The lyrics to a song sung by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince go like this:
Summer summer summertime,
Time to sit back and unwind

However, there is no unwinding for Intergenerational Programming. This summer, residents were treated to several wonderful programs including attendance at the graduation of the Jewish Home and Care Center’s young friends from Mequon Jewish Preschool, a walk to the lakefront with fifty campers from B’nai B’rith Beber Camp, and a performance by the Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan.

Also this summer, residents from Chai Point and participants at the Adult Day Center spent the day at the JCC Rainbow Day Camp (RDC). In August, residents shared a song session and lunch with 300 campers. They rode in golf carts as they toured the camp to discover all RDC has to offer. One of the highlights of the day, according to Assistant Director Shelby Kass, was Adult Day Center participant Larry Rittberg who was a counselor at Rainbow Day Camp back in the day. “I was a counselor 50 years ago when the site of Rainbow Day Camp was Camp Sidney Cohen. For me it brought back such wonderful memories. So many of the same activities for kids to participate in from my day are happening today, like swimming, basketball, archery, golfing, baseball, and campouts. My granddaughter is five and a half. I hope she will attend someday.” When asked if he would go to Rainbow Day Camp again next year, Larry exclaimed with a huge smile, “Absolutely! It was such a treat to go to camp.”

Summer is also a time of intense planning for the upcoming school year. Activities directors and program coordinators from the Jewish Home and Care Center, Chai Point, Sarah Chudnow Community, and the Adult Day Center met with Julie Shlensky, Posner Chair for Intergenerational Programming, to discuss last year’s activities, what worked and what did not work. Several new programs were presented at the meeting to determine which ones would be of interest to residents.

One of those new programs will be developed with the help of Jewish Museum Education Director Ellie Gettinger. They are working to develop a three-part series engaging students and residents utilizing the museum’s winter/spring exhibit “Fabric of Survival” as a starting point for both groups to reflect on personal experiences. The exhibition is composed of over 30 original fabric compositions that detail the life of artist Esther Krinitz before, during, and after World War II. Individual courage, resilience,  as well as understanding and compassion for those who experience injustice, will be topics the intergenerational groups will discuss. The final meeting(s) of the program will be used to create artwork inspired by Krinitz’s work. The artist in residence will contribute her artistic expertise to the activities planned for this program.

Plans were finalized this summer for an event to take place on Sunday, September 25, in Chai Point’s Rubenstein Pavilion. The community is invited to help fill empty soup bowls to benefit Kosher Meals on Wheels and Empty Bowls Milwaukee. One-of-a-kind soup bowls created by students from area schools and youth groups and residents from JHCC, Sarah Chudnow Community, Chai Point, and the Adult Day Center will be sold for $20. Samples of delicious soups will be available with each bowl purchased.

Also during the summer, Posy Knight, Danceworks’ Outreach Director, came to the Jewish Home and Care Center to discuss another amazing year of a successful partnership in the Intergenerational Multi-Arts Program. Instructors from Danceworks will work weekly with residents in the Helen Bader Center and a class from a Milwaukee Public School to create visual arts and experience movement activities. This year students will help bring residents to the Rubenstein Pavilion where the program will be held, providing more opportunity for seniors to interact informally and engage in conversation with the students. Posy spoke about Mad Hot, another program through Danceworks. The Mad Hot Program provides desperately needed arts and physical education to at-risk kids in the Milwaukee area. The program will include music, dancing, and social time with residents at Chai Point and Sarah Chudnow Community and participants of the Adult Day Center.

Several meetings were held this summer with Nancy Weiss McQuide who will be directing a show starring residents from Sarah Chudnow Community and Chai Point and children from the community. Actors ages 7-12 years old are being sought for this intergenerational activity. No auditions required! Participation in this program can be selected as a bar or bat mitzvah project. Also needed are high-school-aged young adults who are interested in working on scenery. Rehearsals will take place in November and early December. The show will be held December 18 at Sarah Chudnow Community. Please watch for more information and contact Julie Shlensky, Posner Chair for Intergenerational Programming, at jshlensky@jewishseniorliving.org if you are interested in participating or know someone who would like to get involved in this worthwhile program.