Tracy Czambel was a single mother when park owner Randy Work hired her as his activities director in 1996. She later advanced to general manager and helped manage the park as it grew to become one of the most popular camping destinations in Pennsylvania.
MILL RUN, Penn., January 2017 — For many years, the Jellystone Park in Mill Run has distinguished itself as being the first to provide some of the most unique campground activities and amenities in the country.
It was the first Jellystone Park in Pennsylvania to have a fire truck and train rides and the first to have waterslides. It was also the first campground in the U.S. to install a synthetic snow tubing ride. Similar in appearance to a long Slip-N-Slide, the snow tubing track is made of synthetic material and set up on a hill so participants can slide down on inner tubes, much like they would on a snow-covered hill.
Last year, the Mill Run campground became the first Jellystone Park in the country to offer its guests a two-story treehouse as a rental accommodation.
Jellystone Park owner Randy Work and his family have invested in these improvements in an effort to grow their business base. But they’ve also had considerable help along the way from Tracy Czambel, a longtime employee who advanced from activities director to general manager of the 258-site park as it grew to become one of the most popular camping destinations in Pennsylvania.
Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems, Inc., which franchises Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada, has been keenly aware of Czambel’s efforts, and recently recognized her with the franchise company’s Operator of the Year Award during its annual awards banquet.
“When they announced my name, I sat at the table and cried,” said Czambel, 50, a single mother of two daughters who started working at the Mill Run Jellystone as a way of rebuilding her life after her divorce.
Czambel was initially hired in 1996 as activities director but was eventually promoted to general manager of the park in 2004, a position that includes overseeing the day to day operations of the park as well as human resources and accounting.
Czambel said working at Jellystone in Mill Run proved to be a wise choice.
Czambel had been camping there with her family since 1989, and enjoyed the fun and safe family environment the park provided for her daughters. She initially worked as a medical claims processor for Cigna and part time for Jellystone Park before she made the decision to work at Jellystone full time.
But while working at Jellystone proved to be a terrific career move for Czambel, the park also provided work opportunities for her daughters during their high school and college years.
Both daughters are now pursuing careers opportunities in the campground industry. Czambel’s oldest daughter, Megan, is now activities director for Tradewinds Resort in St. Petersburg, Fla., while her younger daughter, Allison, works as one of the reservations managers at the Jellystone Park in Mill Run.
Meanwhile, Czambel continues to manage the Mill Run park as it continues to make improvements, the latest of which include a sand volleyball court, installation of another train, and remodeling the park’s two-story treehouse so that it can sleep up to eight people.
The Jellystone Park at Mill Run also has many other rental accommodations, including 48 cabins and one park model RV. The park also has a double loft cabin unit, which sleeps 12 to 16 people. Two families can rent the double loft unit together. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two loft areas, but they share the kitchen as a common area.
Jellystone Parks are unique because they offer organized family activities and themed weekends with Yogi Bear™, Boo Boo™, Cindy Bear™ and Ranger Smith™, which help families create special memories.
Activities at the Jellystone Park in Mill Run include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, face painting and paintball games as well as evening campfires and tuck-ins with the bears.
Themed weekends are scheduled from early April through October, and range from family athletic competitions with various sporting events; to Christmas in July with campsite decorating, Christmas cookie making activities, visits by Santa Claus and Rudolph; to “Halloween in August” with a costume contest, campsite decorating and trick or treating.
For more information, please visit www.jellystonemillrun.com.