Winterfest warms up Village Green with fun and laughter

Village Green

Annual celebration keeps winter blues at bay, garners high engagement level

After all the excitement and energy that comes with Christmas and new year’s celebrations, January can be a bit of a disappointment. But for several years, the folks at Village Green have hosted Winterfest, a weeklong event every January to fend off the winter blues and keep everyone’s spirit high – even if the weather is cold and dismal.

Team members decorate the Selby, Ont. long-term care home with winter themes and each day of Winterfest is dedicated to a fun activity that engages residents and staff members.

This year’s Winterfest, which was held Jan. 16-20, featured five themed days: hockey day, crazy hat day, backwards day, ugly sweater day and pyjama day.

Residents and staff members made snow taffy, hosted wheelchair races, slap-shot hockey (the residents’ favourite activity) and they even had a snowball game with artificial snowballs.

“Winterfest takes away the January blues,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Karen Coulter. “After Christmas it’s a bit of a downer, so Winterfest really boosts everyone’s morale, and it’s fun for everyone – staff and residents.”

A major benefit of Winterfest is the event’s engagement level. Karen says most of the home’s 66 residents will spend at least one day participating in activities. Winterfest also embraces one of OMNI Health Care’s core values: fun and laughter.

And then there’s the grand finale held on the last day of every Winterfest: the chili contest. Staff members make a batch of chili using their favourite recipe. Residents and staff then taste everyone’s chili and vote for their favourite recipe.

“The residents really love the chili contest,” Karen says.

Personal support worker Sylvia O’Brien won this year’s chili contest and received a gift certificate for Napanee Fish and Chips, a trophy and, of course, bragging rights for a year.

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