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Activity Department TrainingWhat happens when a group of activity directors get together to discuss their roles and exchange ideas? As one would imagine, the end result is a lively and animated gathering. At the recent Department Learning Summit held at Ruth’s House in Longmeadow, activity heads from the entire organization came together to share ideas, strategies and stories. The group also took part in comprehensive training and development sessions.

“There was a huge amount of shared energy and excitement around the day,” remarked Claire Massero, director of analytics and performance improvement at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and JGS Lifecare. “In person face-to-face time is so important for us all, along with the opportunity to tour a campus and get to know one another.” The sessions, led by both Claire and Melissa Kershaw, director of organizational development for the organization, provide an opportunity for leaders of specific departments to meet, build connections, and exchange information.

Prior to the actual sessions, activities leaders got to know one another after arrival. A sense of camaraderie quickly developed as individuals with like minds and similar positions shared their experiences. In addition to the training, the group worked through action and communication plans, focusing on strategic goals for 2022.

Going forward, these annual half day sessions will be held for a variety of departments. Training, educating, and exchanging ideas is an effective way to keep up the momentum on each campus. Follow-up check-in meetings will help staff members use the tools learned in the Department Summit.

In terms of feedback from the participants, one sentiment was voiced by everyone in attendance. All agreed that a huge advantage of this program is the opportunity to meet other individuals who have the same positions, share ideas, and tour a different campus.

Jimmy Honohan, recreational programming director for Cohen Florence Levine Estates, Florence & Chafetz, and Leonard Florence Center for Living, described the Learning Summit enthusiastically. “The day was a success on so many levels,” stated Jimmy. “On the ride to Longmeadow we had four Activity Leaders in the same car and we talked non-stop about our jobs. We never even put on the radio!”

For Jimmy, the shared experiences, exchange of information and brainstorming sessions created a sense of camaraderie. “I had an idea of what it was like in the locker room of the New England Patriots,” he said with a laugh. Added Honohan, “Claire and Melissa did an outstanding job making us feel comfortable and engaging us throughout the entire presentation. It became obvious that everyone in the room was passionate about our residents and our positions.” Jimmy summed up the day perfectly. “We all came away with a new perspective, knowing we can bring so much more to our departments. That’s a wonderful feeling.”