By Jane Van Berkum on May 16th, 2012
It is so exciting at our Colorado dude ranch located in the southern Rockies when the staff start arriving for the new season.
We have a guest capacity of around sixty at our all-inclusive family vacation ranch, and thus we need a staff of around thirty, plus the four of us. This year we are expecting thirty-two staff members altogether– fun, dynamic people from all over the country with a shared goal: to work on a ranch in the mountains, or some variation thereof. We have a strong contingent of staff from Georgia this summer which will be fun; we’ve always enjoyed our southern crews. And each staff member has been handpicked by Linda after exhaustive interviews and dedicated reference checking. They not only contribute so much to the ranch and we certainly couldn’t do it without them–but they are also wonderful role models and quality people which is what we want at our dude ranch. Certainly our guests always remark upon our staff and how they “restore their faith in young people.”
These sunny spring days before our season begins on May 27th are filled with getting to know one another, hard work and laughter. This summer will impact each of us in various ways–and not the least Doug and Linda, David and myself to whom the staff are a vital part of our lifestyle. And our children, who are enjoying getting to know all these new big brothers and sisters as well as welcoming back our super returnees.
So. together, we all put the ranch back together after a long winter’s rest. Cleaning is “Linda clean” which means super, Dutch clean. She always says “Just because it is old doesn’t mean it can’t be clean.” And she means it–staff say they never stay in a hotel the same way again after having learned to clean the “Linda way!” Everything is unwrapped and cleaned and put in it’s place in the magnificent Lodge–which itself has been cleaned by hand using scaffolding and lots of Liquid Gold Wood Preservative. The cabins are restored to their pristine, cozy summer state and everything on the ranch is given attention and a good spring cleaning: the pool, the Rec Room, the Hot Tub, each inch of the kitchen… Soon the grounds will be raked and all the piles hauled off. The saddles will be oiled. The horses will be brought up and shod and ridden. Each and everything will be gone over.
And we’ll all have such fun while we do it–and when the guests get here a whole different kind of fun begins. After all, the guests are the reason we do all that we do!