Edmonds Kind of Play: The value of intergenerational activities

Edmonds Landing Marketing Director Victoria Cole helps Velva Salterelli adjust her purple bandana cape during Edmonds Landing’s 2017 Walk Around The Block event.

Just out of high school, I worked in the dining hall of a retirement community – the decor looked a lot like a Marie Callender’s, with coordinated chairs and carpeting and decorative touches only seen in a restaurant. My great-grandfather used to come over to my grandparents’ home for dinner, so until I took this job, things like how you might get or even cut up your dinner, never occurred to me. Now, while I wasn’t particularly good at every part of this job, interacting with the residents was a highlight. Sometimes after dinner, while we were cleaning up the dining room, one of the residents would sit at the piano just outside the entrance and play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and there’s no non-cliche way to say just how sweet it was. Having younger parents myself, my family had multiple members on the great-grandparent level, but even then, my time working at the retirement community gave me a different kind of exposure and understanding, one that I was grateful for, especially as my family got older.

Last month, I went to my first Chamber of Commerce luncheon. When the participants went around the room introducing themselves, I heard from Victoria Cole, Marketing Director of Edmonds Landing, described as “Gracious Retirement & Assisted Living.” Cole talked about their annual “Walk the Block” event, where Edmonds Landing residents and volunteers team up to walk around the block and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. After the event, Teresa Wippel, founder and publisher of My Edmonds News,  told me more about the event and how Edmonds, especially with the new and updated Senior Center/Edmonds Waterfront Center, had a lot of multi-generational opportunities/activities. I am going to tell you about Walk the Block, a multi-generational music camp at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, and some information on the new Edmonds Waterfront Center.

I was excited to talk to Victoria Cole myself about the 4th Annual Walk the Block event, set for Aug.15 from 1 to 2 p.m. Cole explained that the event came to be when Edmonds Landing resident Velva Salterelli came up with the idea after losing her husband, “Salty” Salterelli to Alzheimer’s. “This is how I help honor and remember Salty, Velva told My Edmonds News.

Cole says the residents “practice” for the walk, which heads south on Dayton, north on Sunset, East on James and back south on 2nd to the main entrance at 180 2nd Ave. S., though residents and volunteers can do more or less as needed. She said there is no age limit for the volunteers and that “anybody and everybody” is welcome to participate in this event. While it starts at 1 p.m., Cole suggests that volunteers arrive around 12:45 and wear purple if they can. There is also a suggested donation of $5 per walker to the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information on Walk the Block, you can visit EdmondsLanding.com

Intergenerational steel drum camp. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Center for the Arts)

Next week, the Edmonds Center for the Arts is offering “Intergenerational Steel Drum Camp with The Seattle Steel Pan Project and Silver Kite Community Arts” – Silver Kite “offers award-winning intergenerational programs designed to connect generations through the arts.” This week of camp for both teens (6th grade and up) and adults over the age of 55 is structured so that young people play together in a special morning session. They then “take the lead” to help their adult band-mates “with the objective to provide leadership and mentor opportunities to both youth and adults.” At the end of each camp day, the band members eat lunch together. The younger half of this camp meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the adults (55+) join them from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. With online registration, there is still time to join this camp next week! You can link directly to the camp page HERE, where you can click “buy ticket” to register on the Edmonds Center for the Arts site.

A artist’s rendering of the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

I’ll admit that, to me, Edmonds Senior Center has always been a great place to park, a great location for Pokemon Go, and the part of my walk where you might see the eagles out on those posts in the middle of the water. I was surprised to read Gary Haakenson’s commentary on My Edmonds News about “just exactly what used to go on at the Edmonds Senior Center.” He said that while the new Edmonds Waterfront Center is being built, they are now operating 71 programs in 12 different locations throughout south Snohomish County. He gave a long list of these programs, including haircuts, Mah Jong, yoga and genealogy, saying “you don’t have to be a senior to partake in these and many more activities.” In reading about the future of the site, the Edmonds Senior Center, in partnership with the city of Edmonds, explains that “during weekdays ESC will continue its dynamic and engaging programs for seniors, while from 4 to 9 p.m., the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will offer a range of educational and recreational programs.” The Senior Center does have a membership fee — $25 for a single membership and $45 for a couple.

For more information on the Waterfront Center project, you can visit EdmondsSSC.org/EWC.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

One Reply to “Edmonds Kind of Play: The value of intergenerational activities”

  1. Jen – wonderful article and the Senior Center/Waterfront Center appreciates your well expressed sentiments. Our former President, Rose Cantwell, often said that for too long we have separated people by age – young people in schools, old people in assisted care facilities, and the remainder in jobs. She had a strong sense that this has been a mistake to the detriment of all generations. All of the inter-generational programs we have done at the Center and at Edmonds Woodway High School have shown that young and old have much to learn from each other, much to offer and much to enjoy. To hear teens say with conviction that it’s really cool to hang out with old people and vice versa was a revelation for all. The new Waterfront Center while continuing to offer programs that are relevant to older people, will feature many more inter-generational programs than we do at present. We would love to have you involved.

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