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Serenity Staff Spotlight with Elizabeth

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Here at Serenity Springs, we’re proud to have a tight-knit team keeping the place running. A couple of our employees have been with us for 10+ years. Our first of two spotlights focuses on Elizabeth M., a long-time employee at Serenity Springs. You may know her from speaking to her over the phone, greeting her at the office, or receiving her assistance at your cabin. Below, check out some of Elizabeth’s most memorable moments and why she’s made Serenity Springs her home away from home.

1. How long have you worked at Serenity Springs?

My first day was July 6, 2006, I think. Definitely July 2006.

2. Over a decade is a long time. What’s made you stick around?

I’d say the family atmosphere. We’re not blood-related, but it feels like a family atmosphere. It's rare to find that in other places of work. There’s just a handful of us here so we have become really close.

3. Can you tell me what your first job was when you came to Serenity Springs?

I started here as a housekeeper. I actually didn’t mean to apply here — I wasn’t looking for a job at the time. I was just being nosy while coming home from a friend’s house on July 4th weekend, and I saw this road and thought, “What’s down that road?” I’d grown up nearby — actually on the land behind Serenity Springs, though that was before Rich and Laura bought the property — but I didn’t remember having seen that road before.

So I went down the road and saw it was a business. I drove up and was like, “What am I doing here?” Because it wasn’t a convenience store or anything. Then I actually walked in, and the first thing that I thought to say was, “Do you have an application?” And then once I finished the application, I turned it in, and I started working there the next day. I’ve always kind of thought it was fate.

4. What are some of your current day-to-day tasks?

We’re all cross-trained in all aspects, so we each can do a lot of different tasks. I generally work on the reservations desk, handle guest relations, and do some light maintenance, especially on weekends. If a tub handle comes loose, I’ll come fix it. I do a little bit of everything. Today, for instance, I participated in a meeting with Dish Network to get some ideas about upgrading our network of TVs here.

There are some tasks that my co-worker Connie and I exclusively handle, because we have a general knowledge base of Serenity, since we have grown with the business for so many years. I tend to handle a lot of the communication, like the emails, Facebook private messages, things like that.

5. What do you enjoy most about working at Serenity Springs?

I’m the type of person who enjoys working in an ever-changing environment.  And time-wise, whether I’m working a five- or 14-hour day, it’s different every minute here. That means I don’t have a set office — I’ll be sitting at the reservations desk, then standing by the lake, rescuing an injured bird. I get to do so many fun things!

I also love the feeling of seeing a guest come in exhausted from general adult responsibilities one day, then leave rested, relaxed, and restored, after a night or two here. We cater to couples needing to reconnect with one another and to individuals who just need a little serenity in their life. We have also noticed an increase in mother/daughter getaways and "girlfriends" retreats. Everyone deserves a little serenity.

6. Why do you think what Serenity does is important?

We’re in the business of encouraging connections and relaxation in a romantic atmosphere. People don’t realize how stressed they are from work or that it’s okay to take a break from the kids. But when people check out, they can’t believe how relaxed they are.

I think more people need to hear, “You don’t need to feel bad. You can take a break from work and the kids.” People need to get away — they need that break on the weekends. It gives you a chance to clear your mind, to freshen up.

7. Which cabin is your favorite?

I actually have three favorites. My absolute favorite is Cabin 17, the Twilight Cabin. It’s the first one I ever stayed in. It has a channel view, plus there’s romantic lighting from the beams, and I just like the whole color scheme.

I also love Cabin 36, the Ski Lodge. It’s really private, and Laura did an amazing job with the decor. And my newest favorite is Cabin 12, the Congo. It’s a premium cabin located on the channel near the clubhouse. I really like the interior décor and secluded feel of this cabin’s location.

8. Fondest memory while working here?

I have two favorite guest stories...Karen and Chuck Huff have been coming to Serenity since we first opened. I’m comfortable even saying they were probably two of the first 100 guests to have stayed with us. Through the years we have become really close. They are more than just "guests” now — they are family to the rest of the staff and me. Karen enjoys bringing us treats and goodies from a local bakery in Lafayette, Indiana (where they’re from), and we enjoy eating them. During their most recent visit, I was having car trouble, and Chuck and Karen insisted I drive their truck home so that I could get back to work safely. I appreciated the generous offer and almost took them up on it. Thankfully, I was able to quickly "band aid" the problem and get my car fixed properly the following Monday.

Noel (AKA Captain Butterfly-Noel) and Alyssa Meyer have also become close friends of mine and Serenity’s. They drive approximately six hours to visit us from Ohio. Noel started visiting us years ago because he enjoyed fishing. He would come alone and fish from sun up and sundown. We gave him the name “Captain Butterfly” because he was staying in the butterfly cabin and is an Ohio police officer. While at home in Ohio, he met his now wife Alyssa. There was no other place he would think to bring her. They were in love with each other and Serenity Springs. So much so, they planned to have a small "elopement" wedding here (we have a vow renewal/elopement package available). I was personally invited to their small wedding, and wouldn't have missed it for the world (I came in on my day off to participate).

I have two other favorite memories of working here, not counting the guest stories. The first one is that my boyfriend and I met here, near the time that I began working at Serenity. He has known the Ostergren family for several years, was a part-time employee here, and was actually fishing on the property the first time I saw him. I’ll never forget that day. We’ve been together 11 years, so we definitely benefit from some Serenity once in awhile.

My other favorite memory relates to more recently — I lost my dad a few weeks ago. He was sick almost all of 2017. The Serenity staff, Laura, and Rich supported me in a way I never expected them to. I took 18 days with no notice, and it was fine with them. They took care of things and filled in for all my shifts. Rich and Laura brought pizza to hospice so we’d have something to eat, only hours before my daddy passed. The majority of the staff showed up at funeral. I needed them at that time, and they were there. I’ll forever be grateful for having such a wonderful work family and friends.

Katie Huffaker