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Expanding Caregiver Resources

Friday, July 14, 2017

After our Director of Memory Support Jennifer Holcomb wrote You Are Not Alone on this blog, almost two years ago, the importance of her activities specifically geared towards caregivers continued to increase significantly. The Early Stage Support Group, which she created in collaboration with Hanover Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Association was such a success that it has become a twice-a-year tradition. This coming fall, the 8-session series will start on September 18 and continue until November 6. Registration is open until September 8 for this free yet invaluable training.

Fall 2017 Support Group Details

 

 

Many of the Early Stage Support Group graduates turned into a close-knit group of friends and expressed a wish to get together again on a regular basis. Jenn created the popular Memory Café for this purpose, and the group continues to meet regularly in various interesting locations. The companionship has been most beneficial for the individuals with the disease, and for their caregivers.

Where will they go next? The Memory Café at the Eisenhower Farm

While fellowship and lighthearted moments are to be treasured, we are also keenly aware of the challenges faced by caregivers. Current political news notwithstanding, we are conditioned from childhood to distinguish fact from fancy, true from false, and real from imaginary. Therefore, it is “natural” for caregivers to try to bring loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease back to reality, as a small victory over the disease so to speak. But this clash of realities can be the source of much stress, and it seldom helps. That is why we have created this short Communication Tools for Caregivers video as part of our wide array of resources.

Who knows in what direction our outreach to inform and support caregivers will lead us in the coming two years? What we know is that we would like Cross Keys Village to be the area’s Go-To resource for individuals and groups needing information and support. There is a growing need out there, and it is part of our mission to fill it.


Bridgewater at Cross Keys Village – Phase IV

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cross Keys Village is happy to announce a new phase to its Bridgewater expansion. The Garden Homes that were introduced as a new concept in 2015 have been well received and continue to attract keen interest. We recently completed a Market Study confirming that today’s retirees are willing to consider moving to a senior living community… as long as they can do so without compromising the comfort and the breathing space they are accustomed to in their current residence. After considering the data, our board of directors approved the construction, starting this fall, of 18 new Garden Homes expected to be ready for new occupants in 2018.

After Phase III comes Phase IV

The 2018 Garden Homes will all be built on the Samuel Weir floor plan, which has impressed visitors and delighted recent residents with its spacious storage, wide-open kitchen, and large windows. All of the 2018 homes will be built with a sunroom, adding a truly magical space to an already generous design. As in previous phases, we first offered this batch of Garden Homes to individuals who had already joined our wait list. A few of the homes are now being offered to more recent new contacts, and we invite you to ask for information about these outstanding new senior living homes if you may be considering a 2018 move.


Therapy at CKV Adds New Modality

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cross Keys Village is proud to be one of the few providers in our region now offering Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT). LSVT is a program that is shared between Speech Therapy (LSVT LOUD) and Occupational Therapy (LSVT BIG), and designed to treat voice and speech disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease. The decision to start this program came to our Director of Rehab, Jayne Whitman, after several of our Villagers came back from consultations at Johns Hopkins with prescriptions for this innovative treatment.

Once she became aware of this need, Jayne contacted our therapy contractor, Benchmark Therapies, and put together a joint plan. Jayne picked two of our team members, Speech-Language Pathologist Laura Westerberg and Physical Therapist Kimberly Hoff, as ideal candidates for the certification. Both Laura and Kim have outpatient experience on our campus, making them more familiar with our Residential Living population than therapists who work mainly in our short-term in-patient rehab. Laura and Kim subsequently earned their LSVT certification and now they look forward to adding this new tool to their already considerable skills.

Kim, Jayne and Laura, ready to launch LSVT

LSVT LOUD enables speech therapy to address and increase vocal loudness and speech intelligibility. It is administered during an intensive schedule over one month’s time and requires the patient to continue ongoing exercises to improve carryover and functional outcomes. LSVT BIG focuses on treating movement aspects of the disease, countering the loss of range and assisting with increased balance, improved gait and improved coordination of movement. The sessions are spread over four weeks.

