It was a case of young hooking up with the not-so-young at the West Pine Lodge in Winfield recently as five students from Buck Mountain Central High School chipped in to do a bit of yard work to spruce up the Lodge.
Four Grade 11 students including Can Johnsen, Dustin Hayes, Trevor Rooyakkers and Aaron Heeney along with Grade 10 student Joe Parry, rolled up their sleeves and spent a long day toiling in garden and landscaping work, much to the delight of the residents.
“This was a school program and the principal had the idea of bringing young people closer to the seniors,” said Sabine Schiefen, activity coordinator at the Lodge. “He felt they lose the connection or the contact to the seniors completely, so the idea was to bring some young people to the lodges to make contact or spend the day with the seniors.”
She said after the call went out for volunteers, the five students stepped up to the plate and soon after found themselves digging up old trees and stumps and restocking the yard and garden area with new foliage including an assortment of beautiful flowers which were either donated by the greenhouses or purchased with a $300 donation from the Town of Wetaskiwin.
While the students may have broken a bit of a sweat during the day, the objective of bring the two generations together worked out very well and may have laid the foundation for some future visits.
“It turned out to be really fun and the seniors liked it very much and all of a sudden the two groups started to have conversations with each other,” Schiefen said. “It went so well that I’m thinking we will bring them back in the fall and make it a by-yearly event in the spring and the fall to help out the seniors. The students loved it and I think they are willing to come back in the fall and help out again. It was really tough work and they really did their share.”
As for the completed job, Schiefen said the Lodge looks great in light of the fact that they don’t have a dedicated maintenance man for yard and garden duties and added that the work gave the facility a very warm and welcoming appeal.
“It looks so good. It’s blooming all over. We have hanging baskets that were donated from the greenhouses so the yard looks beautiful,” she said. “It looks very well organized, nice, clean and very welcoming. It’s very cozy. I’m hoping that when people come to the lodge – no matter who they are, that they get a wonderful, homey impression.”
On another note, Schiefen announced that the West Pine Lodge is now under new management and will be operated by the Bethany Group – the province’s seventh largest management group of senior’s housing. Formerly, the Lodge fell under the management of Community Seniors Homes and Community Housing.