Construction of the luxury cabins began in the fall of 2014. This is when Heather Stitt & I started working at the Zion office. Heather is our IT/Programming Coordinator/Bookkeeping guru. I take care of reservations/guest relations/marketing. However, we all wear many hats at Zion. You never know from one day to the next what you will be doing when you arrive at work. For example, this morning I am writing this blog, answering phones, & processing a few reservations. This afternoon, I will be painting walls at our soon to be office. Ya just never know lol!
We all work very well together at Zion and for that I am truly grateful. Of course, not every day is perfect and sometimes stress takes over but the good outweighs the bad.
In late spring of 2015, construction began on the aqua-zip line. This is a zipline that goes into the water. How cool is that?!! Heather, Lori, & I along with Tank & Isaac (the maintenance guys) had to be trained on operating the zip line. Wow, did we have some fun times during that training. We learned about carabiners, lanyards, harnesses, zipping safety and tying knots.
The hardest part for me was the tying of knots. I remember that I could not tie a bowline on a bight knot. Of course, everyone else could so Isaac started making fun of me. I threw the rope across the room at him in frustration. Eventually (after alot of good natured teasing) everyone sat and helped me. LOL, we all had lots of laughs that day.
The following day we had to put our training to the test. Isaac was the first to use the zip line. I bravely stood on the hillside and took photos. See the photos below of Isaac enjoying the "maiden voyage" of the Zion Aqua-Zip. It was another fun day with lots of laughs.
So as you can see because of all of our "many hats" we all pull together to help each other out (along with good natured teasing). We truly are like a family here!
It was the summer of 2015 when the aqua zip finally opened. Our luxury cabins had renters every weekend. Life at Zion was getting pretty crazy. We were overwhelmed but very happy to be so busy. Everyday was a learning curve as to how to do things. Isaac, Heather, Lori Smo, Tank, & I eventually figured out the best schedule for working the zipline. Somedays were more frustating than others but we learned that working together always made things a little easier.
We were all busy working. We were all busy with our own families, planning vacations and sometimes enjoying a weekend off. However, our lives at Zion were about to change forever in a way that we never thought imaginable. We often wonder if we could turn back time, what could we have done to change future events.
As you gather this weekend for Christmas with your family or as you are having your annual Christmas party with your "work family", I encourage you to appreciate everyone that is with you at the time. Tell someone sitting next to you that you are glad they are here today. Don't take anything for granted!
Merry Christmas from The Zion family to you and yours.
Peace be with you.
Following Warren's death, there were several changes in staff. Maintenance crews & volunteers have come and gone. In 2013 Lori Smolira, current Zion director, began working at the Zion office. She began a Faith, Family, & Friends 5k at Zion in 2012. Lori continued that race for 4 years, along with many office duties. Today, the race is known as the Connect, Communicate, Care 5K, which will be discussed in a later blog.
It was time for more changes at Zion. The first was to enclose the pavilion so that it could be rented year round. Zion pavilion (then) is on the left. Zion pavilion (now) is on the right. The pavilion now has heat & A/C. However, all the doors slide open if you want to experience nature at it's finest during your event.
Next would come the development of our small beach. The beach is included, 24/7, with your stay at Zion. The Noah's Landing beach opened in June of 2014. For two summers, the beach was available to the public 7 days a week. However, in 2016 it was decided that the beach only be open to the public on the weekends. This was done so that our weekday overnight guests could enjoy the beach area to themselves. Our overnight guests just LOVE this concept!
(middle photo provided by Shontell from Indiana)
While the beach was being used more & more, the fishing on Zion Lake was still good!
(photos provided by Travis Palmer)
Next would come the development of our luxury cabins. Check back next week for more photos!
Keep warm and have a great week!
I have come across a few of Warren's programming ideas. In August of 2005 he made plans for a Harvest Festival complete with square dancing, corn husk racing, pumpkin carving, a hay bale maze for kids, and hay rides. I think this sounds wonderful. I have not been able to find any photos or documentation as to whether or not this festival happened. Does anyone know? Is this an event that would be good for our community today? What are your thoughts?
According to the Zion Newsletter dated 12/02/2006, the following events happened at Zion: guided youth turkey hunt, fishing event for youth, Flushing Alliance Church overnight experience and the 1st Annual Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. I have found a few photos of the youth fishing & the cancer walk. Enjoy a blast from the past!
Over the next several years Warren continued to work on programming. However, the main attraction to Zion was the fishing! We have people today who come to Zion just to fish. I do not fish but I hear that the fishing is awesome on Zion Lake.
From 2006-2010 not much was going on at Zion. There were no new development projects in site and programming really wasn't bringing people to Zion. However, the fishing was still good!
Sadly in 2010 Warren passed away. I never met Warren but I am truly grateful to him for pursuing his vision with Jim Wagner. I believe he would be proud of all that Jim has accomplished at Zion today.
Of course not all the credit can go to Jim. In case you didn't know, Zion is run by a board. There were some changes needed at Zion for it to grow. Lots of decisions needed to be made by the board.
Check back next week to see what is next.
Below is a lovely picture of Warren & his wife Eleanor. Sadly Miss Eleanor passed away this fall. She served on the board until the day she passed away. She was an amazingly strong woman who I am glad to have known. Eleanor loved Zion as much as Warren. In the picture below she is on Zion Lake(the pavilion is in the background)
We miss her smiling face and her wise words dearly. She will forever be in our hearts!
Leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence.
Programming was a vision of Warren's. He created several different events/programs to be held at Zion. Unfortunately, not many attended these events. Attendance for events & getting people to visit & stay at Zion is a problem still today!
Is there a need for programming? Should we just be a facility and have people do their programming on site? WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT!?
We are taking a leap of faith this week by attending the CCCA "All In" Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. We want to help Zion grow and be more recognized. This is a process that has been ongoing since Warren & Jim had their vision in 2005. This is a process that we struggle with on a daily basis in 2016.
Heather, Lori, & myself have left our families for 6 days. We believe in Zion that much!
We are attending several different seminars this week in hopes to continue Jim & Warren's mission but also to help Zion grow. We will bring all of this information back to Zion and "brainstorm" all winter on what Zion needs to do for YOU, the consumer. We will work hard for YOU!
I want to know what it is that YOU want from Zion. What do YOU want us to do for YOU?
Please reply to this blog and let us know what Zion can do for you.
A few sites from our conference. Enjoy!!
Hi, I'm Lori Kovacs.