Monday, December 25, 2017

Senior Exercise Group in Verse

Parks and Recreation Director
South Boston, Virginia


Who are these people so energetic, vibrant, loving and seemingly
without a care, who greet and hug me as if was a teddy bear.

 Smiles, Hugs/handshakes going everywhere who are these
people who greet you, and actually happy that you are there.

 How are you, where have you been, glad you are better, and welcome back my friend.

The Recreation Center has become a church without a steeple,
 and through the doors come so many good people.

Some walk and talk, while others walk and silently pray for whatever
it is they need today.

 Weights clatter, and the users fill the weight room with gleeful chatter, and some gather just to hear the silly things that Seymour will say.

 And for the Lazy one’s Ms. Mitch will lovingly say, you ain’t done nothing today at least walk a few laps before you sit
down or go in there to play.
 Exercising is never a bore, while some walk others play cornhole
 in the middle of the floor. And our pool player’s men and women all pair up to play, and that’s where they spend most of their day.
 In their own time, and in their own way these adults have become children again as they laugh and play.

And I just do my best to be helpful and to stay out of their way.

Monday, December 18, 2017

LTI Testimonial - Kristen Hamill, CPRP

Recreation Program Supervisor
Newport News Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Past VRPS Leadership Training Institute (LTI) Co-Chair
2018 LTI Committee Member

In 2010 my supervisor encouraged me to attend LTI.  I decided to attend and loved every minute of my time on the mountain.  I met many new people in our field and was able to learn many different team building skills and different ways to lead.  I had so much fun I attended again in 2012 and then decided I would like to serve on the committee.  I was accepted as a member of the planning committee and have been involved in the 2014, 2016 and now the 2018 institute.  I have served as secretary and co-chair during my time on the committee.  During my time on the committee I was promoted twice at work.  If you have ever wondered if attending LTI would help you have better chances at promotions, I feel I am an example that it can.  LTI is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about yourself and your style of leading.  If you are debating attending the 2018 institute, I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

We Convened, We Conferred, We Concurred

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

We Convened, We Conferred, We Concurred – 
2017 Senior Resource Group Annual Conference 

Parks and recreation is an important piece of the solution for older adults.
Lesha Spencer-Brown, NRPA

In the middle of fall foliage tours, pumpkins festivals and other programs that keep our constituents busy, we take time to improve our skills and learn as much as we can.  That’s how we live inspired and focused as empowered professionals. So on a sunny September day in Reston, VA, the VRPS Senior Resource Group hosted recreation professionals from across the state to learn from experts in the fields of aging and recreation. 

Our mission for the day was to provide information and tools that would empower our colleagues in their day to day responsibilities and in their careers.  VRPS 2017 President LaTanya Turner opened the conference by talking about her experiences working with older adults. Like many of us, she admired their accomplishments, experiences and was inspired by their stories.

There were many highlights from SRG conference.  Miki Goerdt, LCSW from Arlington County Department of Human Services, delved into the underlying factors that can affect the interactions we have with our customers.  As one participant points out “she gave great information to be used at work and in one’s personal life.”  Marti Bailey from Sibley Hospital analyzed the nuances and power of the words we use and the misunderstanding they create when we unknowingly use ageist language.  Her session inspired one member of her audience to “be a champion of change for how I and others around me use words.”

The keynote speech, delivered by Lynn A. Reid and several members of her team, profiled the incredible gains and findings of the Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging especially in the area of recruiting and retaining high quality volunteers to work at their various senior centers.

In the afternoon, representatives from Loudoun County and the National Council on Aging focused on tools and skills that help improve our programming.  Catherine Motivans, Accessibility Services Manager for Loudoun County, tackled the iceberg of cross cultural understanding.  With the rapid demographic changes occurring in Loudoun County as the centerpiece of her presentation, Ms. Motivans provided the audience with skills they could apply to build language awareness and serve patrons with limited English abilities.

Brandy Bauer and Hayoung Kye demonstrated the various features of the National Council on Aging’s Aging Mastery Program©.  Designed to help older adults make the most of their longevity, this tool also provides materials and information that can help each individual to create his or her own playbook.

While we work in different jurisdictions there are many workplace factors we all have in common.  We all agreed that our populations are becoming more diverse and how we navigate that change will determine the success of our programs. We all have customer service challenges.  The three major groups that continue to impact our work are baby boomers, culturally diverse populations and older, more frail seniors. All which makes professional development so important.

One source you should check out is the NRPA blog about healthy aging initiatives.  We all know someone who is an older adult and we all know how important socializing and recreation are to our communities no matter what age. Lesha Spencer-Brown, who wrote the blog agrees with us: “older adults are the pillars of our communities. We cannot claim to improve community health without factoring in the health of older adults and making them a priority. Many programs and services currently offered for older adults need to be more robust and address multiple factors that affect their health and wellbeing.”  This increased awareness is probably a result of two things, the increased numbers of the retirees moving into our areas and the awesome work we all do every day.  As the risk of sounding cliché, I do believe that we (recreational professionals who work with older adults) are turning a corner.  One way to continue the progress is to keep the conversation going.  What recommendations would you give to the decision makers in your agency for healthy aging initiatives that can be implemented in your agency today or in the near future? 

Karen Brutsche
Janice Myrick
Cheryl Wheeler
Hope Lomax-Jones
June Snead
Debra Foster
LaTanya Turner

Monday, December 4, 2017

Town of Luray's Tobacco Free Parkland

The Virginia Department of Health's Tobacco Use Control Program implemented a "Welcome to Our Tobacco Free Parkland " initiative in 2016, which includes signage sponsored by VDH.

Town of Luray has posted 8 signs in total, including in Lake Arrowhead and Ralph Dean Park locations.