The air is quiet, filled with a sweet-grass smell. Four sleeping bags are spread out on the floor, their occupants fast asleep. Down the hall, residents sleep snug in their beds. Outside, an owl hoots goodbye to a waning moon, and the wind ruffles the leaves in the trees.
“I felt like I was in heaven,” said Ethel, President of the residents’ council at St. George Care Community in Toronto. “My favourite parts were the bonfire, seeing the animals, and hiking.”
Five residents and five team members at St. George recently went on an overnight trip to Windreach Farm in Whitby. Home to horses, chickens, goats, and a beautiful sensory trail, Windreach Farm has been a favourite barbeque and picnic spot of St. George’s for several years, so when the idea of having an overnight came up at a residents’ council meeting, it seemed the obvious choice.
“Oh my God, it was great, even today the residents are asking, ‘when are we going back? I want to go back. It was too short — let's do a weekend!’” Elaine Thaxter, a recreation team member who’s worked at St. George for almost 30 years said. “It was a great atmosphere, being out of the city.”
The team left St. George around 1PM on Monday, their bus filled with everything they would need. Elaine says they took the residents’ bedding and personal effects with them, and that everyone’s things filled three-quarters of the bus.
“We had to pack a lot of stuff,” Elaine said. “Everything was in its own individual bag, so it was easy once we got there.”
At the farm, residents enjoyed a sensory trail they could hike along, numerous animals for them to meet, a bonfire with roasted marshmallows, and movie night with old-time favourites and hot chocolate. There was even a basketball net for them to have a quick game with.
“The best part was being away from this city, and just hanging out with the residents,” Elaine said. “There’s one resident, even today, she says, ‘when are we going back? This time can we go longer? That's the best trip I had in my life.’”
“This excursion was an amazing experience,” said Marie Henry-Spencer, director of resident programs. “We’re looking forward to doing another one in the near future.”