The near-beer flowed freely around the campfire as residents laughed and chatted over the crackling flames. Insects hummed in the distance, and delicious smores were liberally passed around.
“I enjoyed the whole day, it was very exciting,” said Irene, a resident at Trillium Retirement Residence and Care Community in Kingston. “The music was very good, weather was perfect and the food was good. The day went by too fast.”
“It’s just a really great day, and you know, weeks later we’ll still bring it up, what a great day it was,” said Jackie Arnott, director of resident programs at Trillium. “It’s a chance for residents to get outside and kind of get back to nature and enjoy the fresh air.”
Trillium’s third annual camp day, a brainchild of Carol-Anne Woodcock, was a huge success, with over 60 residents coming out to the campsite over the course of the day. The campsite, which is also the Rutherford Girl Guides site, is only a 15-minute drive from the residence, meaning that they can shuttle residents back and forth as the day goes on.
“We do a number or trips back and forth to Trillium,” Jackie said. “We’re lucky enough we have a site just on the edge of our town that feels very rustic… and we bring in entertainers that play guitar. We do bonfires at night, and have BBQs. The residents have a great time sitting by the water and enjoying the music and fresh air.”
There are usually 10 residents at the site during the day, but that number can swell to 24 around lunch and dinner, when they do a BBQ meal.
“[There’s] a lot of reminiscing going on,” Jackie said. She explained that a lot of people worked in factories around the site, or had connections to the Girl Guides, meaning that nearly everyone has a story to tell.
“They enjoy being by the water front,” Jackie said. “Just to come and enjoy the music, and sit and enjoy the fresh air and have those conversations and reminisce with each other.”
There are a few walking paths down near the water that residents can walk along, or they can tour the cabin.
“We often have family involved as well,” Jackie said. “We encourage family to come out… We have a large family participation that comes out and supports us.”
The team members at Trillium work together to keep the day running smoothly. The large event requires planning and hard work from everyone at Trillium, and they pull it off beautifully.
“It is quite an organizational feat, with lots of excel charts,” Jackie said. But it’s worth it.
“They really enjoyed being there, they enjoyed the music,” Jackie said. “One gentleman brought his harmonica and played along with the music and another one was tapping… and just really enjoying being in that space.”