By Shannon Finley
The Village’s first activities coordinator, Janet Starr Osborne was hired in the summer of 1978. Forty years later, Janet briefly rejoined JKV as a retirement counselor. Many of the committees included in this history were formed at the suggestion of activities coordinators through the years.
In the early years, the chapel, located at 1-A and 1-B Jonquil, hosted many of the Village’s activity programs such as Koffee Klatches, slides and holiday gatherings as well as Sunday Vespers. The activities office was located across from the chapel on Jonquil and a small room inside the office was home to bridge, arts and crafts, and pocket billiards. Next to the activities office was an old fashioned ice cream parlor and beauty shop. The ice cream parlor was a great location for small gatherings and birthday parties.
The first all-Village event was a Fall Festivities celebration which took place on Jonquil Court. The celebration was attended by current and future residents, staff and families. Also in attendance were the mayor of Orange City and Rosie O’Grady’s band.
In July 1979, an activities meeting was called in the chapel and three committees were formed: Recreation and Entertainment, Volunteering, and Welcoming. Of the three committees, the first to formally be instituted the following year was the Recreation and Entertainment Committee.
By June 1980, the work of four groups: Volunteer and Welcoming Committees, Knox Neighbors and the Sunshine Committee were combined to create Village Friends. The Sunshine Committee was originally formed during the community’s Aldersgate years. Members visited the ill, lonely and bereaved and sent cards and flowers when appropriate.
In the early years, the Friends were responsible for welcoming and orienting new residents as well as ordering name tags and door tags. Should an unexpected problem arise, Village Friends were there to help.
A second activities coordinator was soon added. In addition to working with independent living residents, Debbie (Roche) Shields also helped develop an activity program for the Med-Center when it opened in September 1980. It was not long before a part-time activity coordinator was added specifically for the Med-Center.
1980 also witnessed the creation of the Garden Club which helped with the landscaping of the Village. The club also took care of plants in the Centre, assigned plots in the resident garden and planned and planted the Memorial Rose Garden. The club also supervised the cutting of flowers for patients in the Med-Center and for especially approved events.
Another early club was the arts and crafts group. During Christmas times, its members made decorations for the Village Christmas trees and for the Med-Center as well as items to be sold in the Gift Shop. The group sponsored classes in sewing, macramé, fabric painting and other arts.
One of the longest running activities in the Village is the Hobby Shop. Open five days a week, the Hobby Shop has provided space, equipment and volunteers to help residents and staff with projects such as restoring furniture since 1979! The group assisted in the construction of much needed items for the Village such as a moveable platform that could be used as a stage as well as the arbor for the Rose Garden.
Today’s Recycling Committee’s roots were established in 1979 when the Village began the collection and sale of aluminum. Later the collection of newspaper was added and the Recycling Committee was born. The monies earned from the collection and sale of these items bought needed equipment for the Village.
Once the Centre and the apartments were constructed, table tennis and billiards were organized. Table tennis was originally located on the first floor of the Bay building and was frequently played. In 1981, two billiards tables were set up in a room in the Centre. Instruction and free play was available. By 1983, participation by the ladies in the Village was so popular that Wednesday nights were ladies’ play.
By 1979, card games were a popular activity for our residents. From bridge to pinochle and rummy, card games were scheduled weekly, while games without cards were played on a weekly “fun and games night.”
In the early 1980s, a Travel Club slowly evolved from slide show presentations and brown bag suppers, where residents who had lived abroad or travelled extensively shared stories and slides from their trips. Members of the audio/visual club assisted by running the slide show or
When the Centre’s library opened in April 1981, the library had 400 hard cover books and 200 paperbacks. By October the shelves were almost full and 20 large-type books were added. Additional book purchases were made possible by individual gifts, proceeds from book sales and game parties as well as contributions from Village committees. In the first quarter, more than 1,500 items were checked out. Today, our new library houses close to 4,000 books which can be browsed from the online catalog.
As our Village grew, so did our residents’ interest in other activities. Outings to restaurants, dinner theaters, Stetson University and local attractions were made possible with the addition of a 21-seat bus which was soon followed by a 45-passenger Blue Bird to accommodate large groups. Our first variety show was performed in 1981 for Halloween which featured the Village’s Kitchen Band, a Tall Tales contest and a one-act play.
Over the years, fashion shows, picnics and Fourth of July fireworks displays kept the Village entertained. These early events and activities have blossomed into delightful traditions like Cornberry Festival and the Employee Appreciation skits, which will also develop into other wonderful traditions for residents and employees to share.
Many of the Recreation and Education Committees, which were in existence between 1979 and 1983, still exist today. A few examples are:
• Arts and Crafts
• Book Review
• Card Games
• Hobby Shop
• Pocket Billiards
• Saturday Morning Socials
• Singles Dinners
• Special Socials (dining room)
• Table Tennis
• Village Friends
• Voters’ Services