We are privileged to be one of the few providers of this groundbreaking program in our area. LSVT will benefit people with Parkinson’s disease in all areas of campus, and we look forward to increasing their quality of life. In partnership with Benchmark Therapies, Cross Keys Village is dedicated to providing the best possible rehab care 7 days a week to short-term guests, to Villagers, and to long-term residents.


A Young Man with a Big Heart

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A few days ago, we got a message on Facebook from a local businessman, Jason Stokes, owner of S & J Automotive in New Oxford. But he didn’t offer to service our fleet of vans and shuttles. No, instead he asked us how many ladies live in our Health Care Center so that he could – with our permission – bring each one of them a rose for Valentine’s Day. Kind gestures from strangers are not unusual at Cross Keys Village, but this was truly unexpected and out of the ordinary.

Jason explained to us that he has done this floral distribution in other local nursing homes previously on Valentine’s Day, in collaboration with Tiffany Wellen, owner of The Bloombox in East Berlin. It took us a few seconds to decide wether Jason was “for real,” but as soon as we did we were tickled pink (or is it red?) with his generous idea.

Jason and Tiffany came over with 13 dozens long-stem, red roses that they planned to hand-deliver to all of the women in the Health Care Center. Of course, such a gift quickly attracted attention and enthusiasm, and several team members assisted the pair. Many of the ladies who live in our Health Care Center were not expecting a visit that day and were quite surprised to meet Stokes who greeted them with a rose and wished them a happy Valentine’s Day.

We were impressed and touched when we witnessed the joy that Jason brought to the ladies… and how wonderful he felt at each smile he earned from them. It is too easy to write off whole groups of people on February 14th. In truth, love can hit everyone on Valentine’s Day, as proven by a generous auto mechanic and scores of elderly ladies at Cross Keys Village.


Herb Motif for a Unique Environment

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Brookside Exceeds First Visitors’ Expectations

Lavender is the herb associated with relaxation and a sense of calm, while rosemary is associated with friendship, love and remembrance. How fitting to have the two neighborhoods in a memory care residence named after those soothing herbs. Brookside at Cross Keys Village was designed as a soothing environment, creating a sense of freedom and encouraging one to move around within the lovely shared space and the inviting gardens.

14 months after breaking ground, Brookside was unveiled during a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 13. All donors to the successful capital campaign were invited, along with local dignitaries and representatives from the design and construction crew. The dedication featured remarks from Jim Balthaser, Chair of the Brethren Home Foundation Board; Jeff Evans, our President and CEO; Dr. Joy Bodnar, Chief Operating Officer; Kate Klunk, Pennsylvania State Representative; and a dedication prayer given by Pastor Linda Titzell, Director of Pastoral Care.

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The details in the construction of this beautiful home were designed painstakingly to make it easier for its residents to enjoy each day in a comfortable, familiar setting, and not have to struggle to make sense out of their environment. Every aspect of the design was carefully considered with an understanding of dementia and a desire to reduce anxiety about where to go and what to do.

Brookside was certainly impressive to those who viewed it during the dedication. While munching on rosemary- and lavender-infused delicacies afterwards, our visitors reflected on how different Brookside feels from the long-accepted “hotel corridor” model with doors on both sides. Ultimately though, our goal is to impress those who call Brookside their home in the coming months.


Jenn Holcomb Honored with Business Award

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A few weeks ago, we found out that our Director of Memory Support was named one of Central Penn Business Journal’s 2016 Forty Under 40, based on her commitment to professional excellence, business growth and community involvement. Along with 39 talented young professionals, Jennifer Holcomb was honored at an evening reception and awards ceremony last night in Harrisburg. Family and colleagues were on hand to cheer and root for Jenn on this special occasion.

Jennifer started her career at Cross Keys Village in 2008 as an Admissions Counselor after graduating from York College. A brief stint as one of our Neighborhood Coordinators while she completed her Master’s degree preceded her promotion to Assistant Healthcare Administrator, a role in which she proved herself. She later became our Healthcare Administrator… and in quick order started a family.

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A darling little baby girl, and an increasingly strong passion for memory care led Jennifer to take pause and to reconsider her priorities. When Cross Keys Village created the new position of Director of Memory Support in 2014, Jennifer seized the opportunity and found the perfect fit for her talent while protecting her desire for a greater life balance.

