Project Open Hand, A Giving Experience

 As interns at RaceTrac, we decided to participate in a volunteer event at Project Open Hand, a charity that provides meals to persons with disabilities.  Arriving early on a Saturday morning, none of us knew what to expect out of this experience.  We were quickly shuffled into a meeting room where we had to sign liability waivers, and were shown a video on the charity.  Having an idea of what we were now getting into, it was time to suit up!  Project Open Hand really goes above and beyond when it comes to food safety.  I know what you’re thinking, hairnet right?  WRONG!  They decked me out in full food safety garb, that’s right, beard net, apron, and arm hair sleeves. I seriously looked like a hazmat operator/Santa Clause. 

After suiting up, we went into the kitchen where it was time to commence working.  To be honest it was actually a very efficient operation.  I was impressed with how many people lend their time to this organization that is dedicated to helping other people.  They were appreciative of the help that everyone was able to offer and they were dedicated to their cause.  Project open Hand delivers 4,000 meals a day in the Atlanta Area and being a part of this process gave me a greater appreciation for what they actually do.  Project Open Hand is responsible for helping many people in the area and they do it all out of their willingness to help others.  This was a great experience for me and opened my eyes to all the good that Project Open Hand does in the community.  I want to take the time to thank RaceTrac for organizing this event and allowing me to be a part of it. 

-Rachel Beauchamp, RaceTrac Intern

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What I did on Summer Vacation

Our Talent Manager, Steve, gives us his thoughts from his summer vacation

Who’s Holding Your Ladder?

I had the opportunity to take a vacation the last week of June this year and I spent it with my family at the beach in South Carolina.  I enjoy that vacation every year, but this year it was particularly nice, and for a couple reasons.

1. Wow, I REALLY needed a vacation this year.  Everyone knows what it feels like to be stressed, tired, etc.  That’s why we are afforded vacation time to recharge our batteries when they are on empty and I certainly took advantage of the opportunity to fully recharge my battery.

2. I read Who’s Holding Your Ladder? by Samuel Chand and found it to be one of the most impactful leadership books I have read.

So what was so great about this book?  I mean, a leadership book, we have all read them, but what was so great about this book.  Who’s Holding Your Ladder? is a leadership book that focuses on picking a strong support team.   Mr. Chand describes this as a leader’s most difficult decision.

Do you focus on your team and teammates?  Or do you set limitations based on your own personal abilities?

To use a great example from Mr. Chand, I ask you, who out there has ever climbed Stone Mountain right here in Atlanta, GA?  Did you climb it alone?  There is a good chance many of you did.  Could you climb it alone?  Of course you could as it is nothing more than a casual stroll up a slight incline. 

Now, who out there has ever climbed Mt. Everest?  For those that have indeed climbed Mt. Everest, did you climb it alone?  Not a chance.  It takes a team, a very strong and skilled team to summit Mt. Everest.

So, now on to your question.  Steve, why would I go through selecting and training with a team to climb Mt. Everest when I can climb Stone Mountain on my own?  Great question, and I answer it like this.  Whether it is climbing a mountain, the corporate ladder, or achievements in your personal life you are absolutely limited to how high you can go if you choose to climb alone.  Strong and effective teams allow you to reach heights you could never reach solo. 

So, to quote Mr. Chand, “Who’s holding your ladder?”

With Introspective Thoughts,,

Talent Manager, Steve Isbill

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 6, The End

Ladies and Gentlemen the guide to “The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness” has come to an end. From food frenzies to rocking out in the car, each tip will surely provide a creative and unique way to burn off some of those calories.  Perhaps now the winter weight once gained from adding extra marshmallows to my hot chocolate will soon shed off by completing the suggested pool floaties exercises. In addition, I am sure to obtain some fun and friendship bonding with my weekly recreational kickball games. If I happen to be packing in some extra calories from my late night candy binges, I can always utilize one of the many free gym trial passes offered around the RaceTrac  Store Support Center. The options to have fun, lose weight and be beach family photo glam are endless! It’s simple, of course, the answer is the perfect equation of food, fun, free, friends and floaties.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern,
Ariel

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 4, Friends

FRIENDS: As an intern living at home, I have quickly learned that there is nothing more valuable than friends. While nothing beats a wholesome and lighthearted family dinner, a surplus of family time tends to call for some friendship bonding, especially when Monday night dinners include the crazy cat lady from next door. Unlike the Friends cast, I do not have a regular hotspot hangout, like The Central Perk, so, if I want to hang out with my gal pals, like Rachel Greene and Phoebe Buffay, I must arrange plans.

Typical plans involve preliminary searches of Yelp.com’s latest restaurant ratings or how many thumbs up Ebert and Roeper gave Owen Wilson’s recent comedy. Very rarely do my activity suggestions include sports, unless of course  it involves cheering at a Brave’s Game or jumping in the pool for a quick swim, after a day of tanning.

However, there is a great way to get involved in sports and still fulfill my summer plans of soaking up the sun with friends by my side. By joining a local sports league, I have the ability to get a great exercise outdoors and still find out all the latest makeups and breakups in my gal pal group. As an added bonus, I have the opportunity to make more friends through a sports league, so that the next time my dad does something embarrassing at a family function; I have a larger group to text blast.

