Summary

We have been Proud Members of the TRVA for Many Years…….

We Proudly display the TRVA Sign….

The TRVA keeps us updated on all the changes in the Industry with Emails.

The Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the TRVA also provides monthly meetings for all to attend and enjoy.

The TRVA also provides maps that are full of a wealth of information about the Rio Grande Valley.  We hand them out to many residents as a way to get around and learn what the Valley is all about.  Such a useful tool for the New Winter Texans to have.

THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING US FOR THE TRVA SMALL PARK AWARD

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Park Beautification

Many improvements have been made during this season.  The entire front of our park is enclosed with a fence.  It was repaired and painted a Terra Cotta.  We formed a Garden Club also this year.  Its main purpose was to beautify the park taking on a project at a time.  We started with the flower beds at the entrance.  They were neglected and full of aloe and cactus.  With the help from the Management, and the Workampers, the stone edgers were repaired and the sign for Eastgate was raised.  The city had put in a walking /biking path across the front between the park and the street. It was dangerous exiting the park as the sign was blocking the view.  New lights were also installed on the sign.  We went to Grimsells Gardening Center  and obtained a plan for planting.  We raised money by holding several plant sales, and after planting one side, Mr. Shannon gave us the money for the other side.  We now have a very pretty entrance.

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Before…..

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After……

The new walking/biking path, the freshly painted terra cotta fence, and the flower beds with beautiful plants that will thrive and flower. We can now safely exit the park on to the main city street and have a good view of the walking/biking path.

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Entrance view….and the walking/biking path….

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Also on schedule is the resurfacing of the pool this summer.  It has to be drained and shut down, therefore, it is planned at the low occupancy  time of year.

It has been an Awesome year.  Many friendships were formed.  Many friendships were strengthened……All Agree

…..Eastgate Has To Be The Friendliest Park In The Rio Grande Valley……

Park Improvements

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Many of our pads on F St. were redone with fresh concrete.  Sod was laid and it was watered all season to help establish its growth.  They look very inviting as you drive down the street.  A new concrete pad was also added in the RV section.   Our streets were redone at the first of the season.  Repairs were needed after the rainy season of last year.  Mr. Shannon also brought in a  new spec manufactured  home.  It is set up on a site for display to purchase.

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As well as adding the Garden Club this year, we have also added Darts.  Our Canadians asked for it to be added.   The Activity Board bought 2 nice dart boards and added it to the schedule.  Other things added to the schedule this year was, Veterans Day Breakfast, Super Bowl Party, Farewell Potato Bake.  Many outside trips were scheduled.

We have also made improvements in communications within the park.  As this is a 55+ park we have to learn different creative ways to keep the residents up on current activities and changes.  We have always had a  monthly newsletter with all current activities, entertainment and any changes.  Many hang them on their frig.  We have also used the Facebook page much more for the people who are computer users.  We post activity changes and pictures of social events.  It is useful for issues that need to be addressed immediately, as water outages, cancellations, or a delay in activity, such as the Vegetable Man.  We have also put up a white board in the main hall by the office.  I post special activities and dates to remember for Mon – Sun of the current week.  Some people can only retain that much info and it also reminds those who forget.  Everyone loves it so much and has commented that they need  it to remind them of certain dates.  We have now added a white board at the other hall for the next season for the people who don’t visit the main hall.

It was all made possible by adding the position of the Event Co-ordinator.  This position is very important to a park as well as the whole Valley.  It gives the residents a list of scheduled activities they can choose to participate in.  It also gives them plenty of trips and activities to do outside of the park.  It enhances their stay as Winter Texans.  They learn about the Rio Grande Valley and all it has to offer for education and fun.  This in return contributes towards the economy of the Valley.  As they all head back north and home, all these wonderful, fun moments can be shared with family and friends.   Hopefully this will attract more people and we can reverse the downward cycle the Valley is in today.

 

Community Service

Many of our residents donate their time in the community.

