b"Jellystone Symposiumfrom page 22 tunities for managers to suggest their ownsocial media, accusing the park of raciallet it burn out of control, it becomes bigger solutions to each problem they identify.bias. The final scenario involved an E. coliand bigger and harder to manage. stay to complete their program.Valk said its important to let managersoutbreak that occurs as a result of a mal- Park operators need to have a culture of Valk said park operators can also sidestepmanage because doing so will bring themfunctioning chlorinator. A dozen childrenresponse-ability to start communicating employee retention problems by avoidinggreater job satisfaction. When this happens,become sick.about the issue right away. Ritter noted that two things: bad hiring and poor training.she said, the following things tend to occur:Foreachscenario,Ritterwarned,itsome crises cannot be fully described right When it comes to hiring, she said, consider Employees look forward to coming towould just be a matter of time before wordaway. But even in these situations, parks the following for each job applicant:work.spreads on social media and eventually tohave an opportunity to demonstrate theirAre they making good eye contact? They tend to stay longer.traditional news media. TV crews wouldcompetence in managing the situation andDoes the person seem to enjoy life? They have fewer missed days.then show up at the park. What do you do?being transparent with the news media sim- Can you hear empathy in their voice? They tell others they work at a great place.How do you prepare?ply by saying something like We are awareCan you hear them smiling over the They come to work with ideas, innova- Ritter used these scenarios to underscoreof a potential problem. We are working on phone?tion and a spirit of teamwork.the importance of acting quickly and havingit, and we will have a statement soon. Have they worked in previous customer They know what is expected of themwrittencrisiscommunicationplansin Ritter, who specializes in providing PR service jobs?and feel empowered.place. Such plans not only spell out how thecounsel to a variety of companies, including Valk then showed the group a famousLetting managers manage also enablespark should respond to a variety of differentfranchise networks, urged park operators to quotebyDannyMeyer,CEOofUnionpark owners to focus their attention oncrisis situations, but which staff memberslet Camp Jellystone know as soon as possi-Square Hospitality Group: Hospitality is al- leading the organization and creating a vi- should be responsible for implementingble whenever a significant crisis erupts (or most impossible to teach. Its all about hir- sion for the future.each step of the plan. Such plans shouldmay erupt) again to help manage commu-ing the right people.also indicate which staff members shouldnications during a crisis. Valk also said its imperative to give parkbe authorized to speak to the news mediaTake time during the offseason to pre-employees the coaching and training theyhandle social media and take care of otherpare your plan, Ritter said, as he concluded need to excel at their jobs. Create an envi- specific responsibilities in a crisis, such ashis session. ronment for all of your people to come tocommunicating with guests and emergencyThe Symposium also included Jellystone work to do their very best, she said.responders.Parks annual awards program as well as a The idea of creating a positive work en- Ritter provided park owners and operatorstradeshow with nearly 100 vendors, includ-vironment dovetailed into a separate semi- with three different crisis scenarios to giveing several companies that had not partici-narValkledonhowtoletmanagersthem experience in developing talking pointspated in a Jellystone Park tradeshow before. manage. Problems often take place whenfor crisis situations under intense deadlineNumerous awards were handed out, in-owners interfere with the work managerspressure. He suggested that parks preparecluding: are hired to perform, she highlighted. three or four key messages or talking points toCamp-Resort of the Year: Golden Valley Valk said park operators need to clearlyuse with the news media in each crisis.Jellystone Park, Bostic, N.C. articulate what their managers are requiredThese messages should stick to the es- Regional Camp-Resorts of the Year: to do. Its important to share business plansJellystone Park operators had plenty to looksential facts of the situation, he said. While Central Region: Caledonia Jellystone and numbers with managers, she said,at during the expo.its worthwhile to note the parks adherencePark, Wis. adding, When