Chuck Russell & The Spirit of the Woodloch Games
We all have at least one of “those” friends.
You know, the type of friend that seems to be comfortable almost everywhere you go, striking up new friendships with almost everyone they meet. The type of friend that’s willing and eager to try anything at least once. The type of friend that’s super passionate and possibly opinionated about things, but always quick for a hug when you’re down or need a boost of confidence. The ones that occasionally push you out of your comfort zone, for better or worse but with the best intentions.
And how lucky we are to find these sorts of friends.
Woodloch has had its share of “friends” like these over the years. One in particular was our good friend, Mr. Chuck Russell.
Like many of our guests do, Chuck visited our resort every year with his family. And simply put, he got involved in pretty much EVERYTHING our resort had to offer. “The man was just EVERYWHERE,” says Joey Ranner, Social Director. “He quickly developed a bit of a reputation for being ‘that guy’- a true life of the party that had a certain magnetism about him. He whistled, cheered, and just had a great time everywhere he went. He was very competitive, but at day’s end, was always quick to shake hands in the true spirit of sportsmanship.
When Chuck’s company reassigned his job to Michigan, it still didn’t matter- year after year, the family still trekked to Woodloch to enjoy time with each other and their ever-growing crew of friends. He continued to make great vacation memories with his family and his newly found “Woodloch Family” for many years.
In 1995, Chuck sadly lost the battle with cancer. “The Woodloch family was devastated,” says Joey. “We realized fairly quickly that we wanted to find away to not only remember Chuck but also the wonderful spirit of the Woodloch games that he so well embodied.” And thus, our Chuck Russell Award was born!
During each of our 9 weeks of summer, we would select one individual who seemed to carry the torch that Chuck ignited and recognize them at our weekly “Awards Ceremony” in the Nightclub. “It was a bittersweet kind of thing,” says Ranner. “We all truly missed Chuck, but it was rather warming to see so many of our guests keep that fire alive.” Over the years, this exclusive “club” grew and now is over 230 members strong.
It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since we handed out our first “Chucky” trophy. So of course, we thought it would be more than appropriate to celebrate the “Silver Anniversary” of the award this year with a special weekend, May 1st – 3rd, 2020! In total, we will be inviting all honorees to our resort for a special weekend filled with all of our favorite Woodloch games, entertainment, and even a special champagne toast to all winners and of course, Chuck himself.
“It’s going to be just a wonderful weekend at our resort,” says Ranner. “So much energy, so much love and so much FUN! Whether you’re returning for your 50th Woodloch visit (we have several guests who have exceeded that plateau) or are just joining us for the first time, there’s no denying that the great spirit of what makes Woodloch so special will be, like our dear friend Chuck, EVERYWHERE.”