Thursday, March 21, 2019
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20190306 ActDirAppreciation IMG 3369Activity directors carry the wrong title. It's not inaccurate, per se, but it doesn't truly reflect the scope of their many duties are – kind of like being a mom.

Something more to the effect of Super-uber-non-stop-movers-and-shakers and lifeblood of their park seems a little more accurate.

But that sure would take up a lot of space on those little name tags they wear.

Robert and Billie Ferguson have previously been activity directors for more than a decade. Robert has been the RGV Activity Director Association's president for 10 of the past 12 years. He and his wife Billie know first-hand how much time and effort goes into being an activity director, the honest-to-goodness lifeblood of any Winter Texan resort. As an expression of appreciation for all the hard work performed day after day by activity directors, they organized the first annual Activity Director's Appreciation Day, which was held Friday, March 1 at Southern Comfort RV Resort in Weslaco.

20190306 ActDirAppreciation IMG 3580More than 100 activity directors and park managers attended the party to thank those who spend their time organizing the goings-on at their respective parks.

“We just wanted to recognize the activity directors and show appreciation for them,” Robert said. “Nobody really knows all the things that they do, except for them. And a good activity director is critical to the success of any park.”

A star-studded entertainment lineup gave the directors an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the performers they spend many hours trying to book for their residents.

Entertainers included Helen Russell and Co., Mr. Pickpocket Gene Turner, Rusty Rierson, Dave & Daphne and Spittin' Image. The entertainers all expressed their appreciation for the activity directors as well, as they provided many laughs and great entertainment. Most of the entertainers were named entertainers of the year for their respective categories at the recent Valley Star Awards Show, which recognizes the best of the best Wintertainers™ who perform in the Rio Grande Valley.

20190306 ActDirAppreciation IMG 3523The entertainers enjoyed performing together for the celebration, joking back and forth with one another. After Dave Salyer (of Dave and Daphne) performed a standing-ovation electrifying version of Charlie Daniels' “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” on guitar, Brian Swabb, one half of the twin brother musical comedy act said “that wasn't bad Dave, maybe with a few more years practice you’ll learn how to play guitar.” Salyer quickly barbed back “make a CD.”

Robert Ferguson said the entertainers volunteered their time for the event and added he could have lined up 20 more entertainers, all wanting to show their thanks and appreciation for the tremendous work of the activity directors.

20190306 ActDirAppreciation IMG 3375The day definitely gave activity directors and all those in attendance a relaxing escape from the rigors of daily activity-directing.

“We decided just to throw a party and appreciate all those involved,” said Ferguson, who is stepping down as president of the association, but promised to stay involved with other events. “We’re not going away,” he said.

He and Billie will continue to coordinate the two Winter Texan entertainers’ showcases where about 30-35 entertainers audition at each event and are given nine minutes to try and impress the hundreds of activity and/or entertainment directors in attendance with hopes of getting bookings for the following year. The event has been an annual hit and a great resource for activity directors as they search for great entertainment for their parks and resorts.

The Winter Texan Times co-sponsored the free luncheon for the Activity Director Appreciation Day event, along with the Activity Director Association and other sponsors. Dozens and dozens of door prizes were given away and the Fergusons made sure no one went away empty-handed.

20190306 ActDirAppreciation FRED IMG 2902Jim Brunson, publisher of the Winter Texan Times, also expressed his appreciation for the resort activity directors. Recognizing the tremendous amount of hard work they put in as they plan, organize and carry out activities for their park residents. “You are the heart and soul of the parks,” Brunson said. “We appreciate all that you do to make the winters fun and enjoyable for our Winter Texan friends.”

Robert Ferguson said Activity Directors Appreciation Day will be held March 1 each year and encouraged all park residents to express their appreciation to their activity directors for all the hard work they do.

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