Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 VRPS Senior Resource Group - Blog Number 1!

by Adriana Carr
Senior Center Director
Arlington County Department of Parks & Recreation
2017 VRPS Senior Resource Group Chair-Elect

Welcome to the first Senior Resource Group post in the VRPS blog.  Whether you work in a recreational, residential or social service setting there are a myriad of older adult related topics and issues that connect all of us in our professional lives.  In addition to the newsletter, our annual conference and the VRPS conference we hope this blog adds another layer to the conversation of working with seniors in a recreation setting.

Some of the topics we would like to explore (and this by means not a definitive list) include:
  1. Depression/Mental Illness – For example what information do we have about our participants? Which programs among our memberships do intakes? Do we try to address it through our programming?  Are we professionally equipped to take on that role?
  2. Prioritizing services to Older Adults to increase funding.  At this most recent SRG conference in Virginia Beach we were inspired by several experts in the field.  The keynote speaker Denise Scruggs asked how many of us felt we were competing for funding our programs versus that of teens (for example).  Pretty much all of us raised our hands. Does this mean we need better ways of collecting data to help the decision makers we work for support our programs?  Are we telling the stories of our programs and constituents effectively enough to ensure they are included in local policies? Is that something we should think about doing?
  3. Who do we serve?   Dr.E. Ayn Welleford cautioned us to think carefully about the words we use to describe our constituents.  It is a diverse demographic.  Between the boomers and the silent generation, we are already essentially doing intergenerational programming.  So what about that intergenerational programming?   I always have the intention of creating great programs that mix seniors and youngsters with limited success.  What is the best approach?
  4. Finally, how do we find ways to connect outside of the usual conferences, newsletter and blogs?  One idea that has been floating around is to organize a state-wide line dance event.  Chanda Nixon, Program Leader with Hampton’s Park, Recreation & Leisure Services, has been thinking about how it would look and when she suggested it at the last conference, many of you were enthusiastic about it.  So that’s one of the projects we hope to develop over the next year.  Do you have other ideas?

That’s just a few very general topics.  What are you thinking about these days as you work with your customers?  Let me or any of the other SRG board members know and we’ll talk about it here.  

Left to right:  Hope Lomax-Jones, Janice Myrick, Karen Brutsche, Adriana Carr, Cheryl Wheeler, Aaron Clay, June Snead

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