Team White Point – works and plays at the beach!
White Point employees feel lucky to live and work at the beach
By Heather Laura Clarke, Published by Saltwire
Published online Nov 21/19
Instead of being trapped in the windowless cubicle of a stuffy building, what if your “office” was a sandy beach with an open sky and plenty of fresh air?
Dylan Meisner never thought he’d find himself working at the beach every day, and says working at White Point Beach Resort feels like a dream come true.
White Point’s Director of Operations says their employees have access to a sandpail full of benefits like a full employee benefits program, free access to all recreation facilities, a tasty meal program and community events perks — not to mention working at the beach every day.
What’s surprising, he says, is that they’re struggling to find enough employees.
White Point is currently hunting for a full-time sous chef and a bar supervisor as well as a food & beverage manager, but some people are under the impression that a career in hospitality — especially a resort — means only being employed three or four months out of the year.
That’s a myth Meisner is trying to debunk as he works to expand White Point’s team. White Point actually employs about 150 folks year-round and hires about 75 seasonal workers for the summer months.
Meisner knows what it feels like to be working “an OK job” but never feeling truly fulfilled. He grew up on the South Shore, moved away for university and then spent the next few decades working in the hospitality industry in Halifax and Saint John.
Last spring, he felt ready for a change. He suggested to his wife that it might be better to raise their four-year-old son back in his old stomping grounds of the South Shore — where they could trade the nearby refinery for plenty of fresh air and salt water.
He applied and successfully interviewed for a position at White Point, and then he and his family made the life-changing move into a house directly across the estuary from White Point Beach Resort. While his commute is along the shoreline pathway, if he wanted to, he could even paddle-board to work.
Fast forward to today, a year and a half later, Meisner says he and his family “couldn’t be happier” with their new life. He says his son is like “White Point’s little mascot,” running around the playground and enjoying the pool since the resort’s amenities are open to all employees.
“This is a wonderful place to raise a family,” says Meisner. “It’s a real family environment.”
Meisner will be stepping into White Point’s general manager role in January and says it’s going to be “a dream job” — one he’s worked hard for since he was 19.
“I love waking up and not knowing what my day’s going to be like, and getting to talk to people from all walks of life,” says Meisner. “The people who come here are wonderful, whether they’ve been coming every year for 30 years or it’s their first visit.”
He says the hospitality industry can be stressful at times, but that working at White Point “doesn’t usually feel like a job, it’s more like home.”
“Working here is relaxing and rewarding,” says Meisner. “The quality of life you can have by working here is amazing. I mean, we get to spend all four seasons at the beach!”
Some of White Point’s staffers have been working there for 30+ years, and not just in management — Meisner says there are dining room servers and dishwashers who have happily stayed on as seasons turned to years and decades.
That’s why Meisner says it “blows his mind” that they’re having such trouble hiring enough staff for hospitality positions especially in the kitchen and dining room.
“The earning potential in a busy restaurant or bar is so high. These are good jobs for people, but we just can’t seem to get enough of them to apply,” says Meisner.
Keeping this legendary oceanside destination hopping year-round takes a staff of about 225. While they do have some seasonal employees, he says they work toward keeping the majority of their team employed year-round.
He’s hoping to encourage more people from outside the area to consider coming to work for White Point in 2020, pointing out that the area boasts all the amenities and being just 90 minutes from Halifax gives you the option to work at White Point and enjoy the comforts of the city.
Of course, working at White Point is a family affair for many Nova Scotians. Meisner says it’s not uncommon to have husbands and wives working side by side, or to have their children employed at White Point at the same time.
That’s exactly the case with Lois Bowers. She started at White Point when she was just 21 years old, answering phones at the front desk. She moved into the accounting department five years later and has been working at White Point steadily for nearly 29 years.
Her two children, who are now 18 and 20, both attend school and work part-time with White Point’s recreation department on the weekends.
“It’s such a nice atmosphere here on the water. We get to meet different people, use the resort’s facilities and we have a good work/life balance,” says Bowers. “I think if I lived in the city, I’d feel rushed all the time. It’s quite lovely here.”
Jen Hartsgrove started working at White Point in 1998 when she moved to Liverpool from New Brunswick with her seven-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.
She wanted to be a server as it gave her the flexibility she needed to raise her family with the potential to earn a great living. She enjoyed the job so much that she’s still at serving 21 years later.
“I love meeting different guests and seeing them return over the years,” says Hartsgrove. “I watch our guests grow from being kids here with their parents and return to get married and come back with families of their own.”
Both of her kids have worked at White Point over the years, too. Her daughter, Chelsey, worked as a busser and her son, Michael, worked in guest services and at the bar.
“We say ‘It’s a great day at White Point,’ and it really is always a great day here,” says Hartsgrove. “That’s why so many of us come here to work and never leave.”