Meet the 82-year-old teammate who conquered the 22-Mile walking challenge at Ocean Lakes

John Saylors has always loved a challenge.

So when Ocean Lakes Family Campground announced the March Madness 22-Mile Challenge for teammates – walk every paved road in the campground in a month, a total of 22 miles – John figured he’d give it a try.

At 82, he’s a bit older than most of his fellow teammates. And, just a little more than a year ago, he had surgery to fix the left hip that he broke in a fall. “I’ve got a little wobble now, though,” he said.

But that wasn’t going to stop him.

“I thought I might do 10 miles,” John said. “But then I got going and it was kind of fun.”

John Saylors poses for a photo March 28 just moments after finishing the 22-Mile Challenge at Ocean Lakes Family Campground.

He’d pet dogs along the way. Chat with folks on their porches enjoying the nice day. One guest, who relied on a scooter to get around, even joined John for a bit.

“He pulled up beside of me wanting to know what I was doing,” John said. They ended up talking for the next mile as John walked the mobile home section, the man rolling right alongside him.

“Everybody’s nice and friendly and they talk to you,” John said. “I had a good time with it.”

John, a retired law enforcement officer who works in Ocean Lakes Main Office, made special trips to the campground while off duty on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during March to log the miles. On his best day, he walked 3.5 miles.

Before he would set out on the day’s walk, he’d grab his Ocean Lakes walkie talkie radio – natural instinct for a law enforcement guy – just in case he had to alert Security if he stumbled upon a situation that needed immediate attention.

He’d also give his Security teammates a heads up that he was heading out for his walk. His teammates had his back.

“Bob Muller would ride by and make sure I was in an upright position,” John said.

Once John got going on the challenge, ticking off mile after mile, he started to think that his original goal of 10 miles might not be enough.

“Heck, I could crush this thing,” John remembered thinking after he finished 10 miles.

Support from teammates also helped.

“Everybody really thought I could do it and a lot of people encouraged me,” John said.

John Saylors shows off the "Rock Star" medal he earned for completing the 22-Mile Challenge at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. By the end of the challenge, John had logged 25.8 miles.

He persevered through the aches in the knees or ankles that came after a day’s good walk. Sometimes he’d carry his cane on his walks – he doesn’t really need it to walk around every day but he thought it might help on some uneven areas.

But the biggest bummer – there weren’t many guests out and about to chat when he walked the south side of the campground.

“It was kind of lonely on the south side,” John said.

By the end of the challenge, John had logged 25.8 miles (there’s some overlap catching every road) – just shy of a marathon (26.2 miles).

“Probably no one my age has walked that,” John said of his 25 miles, which he finished walking March 28.

Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies, presents John Saylors with the "Rock Star" medal for finishing the 22-Mile Challenge for teammates at Ocean Lakes Family Campground.

His accomplishment earned him the “Rock Star” medal at the April 9 luncheon in the Recreation Center celebrating the teammates who participated in the 22-Mile Challenge.

“I’m just happy I can still go,” John said. “I’m going to go until they carry me out of here.”


Will they survive? How to tell if your palm tree will bounce back after brutal winter

You might have noticed that our pretty palms aren’t looking quite so pretty.

Blame the brutal winter. Palms – the ultimate sign of a warm beachy place – understandably don’t like the cold. Not unusual to see some brown leaves after every winter.

But this winter was exceptionally brutal. Remember that string of 20-degree days in January? Yeah, we weren’t the only ones freezing.

“They took a beating this winter,” said Jeff Wilson, Ocean Lakes Landscape Manager who has more than 30 years of experience as a horticulturalist. “They don’t look real good right now.”

Ocean Lakes Landscape Manager Jeff Wilson gives advice about trimming sago palms like this one that took a beating during the brutal winter.

Many of the palms – regardless of the specific type – have more brown leaves than green right now, and they are sagging. Some of the palms look down right sad. But that’s not an automatic sign that the tree won’t make it. Wilson isn’t giving up just yet.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “You have to give them some more time. Just because it looks like this, it does not mean all hope is lost.”

Wondering if yours will make it? Wilson has some tips for homeowners.

First and most important: Be patient. Don’t give up on the palms just yet.

Second, check the center bud, which produces the growth on the tree. If it’s solid, the tree is likely to come back. If it’s soft and dried-up, it’s more than likely dead.

Landscape Manager Jeff Wilson checks the bud on this sago palm to determine if it's likely to survive.

There are a variety of palms sprinkled throughout the 310-acre campground.

Sago palms are very popular; many of them are flush with the ground. When smaller, almost like a bush, these are palms our homeowners can cut themselves.

If the solid center bud indicates that the palm is likely to survive, you can cut off the fronds, or brown leaves. But be prepared: the pointy leaves are like spikes and can stick you. Be sure to wear jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, and use long-handle loppers so you can cut without having to get up close in those sharp points.

“Be very careful – they have some nasty thorns on them,” Wilson said. “They will stick you.”

