On December 17, we held our annual Holiday Celebration with a bus tour to Washington, D.C. and our Annual Employee Years of Service Recognition Luncheon. Staff and family members boarded the magic bus at 8:30 a.m., and after playing some seasonal trivia games and watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” arrived at the Gaylord Hotel for a quick tour. Then, we walked across the street to the ICE! Experience, a 15,000-square-foot attraction under a huge tent featuring 10 scenes from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It’s big, impressive, colorful and carved out of two million pounds of ice. It’s also cold. The exhibit space is kept at a constant nine degrees. No wonder the staff reminds visitors as they enter the exhibit: “Don’t touch or lick the ice.” After we returned the arctic parkas and walked outside, one staff member said: “Wow, even though it’s below freezing out here, it feels like a spring day after being in there.”
Then, it was back on the bus for the drive to Georgetown Harbor for lunch at Tony and Joe’s Seafood and staff recognition. Of course, one of the things SkillsUSA is well known for is the dedication of its staff and that shows up not only in the quality of their work, but in their tenure as well. This year, we recognized 12 employees with a combined time on staff of 132 years. Four of them – Tom Hall and Ann Schreiber at 25 years each and Keith Ashby and Shelly Coates at 30 years each – accounted for 110 years by themselves. It must be the SkillsUSA mission keeps them all looking so young. It was a wonderful day of celebrating a great national staff.