In her current position, Jenn has led the creation of a specialized ongoing curriculum for all team members at Cross Keys Village, resulting in a vastly improved life for our residents and a better work atmosphere for our team all over campus. In parallel, she has spearheaded outreach efforts within and outside our walls, becoming a tireless advocate for caregivers and an invaluable partner and resource for professionals in our region.

During the Forty Under 40 celebration, it became clear that the winners all have an altruistic side that is usually distinct from their successful work persona: while building or growing their businesses, they also contributed to their community outside business hours. However, for Jenn, the “business” hours and the “give back to the community” hours are all the same. Yes, she is a businesswoman, organized and driven to success, but her daily work also brings quality and hope to the lives of countless individuals in our region. We are very grateful to the Central Penn Business Journal for recognizing Jenn, and we are blessed to have her on the team.  


A Labor of Love

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

No message says: “We are thinking of you and praying for you” more clearly than a special gift, crafted with love by the Cross Keys Village Quilters. “Our quilters hand make beautiful quilts for every resident who comes to the Health Care Center,” says Mary Van Buren, Director of Community Life. “I’ve noticed so many of our residents with their quilts, and they truly cherish this unique and thoughtful gift.”

Originally formed in 2006, the volunteer group decided in September 2008 to start quilting for those being admitted to our own community. Since that time, the quilters have given approximately 800 quilts to long-term residents in the Health Care Center. Janet Raynor, our Pastoral Care Administrative Assistant who also happens to be a Villager, plays a major role in this project. After someone moves into the Health Care Center, Janet takes a quilt to the laundry department to have it labeled. She then places a message on the quilt that reads, “Love and comfort to you from the Cross Keys Village Quilters.”

Cross Keys Quilters

Pastor Marjorie Lauver sees the joy first hand when she delivers the gifted quilt. She recalls one resident who asked her to place the quilt over her. “She kept patting it, saying how pretty it was and how she really liked the embroidery in the middle panel.” Another resident “thanked and thanked me for that,” Marjorie says. “She said over and over how attractive it was and how kind it was of the ladies to make it just for her.”

Thirteen women (eleven Villagers and two off-campus volunteers) make up the faithful volunteer group, all having their own assignment. Whether they cut fabric or batting, use a sewing machine or sew by hand, each volunteer utilizes her talents to help create this beautiful gift. Much of the material is donated to the group, with batting provided by the Community Life department. Once a year, the quilters, in turn, donate a quilt (or two) to the auction at the Chicken Barbecue, to benefit the Good Samaritan Fund which provides financial support to residents who have exhausted their personal resources.

This group of volunteers finds joy in gathering together to work on this project that brings much happiness to many. They show the true spirit of our mission and ministry, here at Cross Keys Village.


Auction Spectacular Returns on August 13

Monday, July 18, 2016

After a great meal of barbeque chicken and homemade pie, the place to be is in air-conditioned Nicarry Meetinghouse for the spectacular annual auction, beginning at 1:00 p.m. If you are not a frequent auction-goer, you will especially enjoy watching competitive, fast-paced bidding. Who knows, you may find a great bargain and walk away with it under your arm as a special treat to yourself.

Picture yourself a winner!

Picture yourself a winner!

Featured at this year’s auction are numerous pieces of furniture—upholstered chairs, a love seat, rattan swivel-chairs, a china cabinet and much more. All items are in very good to excellent condition. Also featured are collector items—dolls, bears, carousels and coins, all carefully selected and lovingly cared for by discriminating collectors. A vast selection of quilts and other handwork will catch your eye. Power tools and many, many miscellaneous items will be offered.

Quilts are always in demand

Quilts are always in demand

The items that will be auctioned are on display beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the meetinghouse so that you can plan your strategy while munching on a drumstick or a thigh. All kidding aside, proceeds from the auction will be used by the Friends of Cross Keys Village to support projects benefitting residents of the Village, especially those in the Health Care Center who may have outlived their resources. So, bring your checkbook, and we’ll see you on August 13!


