An Active and Friendly Place

This post was written by Willow Valley Communities resident, Dale Johnson.

Recently, I made a presentation to the Willow Valley Community about a 480 mile hike I did across Spain. After that presentation, it occurred to me that the presentation encompassed two of the best aspects of why my wife and I enjoy living at Willow Valley Communities.

  1. The variety and qualities of activities available to residents…..
  2. …..and the wonderfully friendly and supportive neighbors who live here.

While I was on the 6 week hike, I was contacted by Willow Valley Communities to see if I would be willing to do a presentation, once I returned home. I said “Sure”. Three times a year, Willow Valley Communities publishes a magazine called Renaissance, where they advertise all sorts of activities, including my presentation.  In that magazine, there are not only lectures and talks listed, but all sorts of other activities available to residents.  The most recent edition listed 176 events that were to take place over a 4 or 5 month period.  Here are the types of activities listed….

  • Presentations by residents
  • Presentations by college professors or other outside speakers
  • Large concerts in our theater
  • Dances
  • Movies that inspire
  • Webcasts
  • Computer and technology classes
  • Wellness education and special events
  • General education classes
  • Fitness and aquatic classes
  • Current affairs discussion groups
  • Educational walks and hikes
  • Art classes
  • Support groups
  • Camera club classes
  • Lunch and learn presentations
  • Art gallery displays
  • Summer camp for grandchildren

Despite this expansive list of activities, it does not cover everything available to Willow Valley Communities residents. I am involved in only 3 of the over 100 clubs at Willow Valley (Ballroom Dancing, Badminton, and Bicycle Clubs). Then there are the 3 to 4 concerts going on across the campus each week. There are also scores of groups that are started and run by residents (cards, bowling leagues, knitting, etc.)

During the last year I presented a short film festival and recently my talk on the hike across Spain. I was fortunate that they featured my most recent talk on the cover of the Renaissance magazine. Consequently, about 350 to 400 people showed up to the presentation. As I looked out over the audience, I think I knew over half of the people there.

We now get to the topic of the friendly and supportive aspect of Willow Valley Communities. I know many of those folks showed to my presentation up because they knew me and wanted to support what I was doing. I knew that because I see it all the time at Willow Valley. I help coordinate a lecture series at our Spring Run Community in which we have both inside and outside speakers. However, we always draw more for inside speakers because residents want to come out and support their neighbors. Spring Run also has a twice a year program called the “Spring Run Follies”, where our residents sing, dance and perform comedy routines. We might draw a nice crowd of 50 people for a professional and talented outside musician. However, with a bunch of amateur residents headlining the show, we require two nights of standing room only in our auditorium. It a testament to the friendly support neighbors shows for each other.

For days after a presentation, speakers will run into neighbors who with pass along heartfelt compliments about their presentation. It is like being a little bit of a celebrity for a few days. That friendly and supportive culture of Willow Valley Communities is something my wife and I absolutely love about living here.

Here is a link to the most recent Renaissance magazine.

By Dale Johnson

Dale Johnson and his wife Christine moved to Willow Valley from Towson, MD in 2015. Dale taught geography at Towson University, while Christine was a director of human resources with McCormick & Co. the international spice company.

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