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Jo Wallace has been donating her time for years.  The last 3 years, she has been at Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.  She is a very compassionate person, who encourages everyone to volunteer.  An article was written about her and published in the Valley Morning Star.  (document 9)    Jo also donates her time within the park   She is happy to lock up both halls at 10:00 PM every nite.  We are very lucky to have someone who loves the park so much, that she is willing to do this every nite.  She feels, and we all feel so much safer and secure, knowing she has made her rounds and all is well.
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Another person who loves to help others is Marg Hamburg.  She started with Food Pantry and is now volunteering at Loaves and Fishes.  (document 10) She collects clothes and anything to be given away,  from the residents.  The residents drop items off in the office. Marge picks up the items and delivers them every week when she does her volunteer time.  Another resident donates her time in the Pastoral department at the Hospital.

We also collected $300 from our Ice Cream Nite for Loaves and Fishes. (document 11)  Another resident did a gathering of food, clothing and children’s items.  She also did a 50/50 drawing at Bingo and donated all to The Center for Domestic Abuse Victims.  We also have taken donations for the Food Pantry.  (document 12) We arranged a Memorial for all who passed this last year.  This was also a first time Event.  It was a very special and moving  service.  In a community that is close, it is important to remember the residents and share memories and celebrate their life.  An offering was held.  The amount of $229. was given to American Heart Association (document 13) and also $229 to American Cancer Society.  (document 14) These are our leading causes of death in the US.

We also have others who volunteer  in the community, involved in nature and wildlife feedings in our preserves.  We also have several residents who are involved in tutoring programs at the local schools.   There are many ways for our residents to get involved in the community, and they do.  Within the park, during major holidays, we also deliver a holiday meals to the sick and shut ins.  This helps make their day a little brighter.

Learning Opportunities

When presented the opportunity for this job, I told them I had no training.  Mr. Shannon, and the rest of the management have given me all the help and backing that I needed or asked for.  The Managers have been working with me as to the needs of the park.  Our goals are all the same.   Give the residents the chance to join in a variety of activities with in the park.  Offer outings in the Rio Grande Valley that are fun, exciting, and easily affordable.   Offer giveaways at some events.  No matter how small, it means so much to them.  It promotes good will.  Celebrate the holidays as traditionally possible.  Make sure they have had the best time ever in our park.  We want the halls to be full of laughter.

In order to achieve these goals, I was able to attend several meetings. ” Welcome Home RGV”, is owned by Kristi Collier.   She has been such a huge asset to the Valley in promoting the area.  She has arranged many learning and special workshops including a Convention,  for all Activity Directors and or Managers.  It was full of information, and guidance.  Many vendors were there also.  I was able to  obtain many ideas on outings and fun things to do.  I also attended a workshop for Activity Directors.   Now this was very beneficial to me.   I learned about other parks, what their Directors did, what could work, what may not.  Generally I learned all parks are different.  All parks have their own political issues.  We had to form our own guide lines that would work for us.  Our limits are only our imagination.

 

Promoting Our Park

Our Park has been around 93 percent full this year.  Many are returning Winter Texans, but many are also new.  We have been able to keep many of our Canadians friends and also attract many more first timers.   Much of this is due to Mr. Shannon.  He has lowered the rates for the park for the first timers and for the Canadians, offering them at Par.  He realizes that the economy of Winter Texans is a factor in their ability to travel and winter away from home.  (document 3)

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He is doing his best to enable the return of the old Winter Texans, as well as trying to attract new ones.  The Rio Grande Valley is losing many of the Northerners. The economy and population are declining.  He is willing to lose some of his profit to try to help the Valley turn this trend around.

We also hosted our First Veterans Day Breakfast.

It was a Wonderful Success.  One of the residents donated 9 lap blankets for a drawing.  We sent an article to the Welcome Home paper and it was published.  (document 4)

We also hosted a Baby Shower.

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The residents brought beautiful gifts and had a wonderful time.  The shower gifts were donated to the St. Anthony Gabril Project to be distributed by them to mothers in need.  They were so appreciative and sent a Thank You note. (document 5)  It was also published in the Winter Texan.  (document 6)  We also had several articles published about our residents.  One of our residents were at Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge, riding their bicycles and were interviewed.  It was published in the Valley Morning Star News. (document 7)
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Shirley Gingerich, an Eastgate resident,  was called on the phone, while she was here, by her hometown newspaper in Illinois and was interviewed.  This article was a full page add published in the News Tribune in LaSalle Illinois. (document 8)

All in all, we’ve had a great year of participation from different newspapers.  We would post them up on the bulletin board for all to see.