Growing Season at Cross Keys Village

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A recent visitor to Cross Keys Village, someone very familiar with our industry’s trends, confided to our CEO: “I don’t often see an organization like yours engaged in so many construction projects at once.” Indeed, we have been so busy that we haven’t had time to release regular news bulletins while our campus undergoes all this transformation. Let us pause a minute, take off our hard hats, and go over the “top three” of those projects, and what stage they have now reached under glorious summer skies.

Garden Homes, almost ready for new Villagers

Garden Homes, almost ready for new Villagers

The Bridgewater Garden Homes are nearing completion along the new portion of Bridgewater Drive as we write those lines. The first homes will be occupied before July 4, and the last one a around Halloween. This project – in its second phase already – has matched a distinct need in our market for finely crafted homes with generous proportions. In truth, we already have reservations for 15 out of the 16 homes we will be building next, in phase-3. Please contact us if you would like information about the Bridgewater homes.

Existing circular Garden Room... and new Baby Garden Room at enlarged Harmony Café

Existing circular Garden Room… and new Baby Garden Room at enlarged Harmony Café

The popular Harmony Café, our informal breakfast and lunch spot in the Harmony Ridge apartment complex, will reopen in July after an extensive renovation and  expansion. Approximately 50% additional seating will be available, along with the latest in on-screen ordering technology (don’t worry, there will still be a human or two to take care of you if that is your preference). We plan to offer longer operating hours as well, with leisurely afternoon seating in this privileged space, which will include an inviting circular room to the side – reminiscent of our handsome Garden Room a few yards away.

Brookside, making up for lost time

Brookside, quickly making up for lost time

Finally, our Memory Care Residence is fast approaching the completion stage at which, back in February, it was leveled by an early morning fire. The initial shock gradually made way to renewed enthusiasm on the part of our team and that of Benchmark Construction. After careful consideration, a name was selected for the building: Brookside at Cross Keys Village. We thank the team members and residents who went over so many names before picking a winner, and we feel truly blessed to see this beautiful building taking shape. We expect to welcome our first guests at Brookside in the first few months of 2017… only a few months behind our original schedule.


Waterborne Heroics Return to our Pond on June 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It has become one of the largest yearly events at Cross Keys Village, a tradition only topped by our legendary Chicken BBQ, Car Show and Auction. But the Cardboard Boat Regatta is actually a recent invention on our campus. We started off with a small event, comprising only six basic boats in the Harvey S. Kline Wellness Center pool, back in 2010. What was – at the time – barely more ambitious than a game of water volleyball immediately caught the fancy of team members and Villagers.

So many boats registered for the second year, in 2011, that the event was moved to the pond, our trademark body of water very visibly located near Route 94. Nowadays, teams start thinking of their boats’ design a year in advance. TimBar Packaging & Display donates over 100 sheets of cardboard each year, and Snyder’s-Lance is generously contributing pretzels this year.

When matters get out of hand

We should sell tickets!

Each team comes up with a theme, a boat name, and elaborate costumes. Our IT department usually designs and builds the most spectacular boat of all. Of late, there is an average of 12 boats in the race, all competing for best in show, for overall race winner, and ultimately to be the last boat afloat. This last portion of the race can be pretty brutal, to tell the truth. With such an exciting event, it is no wonder villagers have their family and friends visit the campus just to watch this race!

The list of permissible and prohibited construction material makes for interesting reading, almost worthy of the Olympic Committee. Of course all cardboard is allowed, as is duct tape, and all sorts of paints and varnishes. But don’t try to sneak in any wood, Styrofoam, staples or screw in your structure, or you’ll be a dead duck.


Run, Mary, Run!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cross Keys Village employs many team members who radiate with a positive power and share their inner wealth with others, but no one’s energy field can compare with that of our Director of Community Life, Mary Van Buren. As we documented in the past, she channels this goodwill at work through an innovative Community Life program, and by stretching the confidence of anyone – resident or team member – who gets involved in her plans.

Outside our walls… Mary has another passion: “My passion for running grows stronger when it is in support of a good cause,” she explained as we discussed what will be her 27th marathon. The event will begin and end at the YMCA in downtown York on Sunday, May 15, with a starting time of 6:00 a.m.

