July 2013

The fun of the Front Office

By Steph

Being a part of the front office team at a dude ranch makes for some great stories. We love to help people, and we get regular opportunities to serve our guests face to face, on the phone and via email. But, while most of these interactions are not news worthy, I have started to think we should write a book about the more interesting, humorous or touching moments that we do share with people.

Before I begin to attempt a book about dude ranching (maybe during retirement?) I wanted to share a few memorable experiences we’ve had in the past couple weeks.

Alaya’s egg salad

The fax machine started beeping. Alaya steps to the machine to retrieve the incoming fax. And there she finds an order for 300 pounds of egg salad. Apparently, someone thought our food looks good enough that they wanted to order some to go? Definitely a first for us, and although we pride ourselves in finding our way to “yes”, in this case we had to find our way to “no”.

A special overseas friend

I spend a lot of time on email each day. But, every once in a while I receive one that gave me pause. The other day, I received the most lovely note from a woman overseas. She wrote that we had corresponded 7 or 8 years ago, and that she had never forgotten the place or stopped dreaming about coming here. She not only remembered my name and the fact that I had been helpful to her all those years ago, but she has been following the ranch ever since. In that time she was married and subsequently went through a bitter divorce. All through that, she has kept the ranch on her bucket list and was starting to dream about coming back. This email turned into a wonderful back and forth as we explored the idea of making this dream a reality as well as learning about her and her life work and experiences. Lucky us to have those kinds of interactions with people all over the world.

Scuba diving

Every now and then we’ll receive an email that makes us wonder, “Was this a joke?” The one asking the whether there is scuba diving offered anywhere near the ranch definitely fit in that category. I’m not sure what you’d find if you tried to scuba dive at Steamboat Lake, but we’re guessing there aren’t any hidden coral reefs.

Real Housewifes of Vista Verde

As I was wrapping up this blog post, the phone rang. A director from one of the Real Housewives series was looking for a ranch to take the wives. They wanted to get them out of their element. Yep, this would be the place to do that. But, as luck would have it, we are full when they wanted to come out. I can only imagine what it might have looked like to have them here……

So, we may not have stories of chasing cows or hiking to new peaks, but we do still have a little fun here at the front office of Vista Verde.

Filthy, Sobbing Kids

By Steph

This summer is a unique one for me. For the first time, my children are joining the kid’s program at Vista Verde. In the past, they may have tagged along with a babysitter overseeing them. But this year, they are jumping in with their little cowgirl boots and jeans. The past two weeks have been an amazing eye opener for me. Here is what I have learned:

1) The kid’s program at Vista Verde is amazing. Yes, I always knew that, and always sang the praises to potential guests. But, I now believe it with such intensity, that I am not just singing, but singing in tune.

2) The kid wranglers are saints. I could actually say this about anyone who works with children. The patience, energy, kindness and did I mention patience that they practice on a minute by minute basis is unbelievable.

3) Horses really are a kids best friend. Here my girls have grown up around horses, but I am once again reminded about the power of forming a relationship with a horse. I have a note sitting on my desk to Eight Ball from a little girl that drives this point home as well. I’ll share that one later.

4) A filthy, sobbing child is the kind of child we can all hope for at the end of a good day. My girls were so dirty yesterday afternoon, that the tear streaks from their sobbing left tracks like war paint. They traded off the crying, falling on the ground in a heap, kicking the back of the car seat all the way home and screaming in the shower as we attempted to remove some of the acquired dirt. Yes, I needed a therapy session afterwards, but I knew it was a sign of an absolutely amazing day at Vista Verde. Tomorrow I just need earplugs and a pre-game cocktail. In fact, maybe that is something we should provide all our guests who come with children?

My kids have no idea how lucky they are to be able to be a part of something so amazing all summer long. For those of you gearing up for your trip, just know the fun factory awaits your little ones. Bring on the dirt!