around the campground during her lunch hour with teammates Sue Bradley from Property Management and Loretta DeHart from Accounting. After they wrap up their walk, they stop by our Meet n' Eat to grab lunch to take back to their office.

It’s also fun checking out every part of the campground, with teammates venturing down roads they’ve never been on previously.

“One of the goals is getting people moving and getting people out seeing the campground,” Lloyd said. “They usually stay in their zones.”

While some teammates jumped right in, others like Mallory Holmes in Marketing plan to wait until it’s a bit warmer and daylight saving time kicks in so she’ll have more time after work to walk before it gets dark.

“It’s a way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a nice change of scenery [from sitting behind a desk most of the day],” Holmes said. “Getting those Vitality (wellness program) points doesn’t hurt, either.”

Participants are encouraged to submit photos taken during their walks for a “Walk of Fame Wall” that will be coming soon in the Main Office. And Lloyd already is brainstorming the next challenge; it likely will be on bike instead of foot. All challenges will be done outside the busy summer season.

For this challenge, teammates have until March 31 to walk the 22 miles. Some are trying to knock it out as quickly as possible, while others plan to be slow and steady until the deadline.

“I’ll finish it on the 30th,” Holmes said. “But I will finish it.”