Parks & Recreation Success Stories
Imagine a job where you are outdoors, interacting with hundreds of people every day. Your daily operations consist of managing paintball fields, supervising a 40-foot high ropes course, and establishing and maintaining off-road trails. On occasion, you even get to play with and feed hyenas, wolf pups and zebras. For Ben Orendorff ’07, this is his job and his paradise.
“I get paid to have fun,” Orendorff explained when describing his responsibilities as the recreation coordinator level two at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA.
Looking to improve his educational experience while a student at Cal, Orendorff contacted the Cal U Internship Center, which helped him land an internship at Ohiopyle State Park. Since it was not paid, Orendorff decided to apply for a part-time job at Nemacolin Woodlands to cover his expenses. He didn’t land the part-time job, instead, they offered him a paid internship as a recreation coordinator with the opportunity of being hired full time. He accepted and immediately following his internship at Nemacolin, Orendorff was hired full time.
“They loved me,” Orendorff rightfully boasted about his success at Nemacolin. “I went in with a good head on my shoulders, I was prepared, and I stood out from the other interns.”
Orendorff, who graduated with dual degrees in parks and recreation, and Global Information Systems (GIS) and Emergency Management, credits his preparation not only to his classroom experiences at Cal U, but also through Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits training.
As the recreation operations manager at Nemacolin, Matt Grobe worked with Orendorff each day during his internship. Grobe soon discovered Orendorff’s undeterred dedication and enthusiasm towards his responsibilities.
“Ben’s position is a great entry-level recreation position,” Grobe explained. “He hit all of the qualifications we were looking for—dedication, enthusiasm and interest.”
Dr. Thomas Wickham, chairman of the department of earth science and Orendorff’s internship advisor, was not surprised when he heard of Orendorff’s successes.
“With Nemacolin Woodlands, you can’t be ho-hum about things,” Wickham explained. “You have to be willing to do the work and do it well. Ben has that enthusiasm and the willingness to do the job. He has a hard work ethic, and he was ready to accept the responsibilities of the position.”
Orendorff describes himself as a “very outdoorsy guy,” which is why he feels so at home at Nemacolin. He also enjoys the customer focus aspect of his job.
“Recreation is all about customers,” Orendorff explained. “When I join the groups on the paintball field, I get to create a bond with strangers. That’s something that you just can’t get in an office.”
It is his display of initiative that will drive Orendorff to bigger and better things at Nemacolin.
“Ben has done a great job at staying focused, and he is always willing to try new things,” Grobe said. “I believe if he sets his goals high enough, he will take over my position some day.”