Everything else homeowners should leave to our Landscape team. Remember, homeowners are not allowed to trim any trees – our Landscape team handles all tree trimming throughout the campground, including on annual lease sites (unless we have to call an outside company for the big jobs). Have a tree you want trimmed? Get on the list by calling our Compliance Office at 843-828-4836.

That includes most of the sabal palmettos (the official tree of South Carolina) and Washingtonia palms, which usually flourish in warmer-weather environments such as Florida and are looking the worst around here right now. Most of the trees homeowners have asked Wilson to check are Washingtonia palms.

“We are at the northern edge of its limit,” Wilson said.

In March, our Compliance Office received 15 tree-trimming requests, and another 10 have already come in during April. Experts don’t want to cut off too much at one time, so some trees might need multiple trimming sessions.

Just don’t give up on those palms yet.

“Be patient,” Wilson said. “You can be amazed at something that can look totally dead then you go out a week later and it has got growth on it.”

Want a tree trimmed at your annual lease site? Call the Ocean Lakes Compliance Office at 843-828-4836.


Have an annual lease site at Ocean Lakes? Here’s what you need to know about the conversion to digital cable TV

Most annual lease site holders already have adjusted to Spectrum’s conversion from analog to digital TV, which took effect in March.

Here are a few important tips and points to remember for annual lease site holders:


Annual lease site holders are entitled to four HD cable boxes per house. You can pick up the boxes at a Spectrum office at the following locations:

Spectrum in Oasis Plaza in Garden City Beach (five miles from Ocean Lakes)
2520 Highway 17 Business South
Garden City 29576
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday

Spectrum Myrtle Beach (about 10 miles from Ocean Lakes, depending on route)
1901 N. Oak St.
Myrtle Beach 29577
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Or call Spectrum at 1-833-697-7328

Remember, when dealing with Spectrum use the following address:

6001 S. Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29575
Apt: Give your site number as the apartment number

Tip - Giving your specific address instead of the address above will slow down the process and could cause confusion. Please use the address above (the main address of Ocean Lakes Family Campground) and give your site number as your apartment number


Our IT experts encourage you to upgrade from a Digital TV Adaptor box (DTA) to an HD cable box. The DTA will still work, but it does not have the Guide channel that lists the handy TV schedule by channel. There should not be a charge to get the four HD cable boxes included with your lease. Need more than that? You’ll have to pay the fee.

If you have an HD box, hit the “Guide” button and the lineup will appear on your screen that you can scroll through. Hit the “Guide” button twice and you can customize what you see in the lineup scroll; click “subscribed” to see a lineup of just the channels available on your TV.


Annual lease site holders get basic cable, channels 5 through 16, as part of their lease.

You can upgrade to an extended tier with more channels by contacting Spectrum.

With the conversion to digital, Spectrum closed the holes that were allowing some annual lease sites to receive an extended channel lineup without paying for it.

“If you were getting more than [the basic channels] and not paying anything, then consider yourself lucky,” our IT expert George Burton said. “If you weren’t paying for them, you shouldn’t have been getting them.”


- Contact Spectrum for help setting up the HD cable box (Spectrum must activate the box after you hook it up)
- Make sure both the TV and the cable box are powered “on.”
- Make sure the TV is on the correct “Source” or “Input.”
- Still having trouble? Contact Spectrum with any further issues.

Remember, when dealing with Spectrum use the following address:

6001 S. Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29575
Apt: Give your site number as the apartment number


Remember that March Madness walking challenge at Ocean Lakes? The final results are in...

Like many others, Ocean Lakes HR Director Bonita Lloyd’s predictions for March Madness were way off - but in a good way.

Participation in Ocean Lakes version of March Madness – a 22-Mile Challenge for teammates to walk every paved road in the campground during March – came in way higher than Lloyd expected for this inaugural walking challenge.

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. 

Sixty-one teammates participated; 53 finished all 22 miles and 8 finished a portion. In all, teammates walked 1,486 miles in the campground last month, all while off the clock.

“This just blew my numbers out,” said Lloyd, who had expected about a dozen or so teammates to participate.
 “They were having fun with it, walking together,” Lloyd said. “They certainly were having fun seeing the property.”

Some teammates embrace any challenge. Some started off willing to walk a few miles but realized, “Hey, maybe I can pull off the whole thing.” For others, it worked right in with their New Year’s resolution to lose weight and be more active.

Recreation Supervisor LeeAnn Halsema has lost 52 pounds since kicking off a healthier lifestyle at the beginning of 2018, and completing the 22-Mile Challenge at Ocean Lakes helped her shed the pounds and be active.

LeeAnn Halsema, a Recreation Supervisor, started 2018 on a health kick – and the 22-Mile Challenge just pushed her even more. She hadn’t run a full mile since graduating from Coastal Carolina University in spring 2017, but she did during the challenge. Other times, she’d walk five miles in roughly 90 minutes.

“I didn’t realize I could do it,” Halsema said. “Oh my god – it was amazing. The challenge made me push myself more.”

