HILLTOP RESORT. TIME TO TURN IT AROUND.
BY HILLTOP RESORT
Time to turn it around.
In December 2013 I moved to Hilltop Resort, Swan Hill in Victoria’s Mallee from an inner suburb of Melbourne. It was ahuge change for us!! We are not rich people – we did not own our own home in Melbourne. We were blessed to be able to buy Hilltop Resort because I convinced the owner to Vendor Finance us.
As a staunch Home Education Mum, supporter and facilitator, I have worked tirelessly organising camps, incursions, excursions, support groups, workshops, online conferences and spending time talking to people new to Homeschooling that want more information. I have LOVED it! Families knowing what their options are regarding the education of their children matters to me!!
For us it meant our girls would be continuing their education at the AYCE program of Yea High School. It’s a great flexible learning option that fitted for us as a family. That meant they needed to be in Melbourne every week. (Four hours away) Due to their ages, Roman needed to be there with them. It was the first time as a family that we have consistently spent so much time apart. Roman and our girls mean everything to me. So it was tough being here without them. This was a family decision – our girls have always come first, we needed to give them the best chance we could to be the best that they could possibly be. SO….it left me running everything here on my own with the help of our wonderful staff.
That was OK. It was how we planned things and how we wanted to provide for their education. That was until it got bad here. Until it then went from bad to worse! It was incremental, it was persistent and it was ceaselessly ongoing.
In about March or April of 2014 we became the victims of an ongoing and systemic attack of malicious damage that lasted for a little more than 6 months. This was sly, in the form of valves turned a little bit the wrong way, connections displaced and taps turned off. There was also theft of our tools and equipment and a burglary. It was hard, we lost many pumps and our water plant was decimated and needed to be all but rebuilt. (We were trucking water in for months at a cost of about $1,000 per week so that our guests could all have fresh, clean water.) Then someone entered our private yard and knifed a tyre. NO MORE. This was putting my family in danger. I went to the Police. While no charges were ever laid, Police involvement saw the attacks stop and they have not started again since. All of our resources were redirected to cover these costs and we nearly went under.
How it affected me:
I lost my Joie de Vivre. 2015 for me was a black year. I lost my passion. I felt adrift and lost. It was a year of physical illness with a middle of the night rush to hospital in an ambulance, more hospital visits, and even ultimately, surgery. It was a year for me of total mental fatigue, worry, fear, forgetfulness and bone deep weariness. It was a fierce fight with myself to get up, get out and face the day – a fight that I did not always win. There were days when I would be hiding in the house, using ALL of my strength just to answer the phone, or greet an arriving customer, only to run back to the safety of the house, venturing out again ONLY when it couldn’t be avoided…
I have for so long now been at breaking point from the stress of having to be “happy”. Ongoing days merging one into another, the stress causing tears and vomiting and sleepless nights that have now become my “normal”.
I’ve forgotten who I am. It was a year I don’t ever want to go through again. I was so alone.
You do not get to pause life, especially not in a 24 hour business where time off is infrequent and you are needed for every single one of the seven days that are in every week.
During 2015 we have worked hard to get Hilltop Resort back to very nearly about where we started. It’s a customer focussed business – I did it all with a stone in my heart and a smile on my face.
My world is now predominately grey, I am clawing my way back slowly. There is still SO far to go. To push on I NEED to get out there and do something, SEE some changes, FEEL a shift forward!! I need even just the littlest something tangible that I can hang onto and pull myself forward with. I am just not able to make that happen right now without some help. So I am putting aside my pride, I am here telling you about my most private, my innermost feelings, hoping that you will hear me and help me. Please.
My dream with Hilltop Resort in Swan Hill is to use the property as a location for Homeschool and school camps, and for disadvantaged groups to access the property for camps and day visits. I dream of utilising those skills and providing a fun experience for kids in travelling families and I want “Grey Nomads” to enjoy the peace of what we offer here at Hilltop Resort – YES, even when we have a camp in, or at a time with a high number of children on site, due to the size of our camping area, the sites continue to be reasonably quiet and peaceful!!
Our plans for Hilltop Resort:
Nothing has really changed for us, the plans we had when we came into the business are still the dreams we are hopinggoing to achieve. After 15 years of neglect, Hilltop Resort needs lots of love and attention. We are going to turn this place around and turn it back into the Jewell of the Mallee.
This is my dream list:
¨ Repaint Motel room doors
¨ Refurbish Motel rooms
¨ Refurbish Cabins
¨ Refurbish Ensuite Blocks
¨ Create an outdoor area for cabins
¨ Service & Repaint the train
¨ New roof for the animal shelters in the zoo
¨ Beautification – Lots of beautiful plants to brighten us up!
¨ Bush walk – Plant thousands of native trees and shrubs
¨ Cultural Mural on the games room wall
¨ New roadside signage
¨ Park security:
o Boom gate
o Security cameras
o Replacement of all access keys & locks to prevent unauthorised access
¨ Restore play equipment
¨ Obstacle Course
¨ Replace leaking water tanks (before they burst)
¨ Refurbishing one of the rooms as a Disability Room
¨ Purpose built dormitories for groups
We have come SO far and worked SO hard and we will continue to do that, many of our original plans have already happened, but there is still SO much more to achieve. It’s time to turn it around, it’s time to move forward.
Where to from here:
I am a strongly positive person and I am here now humbly asking for your help. We are pretty much again at the starting line – ready to move ahead with our business – but ALL of our funds were taken in the replacement of items stolen or damaged and we are now facing a cashless start.
I am more grateful than you could ever possibly imagine that you have read this all the way to this point. Thank you. I understand that not everyone will be able to assist financially, that’s ok. If you want to help, please pray for my fortitude. Ask the universe for blessings. Meditate on our success. If you have any thoughts or knowledge, any tips or suggestions on ways for us to move forward, please share them. I would be so happy to hear from you. Write to me via our website: http://www.hilltopresort.com.au
If you do feel able to offer some financial help, then from the very bottom of my heart I thank you. I can sincerely promise you that ANY amount is helpful. The value of just one cup of coffee from just a few people will cover the cost of some paint, some rebuilding materials. It will all help so very much.
Your assistance will be the impetus I so very desperately need to move forward and get out of the house. The push I desperately need to realise that I am not alone. I will be able to use that push to step forward and re-find my passion. Please consider sharing this with everyone on your contacts list.
This is SO very true. Something I definitely learned in this journey!!
I am so very grateful to everyone that has offered a pledge. From the very bottom of my heart, please know that your kindness is appreciated and is a true blessing to me. I am feeling buoyed by your love and I am beginning to see a way forward. For that alone, I won’t forget your generosity of spirit.
If you have sent me suggestions or kind words, or you have shared my post so that more people can see it, Thank you.
I am humbled by everyone’s comments and thoughtfulness.