Steele Hill Resorts offers an array of activities each week, put on by our fabulous activities director Nancy. The activity schedule goes up each Friday and there is something for everyone. From Teddy Bear Mountain, to frog racing, and s’mores there is never a dull moment up on the hill. Check out our interview with the long-time activities director Nancy below.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how long you have been with Steele Hill.
I am starting my 9th year working for Steele Hill. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from the University of Maryland and have raised a beautiful family of four children with my husband. In my past I have been a girl scout leader, cub scout leader, and a classroom mother for over 12 years. Before Steele Hill I worked for the Smithsonian as an exhibit specialist in Washington D.C. where I did everything from picking out the wall color, to the placement of the designs. In my spare time, I love being outside whether its hiking, fishing, or camping. So, that combination of love for the outdoors and art made my position as an activity director the perfect fit.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love making memories and being a part of a guest’s memories whether it’s a family or individual. It’s where I feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives, even if it’s just a small memory, the small moments are the ones that can mean the most in the long run. When a guest comes on vacation they want to come get away, relax, and be carefree and I can help achieve that. Since I have worked here over the course of 9 years it’s amazing to see some children I met at the beginning of my time who are now heading off to college, and they still come say hi to me and join in on some of the activities I put on, and that is rewarding knowing that myself, and Steele Hill can hold a part in their memories of growing up.
What has been the best feel good moment of your time here?
I remember this one time I added knitting to the activity scheduled. Unsure if anyone would show up, I had one middle aged man come in and told me he wanted to learn how to knit. He told me how growing up his Grandmother was a big knitter and always wanted to teach her grandchildren. He had promised her that one day she could teach him, but she had passed away before he ever got to learn, so he had it on his bucket list to one day learn how to knit. He was the only one that showed up that day, but we sat down for the full hour and I taught him how to knit, and when he finished he stood up with a big smile on his face and thanked me.
What makes the children most excited?
For the kids, I tend to get crafts that parents otherwise wouldn’t get at home. And I mean the really messy ones that involve glitter, sequins, and colored sand etc. I dump it all out on the table and let them have free range. They can get as messy as they want and its okay because they aren’t at home. They also love the wildlife we have here at Steele Hill. We have a stocked pond, and I will take the kids out to catch frogs and then we will do a frog race, the kids get to go outside and really get their hands dirty, they get so excited about that.
How do you come up with the activities?
Whatever I come up with I know it has to be successful in one hour. I can’t occupy guests all day with a four-hour craft because they have all of these other plans, I always keep the guests’ time in mind. I am not running a summer camp, I am only here to enhance their experience, so anything too complicated might deter from that. For example, one activity I do is creating dream catchers, for the little kids they can just make their own path without learning the exact techniques, but for the older ones they can take time to learn the knots and strings correctly. I also always have a Plan B and C to occupy guests if they finish an activity early.
How do the activities at Steele Hill set us apart from other hospitality experiences?
In my own personal experience, I have noticed that when I have been at other resorts their activities only occur once a day or maybe only every other day, and this is normally only during their peak season. Here at Steele Hill I do multiple activities 5 days a week, 12 months a year. I am also the only person putting on activities here, and I have been here for so long that on a personal level I get to know reoccurring guests and year after year. It is unique in the sense that they know who I am and I know who they are, it’s a family owned resort so when you come here that’s the feeling we want to embody.
Also at Steele Hill the cool part is that you can try all of the activities and amenities we have here for zero to minimal cost. So, if you wanted to try out golf you can do so for free here and you might come away with a new hobby for life, or if I am running a jewelry making activity I have some guests say “this was so much easier than I thought, where can I buy the supplies?” Guests are able to try something new and can take what they learned from Steele Hill and enjoy something for the rest of their life they may not have otherwise discovered.