Converted Texans Help Welcome New Residents, Visitors with Open Arms
by Rocio Villalobos
Donna’s Bit-O-Heaven RV Park & Mobile Home’s reputation for warmth and kindness precedes it. Converted Texans of 10-plus years and leaders of the Welcome Wagon, Anne Klein and Judy Hagen, help keep it so.
The idea for the Welcome Wagon arose five years ago, and the friendly pair have been managing it for the past three.
“Someone had indicated that we’re such a friendly park, why don’t we consider welcoming new residents as they come in?” Klein said. “And so, that’s how we got started.”
Beyond simply introducing themselves, they take the time to show the people around, invite them to explore the Park’s amenities, introduce them to others, and even prepare welcome bags.
“We pick up stuff from any vendors or businesses that would like us to welcome people to the Valley and communicate to them where they can shop and get their goodies,” Klein explained. “Within a week or so of new residents coming into the Park, we deliver that and ask them if they have any questions about the Park or area.”
Whether new to the RGV or just the Park, they all receive the same time and attention.
“In the beginning of the season, it’s pretty busy with new people coming in,” Klein said. “We may even just get a transient that’s in for a few days. We try to catch them before they leave to ensure they get a good impression of the Park. Maybe they’ll stay longer the next time they come. It’s the friendliness of the park that helps us.”
As such a large park--with more than 800 sites--they keep busy. And because they were once new and unsure how to make friends or get around town, they’re happy to be able to help guide others.
“I remember when I moved down here and was trying to figure out how I’m going to get to know people; I started with the activities,” Klein said. “At the time, there was no Welcome Wagon, but just seeing a friendly face coming to say hi made me feel special. So for anyone now in that position, we try to make certain we’re giving them the essentials. It’s very important when you’re in a new area, and this is such a welcoming community. We want people to get to know the Valley and residents. We feel very strongly about that.”