Summit Square and Kings Grant Visit Sunnyside

On Monday, November 4th it finally happened!  After five months of planning, Sunnyside put the finishing touches on hosting the inaugural “Sunnyside Sister Communities Gathering.”
 The “Gathering” was the idea the idea of the Resident Council President, Tom Harkins, who envisioned bringing residents and staff of the Sunnyside Communities three campuses (Summit Square, King’s Grant, and Sunnyside) together for fellowship and information sharing on an annual basis.  Tom actually took the idea from the existing and very successful annual summer meetings between the three (3) Life Plan Communities in the vicinity of Harrisonburg (Sunnyside, Bridgewater, and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Communities) and adapted it to fit the “Gathering” concept.  The Sunnyside Executive Committee, assisted by key members of the Sunnyside campus administration, was recruited to take on the task of planning for and preparation of the inaugural “Gathering” for a date prior to the end of 2019.  In order to effectively coordinate the planning for the “Gathering” lines of communications were opened with the Resident Leadership of King’s Grant and Summit Square.  Specifically, the President of King’s Grant Resident Council (Ron Rebman) and the Vice Chair of the Summit Square Resident Council (Joan Pullen) continuously worked with the Sunnyside Planning Team to address the many issues required to stage a successful “Gathering” (Issues like: finding an agreeable date, times and program for the event; the lunch menu; dietary considerations; attendance; transportation; and many other little details).

The November 4th “Gathering” commenced with a “Social Hour” from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the “Highlands Lobby” to greet our guests from King’s Grant and Summit Square.  All of the Sunnyside Resident Council and key Administrative Staff were present for the event.  Additionally, all Sunnyside residents were invited to attend the “Social Hour,” and a great many came and welcomed our guests from our sister campuses.  At 11:00 a.m. our guests, the members of the

Sunnyside Resident Council and Administrative Staff moved into the “Allegheny & Blue Ridge Rooms” of the Highlands to hear welcoming remarks. Chaplain Will Lowrance offered a welcoming prayer, at the conclusion of which Sunnyside Communities CEO, Jack Broaddus officially welcomed all present to the inaugural “Sunnyside Sister Communities Gathering.” Jack was followed by Sunnyside Executive Director, Josh Lyons who provided a short campus update.  Josh was followed by the Executive Director of King’s Grant, Thomas Fitzgibbons who similarly provided an update on King’s Grant activities; as did the Summit Square’s relatively new Executive Director, Brian Reinmann.  The Executive Directors were followed by the three campus’ resident leaders; Joan Pullen, Ron Rebman, and Tom Harkins who briefly discussed their campus’ resident organizations.

After an hour of welcoming comments, the group adjourned to the “1912 Bistro” for a lunch coordinated by Sunnyside resident, Gini Reese.  The lunch menu (below) came from Gini’s personal recipe folder, and was expertly prepared by Chef Fred Schulte and his staff.

Soup & Hot Entree Carrot Ginger Soup Grilled Chicken "Marengo" with mushrooms Roasted Redskin Potatoes Saute of Mustard Greens Apple Crisp

After the completion of the lunch, Nancy Wallen and Kim Wetsel of Sunnyside’s Marketing Department led our guest on a tour of the Sunnyside campus.  The tour started in the Highlands with a visit to the common areas on all four floors.  Apartment 326, the “STAYCATION” apartment, and one of the Highlands’ large “Deluxe Master Suite” apartments (Apartment 410) were open and available for our guests to tour and enjoy.  Then the Nancy and Kim guided the tour through the Glen, with a stop to visit Bernie and Mary Smith’s exquisitely styled “Inverness” cottage.  One of the ways to show off the grandeur of the Sunnyside campus was for our guests to be whisked to the, top of Grattan Price Drive to take in the view and visit “villa living, Sunnyside style.”  There they visited both the Harkins’ and Hutton’s “Glasgow” villas, as well as the Allen’s “Edinburg” villa.

Next on the tour was a visit to the Eiland Center and the Pannill Health Care Center.  There our guests visited the third floor of the Health Care Center where Tiffiny Hewitt, the Health Care Life Enrichment Coordinator showed them the recently renovated spaces and rooms.  Our guest also toured through the second floor of Assisted Living, with a visit to Gini Rees’ “Lake View” apartment.  The tour concluded with a short visit to the Wellness Center, where the Wellness Director, Annie Shaffer, provided them a guided visit and briefing on the new Wellness Center currently under construction.  After two and a half hours of touring our visitors were taken to the Meredith Chapel for a rest stop and departure prayer by Chaplain Lowrance.  Executive Director Lyons was on hand to thank our guests for their visit and wished them safe and comfortable travels home.

All considered the inaugural gathering of the “Sunnyside Sister Communities” an enjoyable and tremendous success, and agreed that it is something that must be continued into the future.  Summit Square volunteered to host the next “Gathering” in 2020.

--Tom Harkins