I always find the ‘Where are They Now?’ articles entertaining, so I’m going to update you on our Dollywood’s Splash Country team. It is December, after all. What are the hosts who work at our water park up to when the warm summer sun seems like a distant memory?
Recently, I met them on a chilly day shortly after Thanksgiving. They had invited me (and a few other folks from various Dollywood teams) to join them on their annual trip to the Knoxville chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities, or Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) for short.
Read more here about what this great organization does for families who have sick kids.
Since the early days of Dollywood’s Splash Country, our aquatic gurus have partnered with this non-profit whenever possible. General Manager Janet Dawson says it’s a great fit for our water park to adopt Ronald McDonald House because their mission is to love on and care for families and kids. That’s where our heart is, too. You may remember that every summer, we have a Ronald McDonald House day where water park admission proceeds go to support RMHC’s purpose.
At Christmastime, Dollywood Splash Country hosts get to help in a different way. It’s become tradition for these hosts to kick off the season by decking the halls of the homes at 1705 Clinch Avenue. They pull out all the seasonal trimmings: tubs of garland, ornaments, ribbons, bows, lights, and of course the trees!
The Knoxville chapter has two properties for families to stay and between the main house and the annex, there are four big Christmas trees and a LOT of decorations. It takes finagling and re-arranging to get it all out of storage. Because the Splash Country team has done this for years, they almost have it down to a science. Almost.
And, that’s not all. Once the décor is out and assembled, you know how it goes. Inevitably, strands of lights don’t work or something was damaged while putting it away. This team will re-string lights and troubleshoot as needed. They will program the timers so the staff doesn’t have to worry about the lights coming on or going off. If there are any other odd jobs that need attention while our team is there, they’ll do it. I really loved being there to see it all come together. The relationship our team shares with RMDHC is special.
Now that Knoxville’s Ronald McDonald House is cheery and bright for its holiday guests, the Dollywood’s Splash Country team is back to work preparing for our next great season. I’m excited to tell you more about what’s to come. For now I’ll let you hang in suspense and I’ll share further details in a later blog post about what you can expect in the summer of 2019.