Family Days – Sept 2019
August 13, 2019
A union benefit for the whole family
BY KATE MOSTACCIO
A wave of PEF members wearing yellow wristbands rolled into The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom theme park in Queensbury on Aug. 10 for the last PEF Membership Benefits Program (MBP) Family Day of the season.
Before the park opened to the public that day it opened to 2,300 PEF members and their families and friends for an exclusive ride hour and when the gates opened, families quickly made for their favorite rides and sections of the park.
Older children and teens may have headed for the Sasquatch, Flashback, and Greezed Lightnin.’ Younger kids urged their family toward Hootie’s Treehouse, Oakley’s Honey Swings, and Frankie’s Mine Train. For the whole family, maybe the Canyon Blaster, Giant Wheel, or the Cannonball Express were the intended destinations.
Taking a moment between dashing from ride to ride with virtually no lines, Katie Kidalowski, a PEF member from East Greenbush, said this was her and her extended family’s first Family Day. “It’s a great deal,” she said.
At $15 a ticket, PEF members were treated to the exclusive ride time, free parking, a buffet lunch at a reserved pavilion area, raffles and giveaways, and free drinks at a number of vendors throughout the park for the duration of their stay.
Kidalowski said her family was having a good time and they were grateful for the benefit.
The weather turned out great, with only a short period of rain driving people toward the covered pavilion around lunchtime. Here, they could grab hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, fruit, drinks, and while they were down there, visit vendors from Stacey Braun Associates, MetLife, Sun Life Financial, Liberty Mutual, Davis Vision, AFLAC, PEF Field Service Organizing, PEF Health & Safety, PEF Retirees, PEF Membership Benefits Program, and the PEF Contract Team.
As lunch wound down, Carleen Reid-Coleman and her sons, Colin and Blake, and mother, May, were enjoying their dessert before heading back into the park for an afternoon of fun. Reid-Coleman, a Department of Health employee in Albany, had taken advantage of Family Days before. “We’re Family Day veterans,” she said.
Her family was ready to head out into the water park portion of the Great Escape, and Colin and Blake shyly revealed they are big fans of the lazy river ride.
Reid-Coleman said Family Day isn’t the only MBP benefit she has taken advantage of, she also uses discounted movie tickets and travel benefits.
Shannon, a PEF member from Utica, had also been to a few Family Day events and she said she uses quite a few other union member benefits, such as financial services, movie ticket benefits, defensive driving discounts, and PEF travel benefits, among others.
Shannon said she has passed on her knowledge of MBP benefits to new coworkers. “My coworker started and I told her about the hotel discounts,” she said. The woman had already booked a hotel, but was able to call and get the discount applied after the fact, saving her money.
PEF MBP Administrator Scott Harms said all three events drew sold-out crowds this year — double last year, since the MBP trustees had increased this year’s ticket capacity to allow more people to attend. “This year was substantially larger than any of the past events we’ve had,” Harms said. “Last year the biggest event we had was 1,100 at the Great Escape.”
This year, attendance at the Great Escape maxed out at just under 2,300, New Jersey’s event was just under 2,000, and Darian Lake drew around 1,300.
Everyone Harms talked to at the Great Escape had good things to say about the day. “We had a ton of positive feedback because the cost is so low and is subsidized so much by us,” he said. “It’s $15 and you get free parking, admission to the park, and a buffet lunch. Just the value and ability to bring the family for such a reduced price, everyone was really appreciative and really loved the event.”
MBP and the trustees thought it was important to increase membership engagement efforts, which is why ticket quantity limits were increased this year, Harms said. “We increased the number of people that could attend,” he said, explaining that while each member was still limited to purchasing six tickets, the number of available tickets had been increased and allowed for more PEF families to participate.
Next year is already in prep stages. “We are in the process of planning 2020 as we speak,” Harms said. “We hope to have an announcement by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.”
To learn more about PEF member benefits, visit the website at www.buymbp.com or call 1-800-342-4306, ext. 243.
CLICK HERE to view all stories featured in the September 2019 Communicator!
Follow and Like Us On:
For best desktop viewing use the latest Google Crome browser