Casey Picillo, middle, performs in one of Fair Hills Tuesday night hootenanny's. The song and dance routine is put on by the entire staff of the Minnesota resort and is claimed to be one of the favorite activities by staff and guests alike. Casey Picillo // Photo Provided
Intern Spotlight: Family-owned summer camp inspires Ball State student's future plans
Editor's note: Intern Spotlight is a Ball State Daily News series profiling Ball State students and their summer internships. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Casey Picillo was looking for a summer internship she applied to as many as she could, but one caught her interest more than others.
It was a recreation internship at Fair Hills resort in Minnesota. After originally opening on Minnesota’s Pelican Lake in 1906, the resort was purchase by the Kaldahl family 20 years later and has been under their ownership ever since.
“They keep passing it on to their kids and it’s like the fourth generation owning it right now,” Picillo said. “I liked that atmosphere rather than a big corporate company. This one caught my interest and the work sounded fun because I enjoy working with kids a lot and spending time with them.”
As an intern, the senior hospitality and food management major works directly with children ranging from 4 to 8 years old.
Families stay at the resort for a week at a time, so it’s her job to take the kids through activities like scavenger hunts, slide and slides down a golf hill and treasure hunts around the camp. While many of the activities are the same every week, Picillo said the different children that come through the camp keep her job exciting.
“You don’t really get days off, so it’s exhausting, but really fun,” she said. “The kids bring different personalities and it seems different and unique every week.”
While the families change every week, some of them have been coming to the family-owned resort for years. After all, your 50th year is free.
With the strong base of returning customers, the families enjoy the traditional aspects of the resort.
One of those is a Tuesday night hootenanny, where the entire staff hosts a performance for everyone staying at the resort. Picillo said the “dirty dancing-esque” performance is one of her, and the family’s personal favorite activities.
“I had never heard of [a hootenanny] before I got our here,” Picillo said. “Once all of the staff gets here, we practice a bunch of dances and songs and we put on this huge performance for the guests. ... The hootenanny is quite a big deal for the people who come.”
After the skits, songs and dances are over, the entire staff will jump in the lake, it’s just one of the traditions that Fair Hills employees participate in every week.
As her internship comes to an end, working at one of Travel and Leisure’s best all-inclusive resorts, Picillo said that it would be something she would be interested in doing in the future.
“I think working at any kind of resort, more like a summer resort, is something that I would love to do in the future,” she said. “A recreation director for the entire thing, I think that is something that I would love to do in the future. … This is what I’m enjoying a lot and I’m hoping that this internship will help me secure that role in the future.”