Upfront: Summer challenge

By Steve Noe

With summer officially beginning June 21, I would like to take this opportunity — as I often do in my column — to issue a challenge. And unlike some of my previous challenges, I hope this is one that you will gladly embrace.

The premise for this challenge originated with an e-mail that my wife forwarded to me April 19. The e-mail promoted a spring break special to one of our family’s favorite vacation destinations, Blue Harbor Resort, which has a huge indoor water park. The resort is located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wis., only about 160 miles from home. My wife proposed that we surprise our daughters with a Memorial Day weekend trip to Blue Harbor Resort, but to keep it a secret until 20 minutes before we departed.

Well, we managed to keep everything a secret from all three of our daughters until they woke up Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend when my wife presented them with cards. The cards notified them of our weekend plans in recognition of all their accomplishments this year, contained a detailed packing list, and instructed them to be packed and ready to go by 10 a.m. because we were leaving at 10:30 a.m.

We wound up having a very nice and relaxing, relatively affordable, three-day weekend. We spent plenty of quality time in the indoor water park each day, collected shells on the beach, enjoyed a couple of nice dinners at a nearby restaurant, watched a movie in our hotel room, and even visited a “cheese castle” on our way home. And we made the roundtrip on less than a single tank of gas, which is a bonus given the outrageous gas prices.

Now I realize that because you’re a business owner, you may be hard pressed to take an extended vacation and stray too far from home, which is perfectly understandable. And I don’t expect you to be as spontaneous and creative as my wife, who is the world’s greatest vacation planner. I simply commit to vacation dates and leave the rest of the planning to her, because I like to be surprised and she never disappoints.

However, I do challenge you to commit to taking at least one vacation this summer and find your own vacation planner, if necessary, to make it happen. Even if you can only afford the time and money to spend an upcoming three-day weekend such as the Fourth of July or Labor Day to stay at a nearby resort with a water park or go camping, fishing or golfing, I want you to force yourself to break away from your business and get some well-deserved rest and relaxation because it is important to enjoy the fruits of your labor, “recharge your battery,” and reconnect with your family.

I highly recommend that you take a minimum three-day vacation because I find that it takes nearly a day just to leave your worries behind at home and work, giving you just a couple of days to unwind. My family had so much fun on our little weekend getaway that we’re already planning two more this summer to visit relatives in neighboring states, and our daughters are psyched.

With the spring behind you and your kids or grandkids out of school for the summer, now is the perfect time to plan a family vacation. You deserve it for working all of those long hours during the spring, and so does your family for tolerating your hectic spring schedule. Get a vacation on the books and stick to it. I guarantee this is one challenge that you’ll be glad you accepted.

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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