people know what is ex- to policies and procedures specific to the Eastern Region: Columbus North Jelly-pected of them, they are easier to manage.A Primer in Crisis Communications crisis, the parks media representatives muststone Park, Ohio Thenyoudontneedtomicromanage.As part of a crisis communications train- always communicate the parks care and Southern Region: Golden Valley Jelly-Owners need to get out of the way and leting session, Jellystone Park owners, man- compassion for their guests.stone Park, N.C. their managers manage but give them clearagers and their staff members were givenBe empathetic, human and likable, Rit-Western Region: Tyler, Texas, Jellystone Park direction. Let them rise to the challenge.only a few minutes to prepare for TV inter- ter said, adding that its also helpful to speakOperator of the Year: Its also important to provide managersviews involving three distinctly different cri- in sound bites and to avoid rambling. It Clint and Michelle Swisher, Blooming-with training, particularly to help them un- sis scenarios.takes 20 years to build a reputation and fiveton, Ind., in the category for locations with derstandthedifferenttemperamentsofLeaders from their groups then had tominutes to lose it, Ritter told park opera- less than 225 sites. their team members and how to communi- stand on the stage and respond to questionstors, quoting Warren Buffet. Greg Amadio, Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the cate with them.fired off by Brad Ritter, a former TV anchorRitter added that there are many differ- category for locations with 225 or more sites. Valk suggested that park owners check inand Jellystone Park public relations consult- ent kinds of crisis scenarios. Think if youFranchise Inspection Leader, The Car-with their managers from time to time withant, as a cameraman videotaped their re- have to close a water zone in the middle ofroll Award: Jellystone Park Tyler, Texas the following questions in the following order:sponses in front of hundreds of their peers.the season or if people go on social mediaJim Webb Spirit Award: Randy Isaacson,What is going well?Ritter divided the audience into three dif- to complain about bedbugs. What happensJellystone Park Caledonia, Wis.Where are we getting stuck?ferent groups and assigned a different crisisif you don't deal with it quickly? It gets worseMaple Leaf Award: Niagara Falls, OntarioWhat should we do differently?to each group. In one scenario, a tree falls onand worse and worse, Ritter said.Facility of the Year: Allowingmanagerstoaddressthesea politicians RV during a storm and seri- Parks, he maintained, should have action Fredericksburg, Texas, in the category questions in this order starts off the conver- ously injures his daughter. In another, anplans for different types of crises. for locations with less than 225 sites. sation on a positive note before transition- unruly guest with a large social media fol- The first 30 minutes, or even the first Glen Ellis, N.H., in the category for lo-ing to the more challenging questions. Thislowing is told to leave the park because ofhour or two (after you find out about a cri- cations with 225 or more sites sequence of questions also provides oppor- poor behavior and then attacks the park onsis) are the most critical, Ritter said. YouDan OConnell Service Award:Sean Vidrine, who co-owns and oper-ates Jellystone Park locations in Pittsfield, Ill.; Monticello, Iowa and Mansfield, Pa. Special Recognition Awards:Rookie of the Year, owners: BJ and Jenn Davis, New Douglas, Ill., Jellystone ParkRookie of the Year, managers: Kaycee Butt, of Columbus North Jellystone Park, and Kyle Mohler, of Tyler, Texas, Jellystone Park Happy Camper Award: Tabor City, N.C. Landscaping Award: Barton Lake, Ind., Jellystone Park Retail Store Award: Pittsfield, Ill., and Tabor City, N.C. Comfort Station Awards: Bath, N.Y.; Cale-donia, Wisc.; Eureka, Miss.; Fredericksburg, Texas; Madison, Maine; Niagara Falls, Ontario; Pittsfield, Ill.; Plymouth, Ind.; Sioux Falls, S. D.; South Haven, Mich.; and Tyler, Texas. WebsiteAward:Akron-CantonJelly-stone Park in Uniontown, Ohio Brochure Design Award: Glen Ellis, N.H., Jellystone Park Club Yogi Rewards Award: Tyler, Texas, Jellystone Park FacilityTheming/BrandingAward: Caledonia, Wisc., Jellystone Park Rental Units Award: Golden Valley Jelly-stone Park in Bostic, N.C. TopPerformers:Asheboro,N.C.; Delaware Beaches, Del.; Glen Ellis, N.H.; Pouch Cove, Newfoundland Next years Symposium is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 in Knoxville, Tenn. WCM32 January 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine"