October 4, 2016 // 4:14 PM
Written by Scott Miller
Early one Tuesday morning, Jim McAbee dropped by the Marketing office to talk about a golf outing for residents and staff appropriately named “Nine & Dine.” “Will a photographer be there?” He asked. “This would be a great event to tell future residents about.” Then he made a very interesting comment: “When we filled out a PARCR (PA Alliance of Retirement Community Residents) survey about leadership/staff and resident communication, they didn’t believe us when we told them all the ways residents interact with the employees at Garden Spot Village. At some communities, leadership interacts very little with the residents and they found what happens at Garden Spot Village very unusual."
Unusual or not, “Nine & Dine” is typical of Garden Spot Village. Many years ago, residents organized a golf outing which evolved into an annual tournament and fundraising event. Consequently, over time it involved more businesses than residents.
About three years ago, when he and his wife moved to Garden Spot Village, Hugh Dockeray went looking for others with an interest in golf and found several people who played with other groups and leagues in the area. “Hugh came to me and expressed interest in starting a golf group,” said Colleen Musselman, director of Life Enrichment. “I asked what I could do to help and support him. He was happy taking the ball and running with it, so that is exactly what happened. We have very little involvement but are ready and willing to help out in any way we can.” Today there is a thriving group of men who get together to play once a week, alternating between Hawk Valley and Fox Chase golf courses. “I send out an e-mail,” says Hugh, “and whoever can play, plays. We play nine holes every Monday. Both courses take very good care of us.”
Last year, Annie McAbee began recruiting women and it wasn’t long before a ladies group was getting together as well. “We started in June of this year and 12 of us play 18 holes once a week. Some ladies prefer to play nine and that’s okay. We make it work so that everyone can enjoy the game.”
It’s no surprise that, as Hugh and Annie gathered everyone together, the idea of a resident and staff outing began to percolate. “The annual Garden Spot Village golf tournament is pretty much a sponsored event. As you would expect, as a fundraiser, the registration fees are not inexpensive. We wanted an outing that was very reasonably priced and involved both residents and staff.” Thus the idea of “Nine & Dine” was born.
Organized by Hugh and Annie, they drafted a registration form that the marketing team helped to format and print. Life Enrichment then advertised the event, and 40 people signed up. At Fox Chase on a Wednesday afternoon, there was a shotgun start of mixed teams on the front nine that included residents and staff. Afterward, a fabulous sit-down dinner was served in the clubhouse. People could sign up for golf, the dinner, or both. A number of spouses who didn’t play golf joined the after party in the clubhouse. All in all, the day was an enjoyable success.
“The reviews have been great,” said Hugh. “Everyone had a wonderful time. We’re going to get some feedback and start planning for next year.” The idea from the start was to create a casual event that provided a chance for residents and staff to relax and enjoy each other’s company. It’s actually pretty cool to be part of an environment where the idea of relationships is so highly honored and people are encouraged to find ways to get to know each other a little better.