Opportunity and Growth: Carlyn’s Hersheypark Story
During the summertime I pretty much live and breathe at Hersheypark. If you ask anyone where I work, they can instantly tell you that I have spent my summers at the Park. As the applications for the Hersheypark 2017 summer season are posted, I am reminded of when I first applied to work in the Park and how far I have come since that summer in 2013.
Throughout my first summer I quickly learned not only how to be a more confident person but also how to better handle myself in stressful situations; be it a fryer overflowing or a long line of guests. I also began to lean what the Milton Hershey legacy truly meant: to own, anticipate, delight and inspire through every action that you do.
In my second summer I was promoted to a team leader in the food and beverage catering department. Being a team leader was my first look at what it was like to supervise other employees. I quickly learned what the Milton Hershey legacy meant in leading other people: I had to own my work, anticipate what might happen throughout the day, delight not only guests but also other employees, and most importantly I began to truly inspire others to fulfill the Milton Hershey Legacy.
During my third summer I began to realize just how much working at Hersheypark had truly affected how I am as a person; I had grown much more confident as both a person and supervisor. One time that comes to mind was during a particularly hard day…it had been pouring down rain, several people did not come to work making the department short staffed, the list goes on and on. Anything that could have gone wrong that day seemed to be going wrong. However I was able to own the work I was doing in order to delight guests and inspire my employees to step-up to make it through the day, even though it may have been having a bad day behind the scenes, the guest experience never suffered.
Just before my fourth summer I was promoted to building supervisor, and one of the most important parts of this position is training other employees. The most fulfilling moment I have had throughout my time at Hersheypark was watching those I trained get promoted themselves; being able to watch them grow and change not only as an employee but as a person.
In the fall of 2016 I took a semester off school and moved to Florida to participate in the Disney College Program. Without the experience I gained at Hersheypark, I doubt I would have had the opportunity to work for the Walt Disney Company. Working at Hersheypark prepared me by letting me gain confidence in a guest services field; it allowed me to be able to know what a guest may want with just a few questions.
Currently I find myself in an internship with the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts marketing department. By working at Hersheypark I was able to understand what our guests’ wants and needs are; and now I am able to reach guests in an entirely different way, before they even arrive at the Park.
Working in an amusement park is unlike anything else. You quickly learn how something small goes far in pleasing our guests. It can be something like helping a lost guest, but sometimes you have the chance to really make the guest feel special. By going out of your way just a little bit you can make the guest’s experience something they won’t soon forget; the joy on a mother’s face when you are able to give them a dairy-free dessert so her child can eat ‘ice cream’ just like everyone else is something I will never forget.
The four summers that I have spent in the hot sun and pouring rain, through the ups and the downs, are something that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Not only have I been able to grow as a person through my time at Hersheypark, but I have been able to define what I want to do in the future. I have realized just how much I love working in the entertainment business (be it in an amusement park or concerts). Interacting with different guests day in and day out, going beyond their expectations and seeing how happy it makes them…makes me happy.
This summer will be my fifth as an area supervisor for the food and beverage catering department. I am looking forward to this new challenge and can’t wait to see how I can grow in new and different ways.