Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you take someone you love back for one last trip to the beach? The Jersey shore is place held dear in the memories of so many of the residents we serve, their family members, and of course many of us that grew up in this part of the county.
Garden team member, Emily Cuff, had this dream and shared the vision with us to consider. After many, many months and hours of planning and consideration, we were excited (and admittedly a little nervous) when Barbara Dumas and Cathleen Stewart gave us approval to move forward.
It paid off… In ways that words can never describe, eleven Garden residents and their family members had their day made over and over when they boarded the Hagey’s coach this past Tuesday morning for day trip to Ocean City, New Jersey.
The excitement was palpable Tuesday morning. Not all the residents remembered where they were going, and some thought they were getting on a plane or boat rather than bus, but the child-like excitement of leaving on vacation was in the air at the Garden.
One family member told me that every ounce of effort and every challenge was more than worth it the moment they got that first view of the ocean!
One resident, that spends many minutes of every day at the Garden wondering where she is or wondering where her family is or insisting that we need to get her to work sat so contentedly on the boardwalk. Her son said to her, “Do you know where you are mom?” and she replied, “Of course I do. This is the board walk in Ocean City”… She and her family had gone to Ocean City for years… Indeed, others from her family met her and her son there on Tuesday!
One resident that rarely speaks repeatedly said, “Beautiful, just beautiful” as associates gave her a ride in a wheelchair on the boardwalk.
Nearly everyone enjoyed ice cream and one of our residents with her husband happily patronized many of the food vendors along the board walk!
Family members bonded.
Some residents enjoyed squawking at the seagulls while others enjoyed people watching and had laughs at some of the attire they saw of those they saw on the boards and the beach. A few even got their toes in the sand!
A trip like this, with a group like this, was not pulled off without a lot of hard work! I fear I may forget to thank someone… But thank you to all that played a part big or little!
• Emily Cuff – brain child and primary planner, organizer, communicator – everything!
• Lauren Kulp – chief medic and insurer that everything would be safe
• Brittany Snyder and Andrew Phillips – RCA’s – so pleasant – so into it – did the dirty work with a smile and really cared that this was the best experience possible
• Our brave family members that trusted in us for the adventure and helped every step of the way, especially that day
• Barbara Dumas and Cathleen Stewart – for trusting in us enough to do something completely different and allowing us to “Make Their Day” in a big, big way
• ALL the associates of the Garden – those that stayed behind, those prepped in days ahead packing bags of clothing, copying transfer emergency packets and med lists and more!
• Dining – wonderful bagged lunches and snacks and beverages – all perfectly packed for the residents, their family members, the team members on the trip
• Elizabeth Ivers – our wonderful volunteer who is so reliable that it’s like having another paid associate helping us
• Security – for helping us save space for the bus
• Hagey’s bus company for trusting us that we’d do everything right to serve this challenged population on a bus trip and even helping us brainstorm what we needed to do and how we needed to adapt to make it work for this group
• And for anyone that I’m forgetting – please forgive me
It truly took a team!