Mementoes from a well-run life

Mementos from a well-run life

Mary’s last six (!) marathons have been in support of our Good Samaritan fund. This time, however, Mary is running in support of our Memory Care Campaign. She hopes that her achievement will contribute to a rapid shift in the community’s mind from the tragic fire that leveled the construction site in February… and back to the peaceful and hopeful vision of the completed center. She said: “I am going to keep the vision of that beautifully completed Memory Care Residence in my mind all the way to the finish line.”

You can show your support of Mary by stopping by the Foundation Office and making a donation toward the Memory Care Campaign in honor of her efforts. While you’re there, you can fill out a “Mary-Thon” card that will be displayed, along with the cards from all of Mary’s many supporters, in the hallway by the Foundation Office.


Eyesore Bites the Dust

Friday, April 15, 2016

Through the years we got fond of it, as one does with anything that endures long enough. However, there is no denying that our vintage water tower, built in 1998 and in active use until 2008 wasn’t the prettiest sight on campus. The structure was nicely tucked within a wooded area, but it could be seen, especially from the fast-growing Bridgewater area of our campus. With sufficient water pressure – courtesy of York Water Company – the issue finally boiled down to “what shall we do with the darn thing?”

At first we didn’t want to just give it away… but the cost to dismantle the water tower and transport it turned out to be roughly equal to that of buying a brand new water tower: Not an attractive proposition for anyone in the market for a water tower. Since we couldn’t simply drag it to the curb, we had to start thinking. Thinking we did, for a couple of years, until we came up with a brilliant plan.

We had the tower disassembled earlier this month by contractors who then removed it from campus. Hidden in the pump house, there was one element of value, a specialized pressure tank, and this was retrieved and purchased by York Water Company. But the best part of all was the pump house generator. Cross Keys Village donated it to Adams County Tech Prep, located next to Gettysburg High School. The program will use the diesel generator to teach students about diesel engines and power generation.

Before we waved goodbye to the dark blue tower, we took some spooky photos inside and out. We realized that all these years we could have rented it to cheap science-fiction moviemakers. Now it is gone – but not forgotten, and with its generator living again within a worthy new organization, the water tower shows what a caring and “green” partner Cross Keys Village is to its neighbors.


More Garden Homes Announced

Monday, March 21, 2016

Eight months ago, Cross Keys Village announced the construction of a new class of Residential Living residences, the Garden Homes. Like the previous models in the Bridgewater neighborhood, the new floorplans for the Garden Homes were designed on a generous scale, for today’s retirees who are in no rush to downsize. The carefully crafted homes incorporate many custom choices, allowing new Villagers to individualize their living space and truly feel “at home.”

The first 14 Garden Homes were quickly reserved by members of our wait list, and construction started in December. A fairly gentle winter favored the fine work by our general contractor, JS Construction, keeping the project generally on schedule. The first homes are now under roof, and should be ready for their new occupants later this spring.

Blue skies are helping the project along

Blue skies are helping the project along

With interest in the Bridgewater neighborhood remaining strong, Cross Keys Village is going ahead with a further 16 Garden Homes, to be completed over a time period ranging from late 2016 to summer 2017. We encourage all who are considering a larger residence as part of their senior living plans to contact us about the Bridgewater expansion. After an appointment with one of our talented Retirement Counselors, we will be happy to guide you through one of our furnished model homes, where you can review the standard and optional finishes and start dreaming of a beautiful brand-new Bridgewater home in your future.

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Benchmark Listens…

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Benchmark Construction Company was able to attend the recent Village Council Meeting on Thursday, March 3 to address questions from the community regarding the fire that occurred on the construction site of the new Memory Care Residence. Representing Benchmark were Bob Brandt, Jr., Founder and Chairman, and Steve Conway, Vice President of Senior Living. After brief opening remarks from Jeff Evans, CEO of Cross Keys Village and Bob Brandt, the floor was given to Village Council members to ask questions and share their thoughts about events surrounding the fire.

“We were very glad to have this opportunity to listen to the concerns of the residents of Cross Keys Village,” said Bob Brandt following the meeting. “In the week and a half since the fire occurred, we have spent a great deal of time looking at all of the technical aspects related to the fire and this meeting gave us a chance to respond to the human side of the situation.”

