August 9, 2016 // 5:04 PM
Look & Learn
Written by Trish Lauer
Just inside the front door of the Village Square Visitor Center, Caren Creek, Megan Farber, and Kelly Sweigart greeted people as they walked over to a table covered with a deep red, logoed tablecloth. They were signing in for a Look and Learn Seminar with smiles on their faces as they picked up information packets, pens, and paper – all the necessary tools for taking notes.
While waiting for the event to begin, some guests got a cup of coffee from the complimentary beverage bar as others opted for a specialty Starbucks beverage over at Refresh. Casual conversation flowed naturally, an aspect to the Village Square that was thoughtfully considered during its renovation. Buzzing with energy, the air was filled with cheer. Mothers and their babies sat at the Refresh coffee bar as people of all ages were scattered about the Square. At a glance, you’d never suspect you were in a “retirement community.”
Garden Spot Village isn’t your typical age-restricted community. “One of the words we try to avoid is ‘senior’,” says Scott Miller, Chief Marketing Officer. “We look at people as people, not as ‘senior citizens’, which is one of the reasons those in their late 50s and early 60s are comfortable living here.”
By the time Megan’s presentation was to begin, all 36 attendees had made their way to the Chapel. Most were first-time visitors; however, there were repeat visitors and Future Residents (those who previously provided an application and are financially qualified), including those on the Radar Screen. They spanned all ages and marital statuses; some also attended with their adult children. It was a typical Look and Learn crowd.
After the presentation came lunch. Doug Berry, a Garden Spot Village resident of two years, hosted a luncheon table of six. Having an extra seat, Scott asked if he could join the group. As everyone dined, Scott asked what people thought about the presentation and the table was in agreement that it was very informative and helpful. “We’re on the Radar Screen,” Bill, one of the day’s guests, commented, “but we’ve never been to a presentation, so we thought we’d come. Megan did a wonderful job, covering a lot of territory and answering everyone’s questions. It was really good – we’re glad we came.”
Another guest, Pauline, asked Scott about the lifestyle at Garden Spot. He began to tell her about the focus on relationships and community; the wide variety of clubs, including some specialty groups few know about; how Facility Services takes care of all maintenance and Campus Services handles tasks such as mowing the grass and shoveling snow. “Before I moved here,” Doug added, “I’d have to winterize my house and turn off the water before we went to Florida. Then I’d worry if everything was okay the entire time I was there. Here, I just turn down the thermostat, tell Resident Services we’ll be in Florida, lock the door and leave. It’s so easy and there’s nothing to worry about – they take care of everything.”
“One of the things I wish I could figure out how to do is help people understand just how amazing the lifestyle is at Garden Spot Village,” Scott said. “Until someone actually lives here, it’s hard to comprehend the freedom that people experience because all of the day-to-day drudgery is taken care of. People can pick up and go do the things that are really meaningful to them. In addition, Garden Spot Village works very hard to help people embrace their passions and find like-minded people with similar interests. So often people will say ‘I’m not ready’ and the reason they think that is, is because they have a completely uninformed misperception that this is a warehouse for old people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people like Doug and his wife, Janet, who realized what Garden Spot Village has to offer, move here when they are young and healthy. They don’t wait until they’re too old to do anything; they take advantage of everything that’s here and, as it turns out, it’s far better than they expected.”
The table talked throughout their meal, which included a delicious array of produce from the GSV Aeroponic greenhouse, brisket, and macaroni and cheese with crab or pulled pork. Afterward, to finish the day, Doug took the group on a tour so they could see all the different things that the people who live at Garden Spot Village experience on a daily basis.
To attend a monthly Look and Learn Seminar, please visit: https://www.gardenspotvillage.org/look-and-learn/.