Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Final Wrap-up of WMSC's Tenth Anniversary

(The following article will be appearing the the June edition of the Maine Senior College Network's Newsletter)

 "Bridging the Generations" - a Public Celebration

by Nancy Davis 

The Western Mountains Senior College celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. We received a Chamber of Commerce commemoration last spring, the member dinner in September was a huge success, and we were trying out options for the public celebration we had targeted for this spring. Our ho-hum ideas finally coalesced into a very exciting project. Bridging the Generations - or What do your grandparents do all day? was held on May 2 in the community’s high school cafeteria. 

The concept for this community event derived from two projects, both successful collaborations for the past several years. For the third annual combined art project, our students and the advanced middle school art class exchanged beginning art pieces and finished each other’s illustrations. This summer the middle school garden project will, for the fourth year, benefit from a highly organized summer program of WMSC “Garden Masters” and local businesses.

Bethel Senior Citizens display designed by Telstar Middle School students.
We had also, in recent months, made good progress in working with the local Senior Citizens group. And finally, several youth organizations in the area had - fortunate for us! - identified working with seniors as an annual goal.
The food, prepared by seniors and students.  Not surprisingly, none was left!
Combining all these preliminary initiatives, we formed a planning committee headed by a WMSC team and expanded to involve a wide variety of local organizations. Throughout the early spring, seniors from both WMSC and the Senior Citizens group met with middle school classes on collaborative projects in art, music, creative writing, drama, community needs, and cooking, all of which were exhibited or presented (or consumed!) at the May 2nd event. 

We are excited about the interactions and learning that occurred and the resulting
Lego robotics team demonstrating their project.
projects that were featured at the event. In addition to the projects described above, a middle school robotics team demonstrated an elaborate project they had constructed to portray the challenges facing elders. Another group had produced an attractive, heart-felt endorsement for the community’s dog park initiative. The Local Foods Connection demonstrated how seniors could become part of the local buying group.

Telstar Interact students introducing volunteer day.
One especially exciting outcome was a volunteer day (which grew to two days) last weekend. The high school Interact group had for some time envisioned such a project, but needed a vehicle to make it happen, and the Bridging the Generations event met that need. In 13 different projects, youngsters performed household and property services for community seniors who had registered with Interact. This event, having laid the groundwork (so to speak), is sure to continue into the future.

Roberta Taylor and student thespian from The Eddy Middle School.
Our intergenerational celebration was a huge success and certainly propelled WMSC and its mission into major community awareness. It enabled the college to significantly contribute to a growing spirit of collaboration within the Bethel community.

The audience at the May 2 celebration.
photos by Melissa Prescott

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at