As December approaches, life in the Valley is getting busy and at times hectic. So is the life in the Village—Fir Park Village, that is, and its 67 residents.
“We have a busy schedule ahead, with lots of activities in December”, says, Diane Goddard, program coordinator for the home.
Among the events that are scheduled, the residents will take part in special performances by well-known community groups and individuals such as: The Folkong Circle and their “Christmas Cheer” (Dec. 3); “A Christmas Concert” by Phil’s Harmonics String Orchestra (Dec. 4); Alberni Valley Old Time Fiddlers (Dec. 10) and others that soon will be announced.
In addition, other special programs will take place as well: Christmas photos with Santa; Off to see the Christmas Lights; Fir Park Village Christmas Bazaar; Winter Wonderland (AV Multiplex); Happy Times Tea (United Church); Ho-Ho-Ho Pub/Dance Night; Lunch Downtown and Look at the Barclay’s Christmas Trees; the annual popular Santa Visits the Village, etc.
The end of the year will be celebrated with the announcement of the Fir Park Village Citizen of the Year at the New Year’s Eve Countdown Celebration on Dec. 31. Members of the Old Time Fiddlers will provide the music at this event.
Goddard points out that after several years, the residents and staff will again hold a Christmas Bazaar and Tea on Saturday, Dec. 13 between 1:30–3 p.m., with all the proceeds going to the Residents Society.
“We will have crafts, baking and several raffles, as well as a ‘White Elephant’ sale,” she says. “We invite the general public to this fundraising event. The Tea Room admission is only $4.00 per person.”
Goddard, who was born in Port Alberni, has been part of Fir Park Village staff for 18 years, and for the past three as the program coordinator.
“I love my job, which is very rewarding, especially in organizing meaningful programs of activities for the residents. Also, I have lots of support from other members of the staff.
“Together, we have seen positive changes, including those to the building, which, with the recent renovations, provides a more welcoming atmosphere with brighter meeting areas and homey feeling, and allows us to schedule a variety of programs, such as, the popular ‘Galloping Gourmet’, held in the Activity Room regularly, with an active participation of the residents in the food preparation of a variety of dishes.”
These dishes include Chinese chiles; Italian food; battered chicken and seafood crepes, to name a few.
With an aging population on the rise, Fir Park Village continues to offer not only care and support to the seniors of the Valley, but opportunities for physical and social activation in order to stimulate the mind and body of the individuals, as well as their involvement in the community.
“We are very fortunate to have local volunteers who come here with their musical skills to entertain on a regular basis. We also count on educational talks and presentations by guest speakers, slide presenters and people who give us their time in various areas of our operation”, says Goddard.
Recently, the Village hosted another traditional program (that goes back to the early 1990s), “An Evening of Fine Dining”, an event that aims to have each resident dine in a candlelit atmosphere with a family member or a friend.
The dinner is possible thanks to Eagles Ladies Auxiliary, which donates funds to the event. The dinner itself is prepared by the Fir Park kitchen staff and consists of prime rib and shrimp cocktail, Yorkshire pudding, vegetable with Hollandaise sauce, Duchess potatoes and gravy. Cheese cake is served for dessert.
“I must add that the wine served at the fine dining is made by the residents,”, says Goddard. “They go to the local winery to bottle it.”
Goddard also says that one Saturday in the month the residents enjoy the “Lunch Bunch” in their Activity Room with an invited guest from the community, and on the third Saturday, they go to a local restaurant for lunch.
All and all, the Village has lots to offer to the seniors of this home by helping them to stay socially active and in close touch with their community.