The first class of Leadership Legends, a leadership program for older adults hosted by the Winter Park
Chamber of Commerce (WPCC) and supported by an $8,000 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) through its Older Adults Work Group, graduated on March 30.
Made up of a dozen older adults, the program included five daylong sessions spaced a week apart. Members of the first class participated in educational sessions, took private tours, and met with community leaders as they experienced a behind-the-scenes look at Winter Park. The program included days devoted to the city’s history, government, health and wellness, education, and culture. The free program was designed as a pilot to evaluate interest and to solicit feedback from participants, all in an effort to make sure the program will be sustainable in the future.
While the program will be tweaked based on comments from participants, the pilot was considered a success. “Apparently, we hit it out of the park,” said Patrick Chapin, President of the WPCC. “We knew it was going to be a great program, we just didn’t know logistically, how do we manage them, at their age,
and their interests. Overall, the content was overwhelmingly successful.”
One participant, a long-time resident of Winter Park, said the experience left her with a true sense of community pride, adding she was deeply touched by the accessibility of community leaders who gave of their time so freely to be with the Legends group. Other comments included, “This is the finest program of its kind I have ever attended.” Another participant added, “The value is immeasurable.”
“I was amazed at how quickly the group bonded,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director-Older
Adults. “It was clear to me from the beginning that they were not only enjoying the learning experience, but also the opportunity to make new friends and socialize. We know that lifelong learning and socialization are key components to healthy aging and therefore, a funding focus for the Older Adults Work Group. The end of the program was bittersweet, though through exchanging contact information, the group vowed to stay in touch.”
The next (and final) pilot program will be held in June. Individuals interested in participating should contact the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce for more information at 407-644-8281.