And she’s looking great, too. Halsema has lost 52 pounds since January, and the pounds keep coming off as she continues to keep an active lifestyle.

Compliance Officer Terry Hill, a regular walker anyway, set out to knock out the 22-Mile Challenge in just a couple of days. The first day of the challenge, Hill walked before work, during his lunch break and after clocking out that afternoon, racking up about 10 miles. He paced himself over the next week to be one of the first teammates to finish – encouraging his teammates along the way.

“I got the word out there, let’s pick it up,” Hill said. “I thought it was a good idea, and I wanted to get it done.”

Compliance Officer Terry Hill finished the 22-Mile Challenge in about a week.

Teammates who walked the 22 miles – nearly everyone ended up with more miles because of the overlaps as you hit every paved road – earned 2,200 points in the company’s wellness program, which helps them pay less for health insurance. Teammates who earn 7,000 points a year pay the least amount for their insurance.

The points motivated some teammates. Didn’t matter at all for a few part-time teammates who weren’t eligible for the points but walked the paved roads anyway.

Guests cheered teammates on as they saw them walking up and down every road. Even some guests wanted to get in on it, asking for the same map teammates were using to mark off the roads as they walked them.

“I love the way the guests got involved and engaged in it,” Lloyd said.

Even teammates who are out and about in the campground every day for their jobs saw nooks and crannies in the park that they had never stumbled upon during their daily duties. Halsema – who is around the park a lot gathering campground-related questions for our Amazing Race game in Recreation – saw new things on her walks with her trusty sidekick Tucker, a chocolate lab.

LeeAnn Halsema walking the 22-Mile Challenge with her chocolate lab Tucker.

“And there were still houses I hadn’t seen,” Halsema said. “It’s definitely a different perspective.”

Shannon Detzler, Human Resources Coordinator/Recruiter, serves salad to 22-Mile Challenge participant Andrew Longo, Food Services Assistant Manager, during the challenge luncheon April 9 in our Recreation Center.
Teammates who participated were treated to lunch – a healthy salad from the Meet n’ Eat – in the Recreation Center on April 9 to celebrate. They also received a March Madness 2018 pin.

The March Madness Challenge was such a hit, expect to see it back next year. Lloyd and the HR team are already cooking up another active challenge to complement the weight loss challenges and Lunch and Learns that also are part of the teammate wellness program.

“It definitely got everybody ramped up on a healthier lifestyle,” Lloyd said. “Hopefully, it will stick.”


Having trouble hooking up new digital cable TV at your campsite? Here's what you need to know

Camping guests likely will notice some changes to the cable TV at their campsites this year.

In March, Spectrum converted from analog TV service to digital TV service in the Myrtle Beach area, including Ocean Lakes. Because of this transition, guests at our campsites have a new channel lineup and will likely have to program their TV during their first stay with us this year (it’s a painless process, we promise).

All the usual channels are still there; they just might be in a different spot. Be sure to pick up the bright green brochure when you arrive that lists the channel lineup for quick reference.

The brochure also has all the details you need to program your TV or troubleshoot if you have issues (plus a phone number to call if you need an expert). This process is only for guests staying on a campsite; our annual lease site holders have a different process to handle the digital conversion.

A few tips:

Program your TV | Once you have your TV hooked up, you’ll likely need to program it for the new digital system. Don’t worry - it’s quick and easy. The process varies by TV, but watch this video for a guide:

Many televisions store channels once they are programmed, so camping guests may only have to program their TV during their first visit this year. Others may have to program the TV every time they visit – it all depends on the TV.

You need a TV with a QAM tuner | Only TVs with a digital QAM tuner will work with Spectrum’s new digital channel lineup. Most TVs that were made after 2010 – but not all - have a QAM tuner.

How do you know if your TV has a QAM tuner? Search the make/model of your TV online or check the owner’s manual. Some manuals will have a statement like this if the TV has a QAM tuner: “Built-in digital tuner (ATSC/Clear QAM)”

TVs made by the following companies typically come with a QAM tuner: Emerson, Hitachi, Insignia, LG, Polaroid, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TCL, Toshiba, Vizio

Some brands are known to produce TVs without a QAM tuner (these would not work with the new digital system): Element, Hisense, Proscan, RCA, Sceptre, Seiki and most Westinghouse

Still not seeing channels? Check your camper’s antenna booster | The antenna booster needs to be “off” for the TVs in your camper to receive the digital channels. There’s usually a button or switch for the antenna booster near one of the TV connections in the camper. It could also be in a cabinet.

By now, you should be all set. Still having problems? Contact Ocean Lakes Main Office at 843-238-5636 and a teammate will come to your site to check it out.

Or call Spectrum’s Bulk Care Service Unit at 1-833-697-7328. Give the site address as “6001 S. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC, 29575” then your site number as “apartment number.”

Easy peasy, right?!?! We thank our guests for your patience through this conversion and hope you enjoy the new digital quality picture!