Benchmark CKV

l. to r. Bob Brandt, Steve Conway, Jeff Evans and CKV Operational Services Administrator Jay Rohrbach

Residents were very open about the impact the fire had on them. They were also very caring in asking about how the construction crew is dealing with the situation. “It was so heartwarming to me to witness the concern residents had for the Benchmark team,” shared Mr. Brandt. “It really reinforced for me how blessed we are to work with a community like Cross Keys Village.”

Both Benchmark and Cross Keys Village administration assured those in attendance that they are anxious to get started on the rebuilding process and are eagerly anticipating the go ahead from those conducting the fire investigation. We believe that it will be very healing for everyone involved when the beautiful new building stands completed on the site and can begin to fulfil its mission.


Job Fair on March 31!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Departments will conduct on-the-spot interviews

With close to 1,000 seniors living at Cross Keys Village and 700 or so team members caring for them, we are almost like a cruise ship moored at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 94. And just like there are countless ways to work on a cruise ship, employment at Cross Keys Village runs the gamut!

We know  that many young and not-so-young bright people in our area are ready for a change, antsy for some new outlet to channel their energy when the days get longer after a long gray winter. Maybe you are ready for a career change that will make a huge difference in your life and in the life of others:

That is why we are organizing a multi-department Job Fair on March 31. Nurses and Nursing Assistants will be interviewed on the spot, and so will be applicants to positions in Dining, Maintenance, Transportation, Grounds… and more.

To save time, we recommend that you start by creating an account and applying on line prior to coming to the fair. Then just bring your resume, your smile, and your dreams. Picture yourself working and growing on the greatest team, with great benefits.


No One Hurt in Construction Site Fire

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Residents Not Affected by Construction Site Fire

Early on the morning of February 20 a fire leveled our Memory Care Residence construction site. The first 911 call came in around 1:45 from off-campus, and many calls followed. Ten fire companies responded, involving approximately 75 firefighters and 25 pieces of equipment. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no other campus buildings were damaged.

We are very grateful to the fire companies that served our community during this unfortunate event. Eight of the 10 companies are comprised entirely of volunteers. Investigation is still underway and we do not know the cause. We will have round the clock security on-site while the investigation is underway.

Prayer follows news session with Villagers

Prayer concludes information session with Villagers

During a hastily arranged but well attended meeting, Leadership at Cross Keys Village shared with Villagers all the information that is available at this time. The project was only 15 percent complete at the time of the fire, said Jeff Evans, Cross Keys Village CEO. “We don’t know the cause, but have no reason to believe it’s anything malicious,” Evans stated. “The outpouring of support has been tremendous. We feel very fortunate that no one was injured.”


Sponsoring Mercy Street

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cross Keys Village was approached by PBS affiliate WITF last summer with a proposal to co-sponsor a new miniseries, starting on January 17. Although many of our villagers and prospects watch public television, this would be the first time we enter into a partnership with WITF. The station, based in Harrisburg, is centered on the Harrisburg to Lancaster axis which does not correspond exactly with our market. However, the subject of the program – life in a hospital during the Civil War – would obviously attract much interest around Gettysburg, and we agreed to co-sponsor the show.

And so last night a few Cross Keys Village team members and villagers braved a strong wind to gather at Gettysburg’s Majestic Theater, where we were greeted by a fife band in period costumes and treated to a “red carpet” viewing of the first episode of Mercy Street. On the big screen, the quality of the program was as high as that of a top-level theater release (the series is produced by Ridley Scott). Contrary to some period docu-dramas, Mercy Street is bold, raw, a bit gory, and immediately engaging.

mercy_street_still

Mercy Street follows the story of a recently widowed young Union nurse, Mary Phinney, who is appointed Head Nurse at the Mansion House hospital in Alexandria. The hospital is housed in a requisitioned luxury hotel, now a place of filth, chaos, and suffering. The series strives for accuracy, yet it is also reminiscent of medical dramas such as ER (producer David Zabel was involved in ER between 2002 and 2008).

