As I sit here to do what I enjoy – write about being an Activities Director, I find myself whining that I’m too busy. I’ve worked Monday through Saturday so far, and will be going in today for a few hours. I am looking forward to presenting a community favorite again this holiday season, a student harp recital, but, the truth is I have house work to do, shopping to get done, and this article. It’s whining, and I know it! Then it dawned on me that I had my subject for this article….. Wine-ing!
The community where I work has had a “no alcohol in the common areas” policy since the doors opened. Just recently, we’ve opened a wine section in our main dining room and have allowed residents to bring their beverage of choice into the private dining room, which is assigned to private parties. A staff representative however, cannot provide alcohol to a community event still. For example, for themed activities such as an Evening in Paris or Oktoberfest, I have provided non-alcoholic beer and wines. The residents seem to enjoy them and those who would prefer the real thing usually make a joke about it and have a good laugh with me, or bring their own to the wine section in the dining room.
Recently, I had a new resident come to me and ask about providing a wine tasting program for the community. I hesitated a bit at first, but then remembered what I say to everyone about my job…. I am there to facilitate the resident’s recreational wishes. After checking with my supervisor, I returned to the resident and told him that he could host his event. I reminded him of our company’s policy and told him that if he was the lead-person from start to finish for this activity that it would be feasible. I told him that I would put it on the community calendar and advertise it on all the communications formats in the community. I also told him that I would provide the cheese and crackers for his event. His job was to secure the private dining room, collect the money involved, provide the wine and any other supplies that he would need, such as handouts, for his program. He agreed and he now has a full list of people interested and most of the money is in his hands.
I share this story with you because it would have been just as easy for me to whine and say I can’t participate in this activity because there is wine involved – but I found a way to say YES, a way to meet the resident in the middle. It also was a way to add another activity onto my calendar, a way to permit a resident to get involved and share his talents with the community, and a way for residents to learn from someone they may or may not know in the community. I have found that resident run programs like this are usually pretty successful. I encourage you to get to know your residents. Listen when they offer to host a program. Interview them as you would an outside, paid guest and book them if it seems right. (You know the price will be.) Once you do this a few times, you might have other residents in the community step forward to share their passion. It is a win-win situation. CHEERS to a great new year with new activities on your calendar!
p.s. If you are permitted to host a wine tasting activity in your community, you might be interested in this how-to host a wine tasting party article from Real Simple magazine.