Amazing job by our teens

After being a business owner in Vancouver for more than 10 years, I am continually amazed at how different it is to be an entrepreneur in Penticton. This past Easter Monday, LocoLanding hosted our 4th Annual Easter Fun Day – and it was a perfect example of the unbelievable generosity and community spirit that we are so fortunate to have in Penticton. We are truly a community that comes together to lend a hand, jump in with two feet and have FUN together!

Teens from Pen-hi's Grade 9 Leadership class stuffed our 10,000 eggs.

Teens from Pen-hi’s Grade 9 Leadership class stuffed our 10,000 eggs.

Over 1500 people came to LocoLanding and everyone was patient, respectful and generous to ensure fun was had for all.  The event was possible because so many local businesses donated their time and resources namely: Investors Group, Britco, DPA, MarketPlace IGA, SS Sicamous, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Tony’s Meats, Spitfires Athletic Club, Fitkidz, Glo SUP, A&W, Burger55, Penticton Recreation Centre, Investors Group, Landmark, London Drugs, MTF, Purdy’s Chocolates, Riverside Fitness, Riverside Pharmasave, Denny’s, Sun Country Bowl, True Outdoors, Classic Guitars, Andy’s Animal Acres, Jake Evans and our local community radio station So Country. Our amazing entertainment was generously donated by Mama Yay of the SuperCooligans band.

The biggest thank you is for our teens in Penticton. Over 70 teens donated their time – either through egg stuffing from the Grade 9 Penticton High School Leadership Class – or through volunteering at the 18 Easter activity stations – or from our LocoLanding employees that worked for free so that 100% of the proceeds could go to the OSNS Child Development Centre. We are proud to say that almost $6000 was raised for this fantastic local centre. A huge thank you to Cara Garnett, from OSNS, who was instrumental in the organization and event execution.

With my sincerest appreciation, thank you to our amazing teens, our generous businesses and our FUN families. You truly make this the best place to live!


EGG-cited! LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt April 6th

We love this time of year at LocoLanding! Not only are we getting excited about opening on April 3rd but we’re getting ready for our 5th Annual LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt which will be held on Easter Monday, April 6th.

Date:  April 6 2015 (Easter Monday)
Time: 11:00-2:00
Tickets: Purchased at the event
Cost: $5 donation per child

Each year gets better and better! Ongoing easter egg hunt with eggs spread throughout the park and the S.S.Sicamous boat. PLUS many activity and craft stations and a special appearance by the Easter bunny! 100% of proceeds go to the OSNS Child Development Center in Penticton.

– Easter craft stations like colour your own easter frame, make bunny ears etc.
– Activity stations with games
– Ongoing Easter Egg Hunt
– Easter Bunny handing out eggs (yes, you can have your photo taken with him!)
– Hotdog sale
– And some LocoLanding activities will be open at discounted prices (due to park renovations we may not have all activities open this early)

This fun community event is for your children with 100% of proceeds going to charity. So if you have ideas or suggestions please let me know. We want to continue to make this all about Easter Fun!

RSVP: on our Facebook Event Page so we know our numbers!

Thank you!

I am (kind of) shocked that as I write this blog post I realize my last one was early June. Without a doubt, when we enter our season – the onsite customer experience & safety is ALL we think about. We spend very little time in the office and all of our time in the park. We love meeting all the amazing families that come to LocoLanding and spending time getting to know them. We are focused on our 55 staff ensuring they are properly equipped to do the best possible job they can. We are focused on the safety and continual maintenance and up-keep at LocoLanding. And we are focused on constantly evaluating what we can do better for next year.

As I put up our closed sign I took time to reflect on the past year. And I smiled.

I was proud of our staff. Our teenagers continued to exceed expectations – many times over. For us, this is what we expect. For others it blows them away. I can’t tell you the number of times we had customers ask to speak to us to relay how impressed they were with our teens. Some even had tears of appreciation in their eyes when they described the experience their family was having. Our staff make LocoLanding what it is. Without a doubt.

I was proud that we took a risk. (and relieved!). This year we brought in our ninth attraction – the SkyTrek Ropes Course. Whenever you make a large investment in a business you are nervous, scared, doubtful. It doesn’t matter how much planning and research you do, you won’t know until your customer responds. And it was positive. So positive. Now we look forward to what we’ll do in 2015 (2014 is about reinvesting in the bones of the park, adding some cool things to the mini-golf course, purchasing new karts).

