A safe bet

HEIDEL HOUSE RESORT and spa managers Alex Jakovljevic and Craig Summers dive into Green Lake after Alex made an ill-advised friendly wager earlier this summer.  submitted photo

Staff is having fun at Heidel House Resort & Spa

by Ian Stepleton

Dear guests to Green Laker country.

I’ve got a secret to tell you. Lean in ..

Even those of us who live and work here all year long like to have a little fun, too!

OK, that probably doesn’t come as a shock.

But employees and guests at the Heidel House Resort & Spa in Green Lake were quite surprised last month when two managers, well, got to know Green Lake up close and personal.

“It started out as a joke during a meeting,” said Carrie Ivacko, marketing manager for the Heidel House.

The Heidel House had been a bit short-staffed earlier this summer, and brought in someone from the Marcus Corp., which now runs the Green Lake resort and spa.

That man was Alex Jakovljevic, who was acting as food and beverage director in June.

“He works for the Crown Plaza in Minneapolis now, but he has been with Marcus for quite a few years,” Carrie said. “He helped us out for a few weeks.”

Alex, she explained, is a good-natured guy and coworker — but one who made an ill-advised bet one day in June.

“[He said] he would jump in the lake if Grey Rock did not meet a goal for Saturday night,” Carrie said of the resort’s fine cuisine restaurant. “Unfortunately it was a lofty goal, and he had been looking at the wrong date for a reservation, so it did not happen.”

Simply put, it was a different weekend that a large group was scheduled to eat at Grey Rock.


Suddenly, Alex found himself on the wrong end of that transaction.

At least he wasn’t on the hook alone.

Chef Craig [Summers] … said he would do it with him just for fun,” Carrie said. “Nobody really expected them to follow through with it.”

And, for a time, they didn’t.

Finally, the “big boss” — General Manager Scott Krause — gave them a gentle reminder.

“[He] said, ‘You need to set a date,’” she recalled.

That date ended up being July 10.

So, on a warm, humid Friday at the stroke of noon, a crowd gathered along the Heidel Beach .

“Everybody who was able to from the resort was able to watch [came],” Carrie said. “Even guests.”

Alex was ready for the dip in bright yellow swim trunks.

Chef Craig? Well … he was decked out in a blue polo, blue swim trunks and a couple of accessories.

“ It was the first time I’d ever seen Chef Craig in everyday clothes,” Carrie said, noting he “came in water shoes and he brought a floatie.”

Finally, it was time to make good on the bet.

“Mr. Krause counted down, and everyone was screaming,” Carrie said.

Two … one … and dive!

Alex went in head-first, graceful but short of Olympic standards.

Craig opted for a modified cannon-ball, hitting feet-first with a good splash.

It was a hit, for employees and guests alike.

“I think the guests were really surprised by it,” Carrie said. “I think it makes for a more memorable experience.”

It’s all recorded on YouTube, where you can witness  the fun in perpetuity (or on a loop, if you wish) at:  https://youtu.be/azhvilKmRwk

Carrie noted it was a great team-building experience — and one they won’t soon forget. Largely because employees hope to replicate it again, and often.

“It seems that anybody says something or has any kind of goal, everyone is like, ‘If you don’t make it, you’re going to jump in the lake.’” Carrie said. “I don’t know how that’s going to work come winter.”

That’s not the first time the Heidel House has had a little fun with social videos.

“We’ve had [the YouTube channel] for a number of years but don’t add to it all too often,” Carrie said. “We’ve made a push to update it more often.”

Her favorite video? It’s not the big dive from July.

“We created a video ahead of time and launched it on Red Nose Day,” Carrie said, referring to a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty. “There’s pictures of everyone working in their areas with red noses on.

“A few of us did, in the indoor pool, a synchronized work routine and jumped in with our work clothes on.”

As she explained, videos such as these are just a chance to inject a bit of the excitement guests seek when they come to the Green Lake area.

“Everyone works so hard and its fun to do little things to keep everyone motivated,” Carrie said. “Guests are having fun; it’s OK for us to have fun too.”


Leave a comment