For those 200 attendees, many of whom stayed at Hotel Gander for several days, there was a scene like no other I have experienced. Let me preface that by saying, most of us are parents and grandparents, and understand that “kids will be kids.”
A group of 16 boys' soccer teams staying at the Hotel Gander literally overran the place. Many reunioners staying there and several businessmen complained loudly to staffers about the behaviour of these groups and their chaperones. Hotel management apologized, but basically threw up its hands. The cleaning staff told us "it's the worst we have ever seen" — broken window, and one parent threatening the staff and eventually being told to leave.
These youngsters held indoor soccer play in the halls all hours of the day and well into the night. Their elevator races delayed guests needing transport to and from their rooms; they constantly emptied ice machines all over the floors; and hardly ever were parents or chaperones seen around the worst offenders.
One of our reunion attendees threatened to carry a clipboard around and tell the children who were misbehaving that if she saw any more of that going on she would ban them from competing —of course she didn't because she didn't have that authority.
Our last night there, a large group of girls' hockey players occupied the rooms. They were typical teens, noisy but not destructive. They didn't appear to disturb the guests after hours.
We understand that these visiting teams are an important source of revenue to local businesses. We also understand the need to encourage teams to meet and play in Gander. Why not? But there should be some level of decorum specified and enforced, either by the recreational programs themselves or by someone in authority. Sure physical damages to a building can be repaired, but the reputation of that facility could be affected.
Is the hotel going to risk turning away paying guests? If this keeps up, they won't have to. Guests will find another place to stay, or simply not come at all.
The solution would seem to be simple. Get the powers that be...the recreation program, Town Council, and businesses (hotel management) together and define some rules along with enforcement procedures. That way, everyone can have a wonderful experience, not just a few.
Faye Lewis Raynard
Gander Academy Class of 1959
Now of Middleton, Mass.