No matter one’s age or physical acumen, sports can certainly make your life healthier and happier. Aside from health benefits, sports can also improve talents in the work place. By polishing one’s hand-eye coordination, teamwork and sportsmanship, sports can produce valuable skills that can be enforced and implemented into daily tasks at the office. Not to mention, sports easily reduces stress to clear one’s mind. And of course, as always, sports are an excellent exercise. They are good for your heart, muscles and even your breathing!

These leagues are just as easy to find as movie show times! Using a multitude of sports league websites, interested individuals can seek out these opportunities and get involved! So, next time that crazy cat lady neighbor of yours comes over for a Monday night dinner, you can easily say, “While I’d love to stay and talk about fur balls and pet food, I have to meet up with some friends for a recreational kickball game!”

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

The Pefect Forumla for Summer Fitness: Part 3, Free

FREE: The work day has ended and is time to get in my car and let loose belting out show tunes and oldies, as “The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness” recommends. On my drive home, I may want to make a few stops. Everything from the dry cleaners to the grocery store may be on my list, but one thing that definitely has not made the schedule is working out.

Many excuses can defend the working out question complex. One may ask, “Hey, do you want to go to this great kickboxing class later or a run on the treadmill?” My mind is yelling, “What are you crazy?” However, this answer is not an appropriate response. Acceptable responses include, but are not limited to; “I broke my leg recently, you just can’t tell, “Sting is in town for one night only” and “I’ve been waiting all week to watch The Bachelor.”

Saying, “I don’t know if it is worth the money” is an unacceptable excuse. Today, gyms offer everything from five day trial passes to two week trial passes. These no strings attached free-trial memberships allow first time users to experience all the gym has to offer for that allotted time period. By offering this coupon, potential members can see if a gym membership would be worth their time and money in the future.

Hypothetically, one could really utilize these free memberships all summer long. Just in Smyrna alone, there are over ten gyms. Imagine all of the free gym days that one could accrue just by stopping in a variety of gyms on their way home.

Now don’t get me wrong, these trial passes are not guaranteed to give you Suzanne Somer’s Flex Belt Abdominals or Dirk Nowitzki’s championship upper biceps, but they will truly get you on the right path to a healthier and more fit lifestyle. And who knows, perhaps you will find a new passion for working out.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness: Part 2, Fun

FUN: Whether you are “Driving your Chevy to the levee” or “Getting your kicks on route 66”, everyone has to get to work somehow.

After fueling up on a quick breakfast of fiber and protein, like step number one of “The Perfect Formula to Summer Fitness” recommends, it is time to hop into my car and drive to work. While this may be a typical long and grueling drive in the Atlanta traffic, it is in fact the best time to have fun and let loose.

It’s time to turn up the radio and sing to everything from Lady Gaga to The Rolling Stones. The driver’s seat is now my stage and my morning coffee cup may not be the highest quality microphone, but it surely suffices. Although, I intend to get a few looks when I roll down the window and belt Celine Dion’s, “My Heart Will Go On,” the health benefits singing provides are far worth the stares.

Each morning, I am sure to walk into work happier, as singing elevates one’s mood. I have more energy, an improved memory, and an increased concentration all from my Grammy award winning performance that just happened to take place on I-75 south. For those that are seeking lower blood pressure or relief from asthma, singing can be a great exercise to facilitate these health needs. In addition, the oxygen intake is a fantastic way to stay healthy, look younger and tone one’s facial muscles. Now, we all know the secret to Justin Bieber’s fresh look, singing of course!

So, as Just Bieber would harmonize, “Never Say Never” to being too embarrassed of a highway concert. Whether, it is Madison Square Garden worthy or just shower time worthy, either way singing provides an excellent jumpstart to one’s morning.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness: Part 1, Food

Summer may not officially begin for a few more weeks, but Ariel’s summer fitness formula has! As promised, the first official component of the perfect summer formula has arrived. Food.

FOOD: Food and Fitness? How can it be remotely possible that food can lead to fitness? Especially when my late night food runs continually seem to pose the age-old question, “Do you want fries with that shake?”

My typical work week involves early mornings and quite a bit of scrambling. From jumping in the shower to getting dressed and organizing my day, there is little leeway time for extra activities, including breakfast. How can I possibly catch the latest celebrity scandal on Good Morning America, if instead of scrambling for my belongings, I have to scramble eggs?

While who was voted off last night’s episode of American Idol is very serious business, eating breakfast is quite essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. Just a quick breakfast can lead to healthier dietary decisions and hold over hunger until lunchtime.  Plus, breakfast provides essential nutrients and vitamins giving one the energy for their workday.

As the summer sun rises with a glaring hot orange color, so may The Krispy Kreme sign, but a breakfast of fiber and protein is where it’s at. Grabbing a yogurt and topping it off with granola or fruit may be a tasty treat, or perhaps you want to get all Rachel Rae and prepare an omelet, either way eating a healthy breakfast is the first variable to my perfect formula for summer fitness.

A little breakfast in the morning certainly gives me a little extra incentive to finally answer, “Yes, I do want fries with that shake.”

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

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