April 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter April 2023 | Herschend Enterprise Newsletter

Autism Awareness Month

This Autism Awareness Month, we’re highlighting a few ways Herschend and our properties are working to become more accessible.

The team at the Property Support Center is updating the guest-facing mobile application system to include accessible walking directions; locations of calming spaces, quiet zones, and wheelchair rentals; filters to show menu items and food service locations that can accommodate dietary needs; among many others. See it in action by downloading Dollywood’s new mobile application, which is currently testing some of these features.

Adventure Aquarium prides itself on supporting community awareness events like the Philadelphia Eagles’ Huddle Up for Autism and holding regular sensory-friendly F.I.S.H. Nights (Family Inclusive Sensory Hours). The aquarium also recently became a certified sensory-inclusive venue through KultureCity. The Aquarium also offers free sensory bag rentals that include helpful tools such as noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and verbal cue cards.

Silver Dollar City opened its first calming space last spring in partnership with its healthcare sponsor, Mercy. The calming space is designed to soothe guests with sensory processing disorders and includes comforting colors, soft seating, low lighting, books, sensory toys, and a “crash pad.” This space has been so well received that the park is building a second location with Mercy that will open in the southwest section of The City later this spring.

Callaway Gardens

A Love (in Action) Story

“I wanted to share a heartwarming story about love in action that happened recently at Callaway. It's a beautiful example of how small acts of kindness can make a significant impact on someone's life. One of our team members, Alayna Cato, was in need of a prom dress and the only appointment available was on a day when she didn't have transportation. Diane, another team member, didn't hesitate to offer her help and took Alayna to the Hope Center in Hamilton to find her the perfect dress.

But Diane's kindness didn't stop there. She also arranged for a hairdresser to do Alayna's hair and paid for it out of her own pocket, along with Chef Heather and a couple of others. Chef Destiny even offered to do Alayna's makeup for the special night.

As if that wasn't enough, the team members at Piedmont Restaurant decided to go the extra mile and invite Alayna and Isaiah, another team member who also needed a tuxedo, and their guests for dinner on the night of prom. They made sure to make it a special evening for them, full of love and support.

This story is a beautiful example of how a team members can come together to support one another. It shows that love is not just a feeling; it's an action that can make a difference in someone's life. We hope this story inspires you to spread love, too!" - Sonny Horton, Callaway Gardens & Resort VP & General Manager

Find Your Dream Career Right Here!

Our commitment to creating memories worth repeating starts from within – find a rewarding career here at Herschend! Check out available positions across Herschend by clicking the link below. For those looking to unlock their potential or learn a new skill, check out GROW U., our free tuition program.

Career Opportunities
Free Tuition Program
HFE Corp | Current Job Opportunities HFE Corp | Current Job Opportunities
HFE Benefits | Employee Assistance Program HFE Benefits | Employee Assistance Program

Employee Assistant Program (EAP)

Help Is At Your Fingertips

Did you know that our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you in addition to the benefits provided with your MetLife insurance coverage? This program provides easy-to-use services to help with the everyday challenges of life — at no cost to you.

The program’s experienced counselors, provided through LifeWorks, can talk to you about anything going on in your life 24/7 / 365, including: Balancing work and life, stress and anxiety, losing a loved one, legal or financial issues, family, marital, and relationship challenges.

Access services by clicking the below link.
username: herschendeap
password: eap

Access EAP
Share It Forward

Share It Forward

The Callaway and Share It Forward teams worked hard to launch services for the property. It was especially timely as a dangerous storm ripped through the area in late March. Several people came alongside team members who were affected, including this grateful host…

"We can't thank Callaway, Herschend and Share it Forward enough …you can't imagine how helpful it was. Thank you especially for your prayers for us. We feel them every day. We have many folks to thank, but you guys at Callaway/Herschend are number one at the top of our list. God bless you all."

Share It Forward is there for you and your fellow employees during natural disasters, but also in many smaller ways through child assistance, life skills training, and other emergency and hardship needs.

If you or someone you know could use a little extra support, please request assistance here or find out more about our programs.

Property News

Herschend Happenings

Adventure Aquarium

Super-Sized Sand Sculptures

Adventure Aquarium just wrapped up its latest festival, Super-Sized Sand Sculptures, which featured five larger-than-life sand sculptures created by local sand sculptor Matt Long and his team of expert sculptors. The sculptures, which made for the perfect photo ops, featured some of the Aquarium’s most beloved animals, including a hammerhead shark, octopus, penguin, hippos, sea turtles, stingrays, and more!

Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay

Kingdom Madness

Kentucky Kingdom hosted a Kingdom Madness-themed series on their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout March and early April. The March Madness-inspired posts called for social media followers to vote for the best of 16 Kentucky Kingdom rides through polling. Ultimately, the winner (to no one's surprise) was Storm Chaser – a long-time crowd favorite! Plus, one lucky participant received 4 Gold Season Passes. Kingdom Madness garnered a lot of engagement online and momentum going into National Amusement Park Day on April 13. Their staff and social media followers are dually enthusiastic about this holiday marking one month until opening day!

Ozark Mountain Country

A Celebrated Citizen

While celebrating Outlaw Run’s 10th anniversary, we should also take the time to celebrate a host whose name and face are synonymous with the ride itself, Joe Wendel. Joe has spent nine of Outlaw Run’s 10 seasons at the ride. He currently serves as the Team Lead at Outlaw Run, where he has spent a total of six seasons in this position. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who knows more and is more passionate about that ride than Joe.

Joe was hired at Outlaw Run in June 2013. He was, and still is to this day, a die-hard coaster enthusiast. Joe’s favorite thing about Outlaw Run is the fact that it was the first wood Coaster to have multiple inversions. When asked about what he enjoys most when seeing guests after riding Outlaw Run, he said, “I love seeing the guest being blown away by how crazy the ride is after they get back.”

Harlem Globetrotters

Play It Forward Wins Big

Keith Dawkins accepted two Cynopsis Sports Media Awards on Tuesday on behalf of the Harlem Globetrotters for “Social Good TV Special or Episode” and “ Best Platform Geared to Diverse Sports Interest and Athletes”.

Cynopsis Media is the who’s who online trade publication across television, media, digital, and sports TV industries. The industry-focused publication is circulated each morning to industry leaders and executives on the daily news breaking in the industry.  

Secondly, our fierce women players of the Harlem Globetrotters appeared on the “Tamron Hall Show” earlier this month. Mighty, TNT, Torch, Ace, and Ice came together on national television to share our focus on and strength of women in the league. It was a celebration of our female players and what they can do! That appearance aired nationally on Monday, April 24th.

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