For decades, our Kids and Teens Program has served toddlers, teens, and every child in between, making it a perfect place to vacation with kids. This year, the program is welcoming back an old friend: Diane Hefter, who served as the ranch’s Head Kids Counselor in 1996.
After years of working with children in various capacities, Diane is returning to the ranch as the Kids and Teens Program Manager. Read on to learn more about Diane’s background and her plans for the program.
Falling In Love With C Lazy U
Diane wanted to work out west for the summer before her senior year in college so she could experience another part of the country and have unique adventures. After applying to several ranches and National Parks, Diane was invited to join the C Lazy U team and moved from North Carolina to Colorado within the week.
Diane spent the summer on the Waitstaff team and enjoyed meeting incredible people (both guests and staff). She returned that Christmas and soaked up the ranch’s festive spirit. Between the visits from Santa, the horse-drawn sleigh, and the beautiful decorations, she knew she had to return!
Becoming A Kids Counselor
After graduating college in 1996, Diane returned to C Lazy U as a Kids Counselor. The job combined her passions of being outdoors and working with children and horses, and she couldn’t get enough! She had never worked so hard or for so many hours, but the time flew by and it was so much fun that it didn’t feel like work. The children were fun, enthusiastic, and happy and the entire staff became a great group of friends who worked well together.
Diane stayed at the ranch year-round from 1996 to 1999, eventually becoming the Head Children’s Counselor. In this role, she matched kids with their horses, taught them about ranch history, told stories, planned and played endless games, and worked closely with other counselors, wranglers, families, and staff. After the summer of 1999, Diane left the ranch to pursue new opportunities and further her education.
Gaining A Robust Educational Background
Diane ultimately decided to become licensed to teach elementary education. She completed a Post-Baccalaureate Program at the University of Northern Colorado and earned her Masters in Elementary Education. She moved back to North Carolina to be close to her family, where she taught in a traditional 1st-grade classroom. Then she became a Montessori preschool teacher and taught 3-5 year olds for 18 and a half years.
Returning to C Lazy U
Since leaving Colorado in 2001, Diane has been looking for a way to return. After the East Troublesome Fire affected the C Lazy U in October 2020, Diane reached out to old friends and coworkers on the ranch. Reconnecting with old friends brought back the wonderful memories of C Lazy U, and Diane looked at the ranch website to see what’s new and what had stayed the same. Long story short, she applied for a reservationist position because it was the only year-round position posted, and was ultimately offered the position of Children’s Program Manager. Diane is thrilled to once again combine her love of children, horses, and the great outdoors at C Lazy U.
The Future Of the Children’s Program
As the Program Manager, Diane will curate new and exciting activities while honoring some of the traditions that families and kids love. Safety is a top priority on the ranch, so she’ll work closely with the rest of the C Lazy U team to ensure the safety of our youngest guests. Between COVID-19 and the East Troublesome Fire, C Lazy U has overcome many challenges in the past year, and Diane is excited to help the ranch move forward and create programs that will continue to thrive and endure for years to come. Since she accepted the job, Diane has been working hard to plan new activities and games that will go along with traditional favorites, including more activities with horses.
The entire C Lazy U family is excited to welcome Diane back to the team as we continue to create the best family vacation destination in the West. With new and exciting program activities and adventures fit for the whole family, your family will create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Contact us today to make your reservation!