Skip to main content

Invest in Your Volunteers for Big Dividends

I love it when a resident is enthusiastic about providing an activity for the community! I will do just about anything that I can to support him or her, so that they can succeed. I am sure, that as the director of activities in your retirement community, you would too. I have residents running many different programs and have written about this in a past blog called Resident Run Programs for Success

This post is about one of the programs I started a few years ago with an introductory program one evening. The game is called Scattergories, and it is played in teams. When I introduced the game to the community, my goal was two parted. The first part was to show those in attendance how easy and fun it was to play the game. I explained to them that sometimes the people on your team will be able to offer something to the question being asked, and other times they will not. This was to encourage all participants involved by allowing them to be passive if they wanted to be and that it was alright.  The next thing that I wanted to share was how much fun it was to lead the program. It was my first time leading this activity, and I let the group know that. Yes, I played at home once, but not with a group of this size.  I shared this with them on purpose so that they can see that it was something any one of them could do.

After the evening was over, I spoke to a few of the residents who had attended the introduction of Scattergories to the community. I found someone who said he would give it a try.... and he has been the leader of the program ever since. He is also the "judge" and the score keeper.  The program was held once a week and then they switched to every other week. The first year they played 12 months a year. Afterwards, they have opted to stop for the summer.  Listen to your volunteer and they will tell you how often they feel they can lead the group and how often the group wants to meet.

My volunteer came to me last week and asked if there were any new questions for the game, because he felt that those who attend would appreciate them as the new season started. I did find some new questions on-line and he was thrilled. While we waited for them to print out, I talked to him about the success of the game in the community and thanked him for the time that he has put into the activity. I talked to him about introducing a new game to the community which is another group game that I thought would be fun. He said yes, and we have a plan to share Apples to Apples with the group on one of the next Scattergories nights. As before, I will be there to share it with the players and to show the volunteer how to lead it.... and then I am sure that it will be off and running. 

The lesson that I've learned is that a little bit of time on my part can pay big dividends when I set up the activity so that a resident volunteer can take on the program and run it like a pro!  What can you do in your community that would have a big pay-off like that!

p.s. There are different versions of Apples to Apples that I have put into my Activities Director's Store, under Games, on my blog that are worth looking at if you want religious concepts or a junior version.

Popular posts from this blog

Not-So-Newlywed Game

One of the fun evenings in our community is when I host the Not-so-Newlywed Game. I’ve done this a few times and the residents really enjoy getting to know some of our couples better. It is not a program that I do every year. I like to mix it in to the calendar so that it stays fresh. I also have it based on when there are enough fun and interesting couples to participate. It is very important that those who are participating are quick witted, up-beat people, who the community knows and likes. The residents remember the real Newlywed Game with Bob Eubanks, so I make sure to speak to the couples independently and assure them that the questions will not be anything inappropriate. I explain to them that I do realize that unlike a cruise ship, that I know that they have to see the people in the audience for the rest of their lives and that I would not embarrass them.

I find that having four or five couples is perfect in order to make the program move along and stay within the one hour ti…

Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.
After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.
Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples,Wii Jeopardy,Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from t…

Volunteer Appreciation Party Ideas

Each year we have a volunteer appreciation program to thank the residents who have served the community within the past year. I try to change it each time so that it is interesting to those who have attend year after year. I have created a slide show of all the volunteers doing their job, had the residents stand up at their table and say their name and their volunteer duty, and had many different themes for the event. I think that sharing the different volunteer areas is a good idea because some people in the room are looking around at the fellow guests and thinking to themselves, "What is she doing here? She doesn't volunteer!" Funny, and most likely true in your community also.

Since I am working on the details of this year's appreciation lunch, I thought that I'd share it with you and also share what other fun ideas we've done in the past. Hopefully the ideas will help you and that you will share your thoughts with us on this blog so that we can all learn …