THE VAAP in Virginia; Activities Directors gathered

They gathered in the Star City of The South, Roanoke Virginia; those Activities Professionals from just about every where. This was their annual conference to meet and to see known colleagues while restoring and energizing each other and themselves for the hard work they do each day. Activity Directors work in Nursing Homes, assisted and long term facilities across the Nation, yet few know of their profession, few know the importance of their dedication and their commitment to residents, families and the communities they live. I was honored to provide the keynote at this conference, to meet with the many from all around the state while there. I met some fine folks; their passion evident as they spoke of their creative work being done in facilities and listened to their stories of residents and families and the authentic compassion that is felt by them all for their life’s work and choice to be involved.
Talent was evident, the desire to do more and to give so freely of time and talent filled the rooms. I listened as I spoke and watched as their energy changed and they found their comfort zones. the laughter filled the rooms at times; and it was a sound that could be a Motown HIT to be certain, it was infectious, it was joyous, it was contagious.

I spoke of buoyancy, of our need to honor those we provide care of; as Granny filled the screen sitting on a bike long ago and her attitude of a warrior elicited great excitement in the audience. I honored their chosen profession and spoke of ways they can “up their game professionally” and let more know of the vital work they are doing in those facilities and their communities. We discussed volunteers and their importance, their fun, and their engagement with residents along with the power and sacredness of music to tap feet to or get hands together with clapping while emotions are fluid in nature and memories and great feelings can be expressed as we go down those segways of the universal language of MUSIC to fill the halls and the rooms in stretch and dance. Everyone wants to feel good; everyone has a dance inside them wanting to come out! the keynote was ended with all of us doing THE HARLEM SHAKE VAAP STYLE!

Those Activity Directors are a fine lot they are; they love what they do, they love their residents and the teams they are wanting to build with others within the doors there. It is rather amazing when one discovers the vital role they are playing within facilities; the amount of documentation that is required in the profession, the many tasks that also take place daily in addition to providing more than “bingo” for residents.
It is an ongoing creative process, an ongoing process of engagement, of finding your “piece of the holistic pie” in healthcare and enhancing quality of life for those that are living in those facilities!

You just never know when Elvis, the Andrews Sisters (2013 style) may be willing to visit; when volunteers have swag old school style and are willing to twist and shout with residents and take them out of a chair and/or offer the power of touch while swaying in chairs or on their feet to the beat. 

One thing is certain; a finer group of professionals doing such vital work for our Elders and those who maybe are not so old; yet find the need for assisted/long term care of Rehab centers all gathered together, and it was better than good.

They attended day long sessions, back to back from 0730-5:00 for three days… their dedication and support of each other as they networked, as they sat together, laughed together and learned together was wonderful to watch. It gave hope, it provided inspiration, motivation, and just what is needed to do work of this magnitude in the communities they live.

And boy could they EAT… I just knew they were in healthcare by the way the food was brought out~ haha Healthcare workers and hospice folks do love to eat… and eat they did, thanks to the Sheraton who put out quite the spread.

  Betty Boop was in the house, books were sold by a vendor as well as things that support the pride of the VAAP, 
*Virginia Association of Activities Professionals.  
Now wouldn‘t ya just know that I had called them the “VAACP” each time I spoke… making them all wonder if I had thought of them as someone else or another time of speaking! I do believe now I threw that “C” in there after feeling the “compassion” from each of them…
Spirit works in beautiful and powerful ways …
Betty Boop is the art of a beautiful woman named Gwyn who is an art teacher and had an art show while there, she gifted me a work she completed while listening to me… I dropped a hint that it would just be awesome if she could do a Michael Jordan for godson Kamryn like that! *never hurts to ask* was the thinking there.

   So … there you have it, me and Betty Boop, with “swag on”. As the conference ended and hugs all around, it was time to get ready for the Godsons and some basketball with Kamryn and the NRV ELITE.
 But there was ONE last hug and that was with Activity Director Joey… a Marine, a man of great compassion, humor, and just all out wonderful-ness. Thank you Joe for your service to our country. It was an honor to meet and spend time with you brother. Semper Fi

  And home I came to the Florida sun with great memories of times shared and a conference that will stay in my heart, with new knowledge of the importance of a profession that needs more folks to blow their horns; those Activities Directors are fine folks working hard and doing great and creative things. May they take best care of themselves while doing so much for so many!

Thank YOU VAAP for your hospitality and your care.

***** Time to celebrate*****
Cuz Angie, after a week of inspiration, motivation and just great times with her colleagues and a fabulous introduction of me to prior to speaking…. >>>has just been informed<<<<<
ANGELA DEAN LOY has been awarded the esteemed ADC of Virginia,

\Congratulations Cuz, “I am so proud”, as you remember the words of Maya Angelou,
“Nothin works unless YOU DO”…
Bravo Bravo Bravo!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, have the best day as you move into your personal best always one step at a time.
LET’S ROLL and vote for a friend of mine, to get that van to roll on while enhancing her quality of life and just making everything a bit better! VOTE DAILY for the win…

Walk in Beauty



5 comments on “THE VAAP in Virginia; Activities Directors gathered

  1. Wow…thank you so very much Cuzzie for the awesome blog~ We were so blessed to have you as the keynote speaker~ You gave us all words of encouragement, ways to relieve stress but most of all, I was honored to have you speak at the conference, a job I love so very much, and to share you with my friends, coworkers and other activity professionals. They are still speaking of you and how u sparked something inside of them and they want to strive to do more not only in their professional life as well as their personal life. You have always inspired me and I always said when I grew up I wanted to be just like you~~Thank you for the wonderful comments and words of encouragement, Sandy & Dot! Words can never express my love & gratitude to my Auntie Dot~ Without you & Sherry I would not be where I am today~~Love to all

  2. I love when I know you are speaking for I know what kind of speaker you are. I know they were very blessed up there by having you. I believe in you and what speak about and you offer comfort to many. hugs

  3. Dr.SES, great blog, you are so right about the Activities Director and employees. It is more than Bingo, however Bingo better be on time and no one interfere.ha. For all of us who does not know what Activities Directors do should walk into ones office and see and hear the work that gones on. Yes, Ms. Angela Loy is quiet amazing. How do I know cause she is my Special Niece. I believe in her and know she has received her wings and she is going to soar. So happy to be a part of her life and love. Single parents can better themselves in their occupation, just do it. Proud of you Ms. Activities Director. Great program Dr. SES and proud of you and all you do. Blessings

  4. Hello Dr. Sherry. It seems it has been such a long time since I read your words. I am so happy that you had such a grand time with these very important people who bring joy to so many in nursing homes and other facilities. They are so needed. Thank you for bringing them a new hope and encouragement. Loved the photos also. Congratulations Angie for your reward. Wishing you all a wonderful day /Sandy♥

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