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Marching into Fun

Can you believe it is March already? 2016 is well under way. The question for you today is, "how have you improved the offerings that you present to your community?" I believe that if you are not changing it up, or adding more to the calendar of events, that you are not as successful in your job as you can be - or should be for that matter. 

Being in the field of providing recreational programs is an opportunity to enhance residents' lives. If you are not doing that, it is not fair to those who you serve. There are plenty of resources available to you so that you can be awesome at your job. Today, I will share a few new ideas that I brought to my community this year. 

  • Wii Jeopardy and Wii Wheel of Fortune  I have people who are active Wii bowlers in the community, and I have residents who leave evening programs in order to get home to see Wheel of Fortune and/or Jeopardy on television. So, I found the Wii games on Amazon, and ordered them. I planned the activities at the same time, but different day of the week, as the existing Wii bowling game. I encouraged an audience, since most of us are sure we would never want to show off our lack of knowledge to those around us. 
    • The games only permit 3 people to play at a time - just like on the shows, which is another reason to really push the idea of coming to be in the audience. I found both the Jeopardy and the Wheel of Fortune games to be easy to figure out. I stayed with the groups for the first few meetings to get them started, to introduce it to new comers, and to lend support when they needed it. While in the learning phase of this game, I did rotate players, so that more people could learn it. I switched people between regular Jeopardy and double Jeopardy.  The only thing that I would suggest is that for final Jeopardy, that when contestants are making their final wager, that the others turn their back or cover their eyes.... if they want to be truly competitive.  (Mine did not.) I do think that these two new calendar events are going to continue to be well attended and that some of the audience members will be contestants as well. (This has happened already.) 
  • Name that Tune - I saw this game being played on a cruise ship that I was on while escorting a group recently. It seemed so simple to put together, and it was fun for me as a participant in the audience. But, I will tell you up front, that this did require more time than I thought it would o put together. There are games on-line that do what I wanted to do, but not with music from the decades that I needed. (The 20's, 30's and 40's!!) 

    • I used music that I had and uploaded them to my laptop. You can also use Amazon Prime music or another online music provider, if you have that as an option. I listened to the first 10 - 15 seconds of each song. If the song said the title in it right away, it was not a good song to use. This is what took most of my time.
    • I created an answer sheet and provided it to the audience members who wanted to participate. I had groups and individuals play, so the room was set up with tables as well as rows of chairs. I had mostly groups and it worked out well.
    • I played the music through my auditorium sound system and "hammed it up" in between songs. I found that I need an adapter to take sound from the laptop to the microphone jack on the stage. It is not expensive and I've used it many times already. 

  • 4 Pictures 1 Word - This is another game that I saw on board the ship. Just like above, it is run from your computer. There are on line games where you can get ideas from, but I have not found one that I could simply show on the screen in the Auditorium in the manner that I want to have. So, this will be (haven't finished it yet) done on PowerPoint and played using the same answer sheet from the Name that Tune game. If you are not comfortable with creating Power Point presentations, here is a link to the PowerPoint for Dummies book.  

  • Coloring for Adults is all the rage right now. (Here is a good article about the benefits of adult coloring from CNN.) Some of our residents are already aware of this and are coloring on their own. I decided to add it to my calendar and see what the response was. I invited residents who were currently coloring to attend with their supplies and those who are not coloring, to attend and use my supplies. I will have this in one of our lounge areas, where it is quiet, calm and more home-like then in our activity rooms that are in our club house. I will also provide outdoor seating if the day allows for it, since this lounge faces one of our lakes. There will also be soft background music available if the participants want to hear it. 
I hope you will come back to my blog again soon to read about the results of the last two programs that I mentioned above. I also encourage you to comment below with a program or two that you have added or enhanced recently, so that we can all learn from each other. You may also leave comments on my Facebook page, Recharging Retirees, or on my Twitter page, Ideas4Seniors.

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