For Todd and Beth Lief, managing a park and campground and spending the entire workday in the great outdoors is something they’ve long dreamed of.
The dream recently came true when the couple took over as the new managers of Kandiyohi County’s Games Lake County Park.
“We consider ourselves lucky. We’re very excited to be doing this and looking forward to it,” Beth said.
Manager openings in the Kandiyohi County park system don’t come along often, so when the previous Games Lake park managers retired this past year, the Liefs jumped at the opportunity to apply for the position. Their contract took effect Dec. 1.
They will oversee one of the county’s popular weekend and vacation destinations — the county-owned park on the east side of Games Lake, part of the so-called Norway Chain of Lakes.
The amenities — which include 56 camping sites, a swimming beach, picnic area, a store and restaurant — rival those in the state park system.
Todd Lief has long been familiar with the park.
His grandparents had a cabin down the road, and during his youth he camped there often.
“I always loved the park,” he said. “I challenge anybody to find a better beach.”
“We both like being outside. We both like working with people. We have a lot of experience in customer service,” Beth said.
She currently works at Woodland Centers and Todd works at Cash Wise. For now they’re commuting back and forth to work in Willmar, but once Games Lake County Park is open for the season, managing the park will become a full-time summer commitment.
For the 110 days of the season, including 15 weekends, they expect to be on the go from 6 a.m. until midnight.
They’re already gearing up by hiring store employees, lining up vendors and merchandising the store. With reservations for 2016 set to open Saturday, they’re also getting ready for the phone to start ringing.
The Liefs hope to add some new park activities as well. Among the possibilities: children’s games and activities and Fourth of July events.
One of their hopes is for the park to be a place for families to come year after year, bringing their children and then their grandchildren in an ongoing tradition, Todd said.
He and Beth hope to welcome them back every summer.
“We look forward to meeting all of them,” he said. “We definitely want to be there long term.”