Memories for the Winter Texans

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Life has been GREAT……I have been working with Mr. Shannon, Carolynn & Michael Fuller, property managers, Deb and Rick Vogel, site managers as well as the Activity Board.  Our goal is to provide the best time for all the guests in and outside of the park.  Experiences they can enjoy and take home to share the wonderful time they had at Eastgate and the Rio Grande Valley.  I feel my position is rather unique.  I am  a liaison between the residents, Activity Board and the Park Managers as well as Mr. Shannon, the owner.  As I listen to the residents, I hear their suggestions, and concerns and can pass them on and work with the management.  I report directly to Mr. Shannon, which helps make the chain from A-Z  much shorter and more accurate.

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Many outside activities were added this year.   We had a Tour of the Marine Military Academy, and invited Gloria Bolin of the Iwa Jima Museum to give us a talk. There is so much history to learn about. (document 2)

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We went to Brownsville, and had a wonderful VIP Tour of Gladys Porter Zoo, and Texas Gulf Shrimp Boil.

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For the ladies, we had a wonderful luncheon at Villa De Cortez in Weslaco, and a tour of the Villa after.  We also offered an overnite Gambling Trip to Eagle Pass with Go With Jo.  All activities were full to the max.  Everyone had such a good time.

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This was a great addition to the season.  We added several Segway Tours to the schedule.  Two tours in Harlingen and one on South Padre Island. These are just a few of the outside trips that were offered.

Within the park, the owner also provided a Super Bowl party this year, for the first time.  Plenty of food from Wings, shrimp, nachos, veggies and dip to a barrel of beer.  A surprise added to the party was gift cards and a Kindle to give away. We also added many other giveaways from the community.  Towards the end of the season, we provided them with a Farewell Potato Bake.  Thank You’s were given to all for making it a Wonderful Year, full of laughter and gaiety.  Mr Shannon also provided major resturant gift cards for drawings that they could use on the return trip home.  I compiled many pictures from the season and made a 10 minute Video complete with 3 pieces of music.   Entitled……”Memory’s”….. Many of them asked and were given a copy of the DVD.  They couldn’t wait to return home to show friends and family their Memories of the Winter Season as Winter Texans….This DVD has also been added to the packet. 

 

TRVA Small Park Award “2016”

I am the Event Co-ordinator  at Eastgate Park.  I am so excited to nominate Eastgate MH & RV Park for this award.  My husband and I retired Nov 1, 2014.  We arrived at Eastgate on Dec 1, 2014, from Illinois to do workamping.  We arrived fresh from the REAL world of punching a clock to this Wonderful Fantasy World of Retirement.  Eastgate is located in Harlingen Texas at the east end of Harrison and Tyler Ave.  Our proximity to the VA , and Other Hospitals, and Medical offices, makes it an easy commute for residents needing health care.

We are an older park that was established around 1976.  Land was added several times through the years, and is now surrounded by homes and businesses.   No more room to grow.  This also makes our park more established with trees and foliage, a much more homey atmosphere.   Eastgate is comprised of a total of 311 sites, 141 are mobile homes, and 170 are RV sites.

Rich worked in Maintenance and I was in the office with the Managers, Debby and Rick.  They also came down as Winter Texans and decided to stay in the Valley and take the job as Managers several years ago. (document 1)

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We felt so welcome in the park by management as well as the MH and RV community.  It was a wonderful year of fun and activity and making friends.   Even as a workamper, we felt welcome and an equal to all the paying residents.  The park itself has a full activity schedule.  We are fortunate to have 2 halls, 2 spas and 1 heated pool.  We have a weekly Jam Session, open to everyone outside the park, as well as Entertainment every Friday, and Dances every Sat.

We were asked back for this season, 2015-16.  Rich again in Maintenance and I as Event Co-ordinator.  Mr. Joe Shannon, the owner and the Management, wanted to provide more outside activities for the residents to enhance their stay in the Rio Grande Valley.  This became a new position.  What a Wonderful Year it has been…….