It’s a phrase we hear often, but in United’s case, the idea evolved literally into the making of a lemonade stand that was the catalyst for encouraging residents to contribute important life lessons they have gathered over the years.
“A lot of planning goes into our programming for every month.” Garrison Green creative facilitator Maddison Klein describes this planning process: “We try to make sure that we have an interdisciplinary focus to the programs that we offer, which means that we incorporate the arts, music, food and educational aspects into every month. We choose a theme each month that we can base some of our programs around, and for the month of September our theme was lifelong learning. Somehow that evolved into the idea of a lemonade stand, but instead of paying for a glass, we decided to ask residents to swap a life lesson in exchange for the lemonade.”
United’s creative facilitators planned an afternoon workshop so that residents could join in on the making of the stand itself. Residents painted letters onto pre-cut pieces of canvas for the lemonade stand’s banner. Martin Boutet, pictured left with Maddison, was eager to help and ended up painting all of the wood needed to construct the stand in a bright lemon colour.
Every month United hosts a Welcome Tea at each community where new residents are introduced to everyone, and are given a very warm welcome into their new home.
“The Welcome Teas are a very popular icebreaker and are designed to help residents mingle, start conversations and get to know each other,” said Maddison. “The lemonade stand got everyone thinking about positive life lessons that they could share.”
For this particular Welcome Tea the programming team set up the lemonade stand and distributed some conversation starters to get folks comfortable.
What did they come up with? Here are a just a few.
“Change the Love of Power to the Power of Love”
“Remember that not everyone does everything the same way you do”
“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”
“In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”
“Believe only some of what you see, less of what you hear”
“Go with the flow”
“Be kind to one another”
“Make every day worthwhile”
“Don’t go into debt!”
Adds Maddison, “Our goal is to always find new ways that residents can express themselves creatively, so while the lemonade stand was successful, we are already thinking of ways we can expand it by combining it with a different program next time. It’s important that we keep our offering fresh and exciting.”
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To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.