I was proud that we stayed true to our vision. We have always made a conscious effort to do things differently than the typical industry standards for Amusement Parks. We do this because we ARE different. For instance:
– Our value: we have concession profit margins far below industry standards for a reason. We feel that if you get an extra $2 for a hotdog simply because you can (due to a captive market) then our customer will feel ‘ripped off’ in the rest of the park (know the movie theatre feeling). Exceeding expectations across every single aspect of our business is what we focus on – and hopefully we continue to hit the mark. And if not, we appreciate you letting us know.
– Our staff: we use an online schedule software program that allows our staff to have complete flexibility in their summer. If they have a concert they want to go to, a family vacation or a big soccer tournament – we want to ensure they can. Our staff manage their time – and in exchange for that we have very few instances where staff aren’t on time for their shift. And they aren’t forced to give up a passion or precious family time in the summer.
– Our community: we believe that in our off-sesason we should do whatever we can to support our local community. Two of our most successful programs (Annual Easter Egg Hunt and our Annual Grade 3 Food for Fun) saw thousands donated to local charities. And we have two new community programs we’ll be launching next year!

And now, it’s time to think about all the areas we can improve on and what we can do better. Thank you for your support this year – we look forward to seeing everyone in 2014!!

Happy Birthday, Jack!

If you’ve ever wondered who our #1 fan is – it’s Jack.

Jack & his sisters after his Birthday game of golf!

Jack visits the park once or twice a day for his mini-golf game and *sometimes* goes out for a spin on our bumper boats. We truly look forward to Jack’s daily visit – his smile is contagious and his love for LocoLanding is heart-warming. What I appreciate the most though is how he is a part of our family here – our teens always greet him with a big smile and a “Hi Jack!”

So to our Jack – thank you for making all of us smile! Happy Birthday, buddy!

The Heart of Teens

Leadership Students from PenHi lending a hand.

I’ve always believed that teens get a bad rap in communities. I’ve heard people say teens don’t have values anymore, they are too distracted by technology, too connected to devices, not aware… and I always say “Not in Penticton!”

Not only do we have almost fifty teen staff at the heart of our business – but with our recent LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt we asked teens to help in all aspects of this charity event. And once again, I was impressed. Some highlights include:

1. 40 grade nine students from the Leadership Program at Penticton Secondary High School met at 7AM to place chocolate into each of the 10,000 easter eggs used at the event.
2. 35 teens volunteered their time to assist at the event – of those were 11 of our LocoLanding staff.
3. Our faithful Easter Bunny was a past LocoLanding staff member who really made the children’s faces light up!
4. At one point I needed additional hands and pulled in two teens that were participating with their younger sibling. They immediately rolled up their sleeves, without hesitation.

They all showed up on time, with a big smile on their face and truly made this event – they gave it ‘community’ spirit. They weren’t on their phones, they weren’t too busy, they weren’t distracted – they were present. And they should all be thanked and held up as a reflection of what this generation is truly like.

Teens will surprise you.  You have to believe in them AND empower them so they can truly rise to occasion. I challenge other businesses to find opportunity for teens – not only does it make us a more connected community but it gives them the ability to grow their skill set through hands on experience.

I would also like to thank the businesses that made this event possible: SuperStore, Investors Group and Chris Hawkins,  Home Hardware, ValleyFirst, IGA Marketplace, Morpheus Graphics, FitKidz Gymnastics, S.S.Sicamous, our event organizer Kelly Hall, Camelia Vokey, Miss Teen Okanagan World Amy Piquette, the volunteers from OSNS, and our fantastic entertainer Mat Duffus 100% of the proceeds benefited OSNS Child Development Center.

Always Learning & Growing

Our new Sky Trek Ropes Course trainees with RCI's Amie Murphy.

One of the keys to business success, I believe, is choosing people to do business with that you truly believe in. People that you could see yourself being ‘friends’ with because of their outlook on life, their care and attention to their products, the importance they place on their customers. Without exception, we’ve had that experience with RCI, the manufacture of our new Sky Trek Ropes Course. And meeting another one of RCI’s team members today once again reinforced our decision.

