A Day in the Life: Happy Campers

Happy campers
Happy campers

Like many kids in the U.S., third graders from Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena, CA, headed to camp this summer. But their camp involved something a little different than the typical routine of hiking, swimming and crafts. 

That's because they went to Camp Villa, an inaugural program hosted at Villa Gardens, a Front Porch continuing care retirement community. 

Residents already helped tutor students from Jefferson, so continuing that intergenerational bond through the summer seems like a natural fit, says Brice Harris. He is a Villa Gardens resident and former college history professor who helped generate activity ideas for the program. 

“We tried to find things in which residents are experts, and saw if they'd be willing to participate in a discussion,” Harris says. 

He led a series on ancient Egypt, while other residents tapped into their passions for storytelling, astronomy, music and bird watching. The four-week program, which brought together 18 students and nearly 50 residents, “went over very well,” Harris says. He adds similar intergenerational programs could benefit CCRCs across the country. 

“These kids are the future of our country. People like me aren't going to be around much longer, but these kids are,” he observes. “If we can show them how old and new can relate together, that's a good thing.”