Today was Day 1 of our three-day training, where high-energy Amie Murphy trained our new Ropes Course staff (and Dustin & I). We knew we’d learn in more detail the topics covered in our 120 page manual in order to safely operate this new amazing attraction. What we didn’t expect was the passion behind the brand. Amie, who’s been with the company from early on, loves her company and her job! And that’s because the company is so focused on quality and safety. Words like redundancy, procedure and responsibility were used over and over.

At RCI you won’t find ONE of anything – everything is doubled for redundancy – for the ultimate in safety. And we couldn’t be more confident in our decision to invest in the best – a company that puts it’s priority where it should be, instead of on the ‘stuff’ that so many companies get distracted by.

Amie said something today that aligns exactly with LocoLanding – their company is always learning and growing in order to be even better. And that’s exactly what has made LocoLanding the amazing place it is. We’re also always learning and growing, always reinvesting, to bring you the ultimate experience. Plus we have a TON of fun doing it!! (Just like our new partner, RCI).

(PS: We’ll be practicing Emergency Take Downs tomorrow after 5PM- will be quite the sight if you want to watch from outside the gates!)

High-level Ropes Course

An adrenaline rush like no other! Experience our obstacle course in the SKY!

Inspections and Training!

Kurt inspecting every single component of our Ropes Course.

We finished building the Ropes Course last week – it was 6 days of intense and exhausting work by the crew of Solara Homes. These guys, who are used to heavy lifting and building, were crashing by 9PM! We believe it’s pretty indicative of how exhilarating it is to be SKY HIGH at LocoLanding!

Before the course can officially open we have to pass two final critical elements:
1. Course Inspection
2. Course Training

Kurt from Michigan flew up this past week to inspect every single bolt, washer and piece of the course (there were 4804 pieces & over 1613′ of rope). We were VERY happy to learn that even Kurt was impressed by our work. Kurt was a fantastic guy, and very interesting too! He’s been on sixty different planes in the last two months inspecting Ropes Courses all over the world. His last inspection was for the tallest course yet, at over 85′, which is located inside a mall. As everyone that visits Penticton, Kurt fell in love with our wine country and the beauty of the area.

The Course Training will start this week – 3 days of intensive training where our eight new teen staff will be mastering ETD’s in under two minutes. One month ago I had no idea what an ETD was (!) and by the end of this week we’ll all be skilled in it.  It’s Emergency Take Downs which means we need to be able to get someone off the course safely should they freeze or have an emergency. We are looking forward to meeting Amie, who will fly in from Michigan, to train us. So if you take a drive by this week and see a number of teens climbing around the Ropes Course you’ll know why! Don’t they have the BEST jobs ever?!

How much rope is enough?

Can you guess how many feet of rope we'll be using?

Our Sky Trek Ropes Course is almost finished! We’re on Day 5 of installation and today when you walk by, you’ll see that we are adding each of the ROPE ELEMENTS.

Each element includes a different ropes configuration such as bridges, tight ropes, loops and balance beams. Each ropes obstacle will challenge your strength, balance and agility.  Seriously FUN!

We asked our manufacture how much rope we’ll be stringing up today… and their answer shocked us! Take a guess at how many feet we’ll be stringing!

Thousands of little things really add up!

Our Sky Trek Ropes Course arrived on a truck all the way from Michigan this week! It took 36 hours of travel time over 5 days, rolling into the LocoLanding parking lot at 6AM. Mike, the harley-driving-avid-photographer-really-great-guy-truck-driver, was a bit taken a back by our excitement when it arrived!

Our course is manufactured by Ropes Courses Inc. While our course is massive to us, they have done MUCH larger courses including most recently one on top of a cruise ship where their “walk-the-plank” actually has customers walking out over the ocean, 13+ stories above! Even though we are small(er) this company has been fantastic to work with. And when I asked today for the exact number of parts they shipped, it only took their amazing Marketing Guru Shawn less than 3 hours to wrangle the teams to figure out the answer!

They counted the number columns, overheads, platforms, elements, nuts, bolts and widgets.

They shipped 4,807 pieces!

And it’s our job to put them together, piece by piece, based on their very detailed plans. The result will be the first Ropes Course installation in BC and Penticton is EXCITED! These 4807 pieces will push people beyond their limits, challenge their greatest fears, bring teams together, and will create so many memories!