Time will tell whether Mercy Street can become a PBS blockbuster like Downton Abbey (which it immediately follows on Sunday nights). If you are interested in a large cast of character thrown together in urgent situations within a unique setting, we encourage you to give it a try, beginning this Sunday on WITF at 10:00pm, immediately following Downton Abbey. We believe this could become a success, lasting several seasons, and we are proud to associate our name with this high-quality program.


Bridgewater Update

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ready, set, go! Work on Bridgewater Phase-2 has begun! Representatives from JS Construction, the home builder, and York Excavating, the site contractor, were on site on December 8th to finalize the construction schedule and meet with local officials from Adams County, Oxford Township, and NOMA.

York Excavating began moving earth on December 10th and the favorable weather is very encouraging. So far crews have installed silt sock for erosion control, installed construction entrances and have begun stripping topsoil. We anticipate the first home foundations to be poured in mid-January. Completion of the homes that comprise Phase-2 is anticipated between June and November of 2016.

Ready, set, go!

This phase of the Bridgewater project introduces a new class of residences to Cross Keys Village: the Garden Homes. Two spacious new floorplans were designed, combining style and convenience. The Marketing team put together a choice of finishes, allowing future residents to customize their homes. Models of the two floor plans were built earlier this year to allow visitors to imagine themselves living in a Garden Home.

The 14 Garden Homes (+ 1 Country Home) were quickly reserved and pre-sold to depositors on Cross Keys Village’s waitlist. With interest in Bridgewater remaining strong, we encourage all who are considering a larger residence as part of their senior living plans to contact us about possible future phases in the Bridgewater expansion.


A Joyful Construction Update

Friday, November 20, 2015

I am happy to share that the construction of our new Memory Care Residence has been on schedule since our groundbreaking in early October. The underground stormwater system is in, and the foundation is complete. Except for a couple of rainy days, the weather has been tremendous for the start of our project.

I attended the national LeadingAge conference in Boston in early November and saw designs from other memory care projects across the country. I came away feeling very proud of what we are creating for our community. Our households will include a variety of engaging rooms and spaces, both indoor and outdoor, that other communities have not been able to include in their designs.

I was fortunate to connect with a lighting designer at the conference who is doing state-of-the-art work in his use of lighting as related to dementia. We hope to incorporate unique interior lighting features into our design to help our residents with wayfinding, time awareness, as well as overall functioning.

I am also excited that we will include new program ideas into the daily life of our new residence and extend these new programs to our existing neighborhoods for memory support. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead as we develop our environment and programs, select our care team, and watch our building grow.

Joy Bodnar – Chief Operating Officer


Memory Care Residence Groundbreaking

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cross Keys Village executives and visiting dignitaries held the official groundbreaking on October 7 for a new Memory Care Residence, which promises an array of tools to make life better for those suffering from dementia, for their families and for other caregivers. Scheduled to open next year, the $7.8 million, 26,000 sq. ft. Memory Care Residence will incorporate two households with 16 private rooms in each, and a connecting “Main Street” area will house shared resources. Its design recalls that of a home, not a facility.

CEO Jeff Evans recalled the extensive planning that has gone into the residence and recognized those present who had been part of that process. Representatives of the various firms who are involved in design and construction also were recognized, as were those from the banks providing financing and public officials or their representatives. Evans then led the first of several groups to lift scoops of dirt for the ceremonial groundbreaking, held in front of 100 spectators under radiant early fall skies.

Features of the building and grounds will promote physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, and the therapeutic environment offers delightful sensory pleasures in sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Inside these might be kitchen aromas or an office desk where papers can be organized. Outside, flowers and vegetables will line the walkways, and a garden shed will provide memories and connections. Rooms have optimal light, key among numerous cues that help orient residents to the time of day. Kitchens, a sundry store and other public spaces also are designed to emphasize the familiar and make everyone feel at home.

A fundraising campaign is underway to help with the building costs and campaign co-chair Jake Hershey, a CKV board member and villager, called for the effort to surpass its $1.5 million goal. Anyone interested in supporting the project should contact Vice President of Advancement Vanessa Berger at 717-624-5208 for more information.


Memory Care Residence Planned

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cross Keys Village has long been at the forefront of caring for older adults with neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias. The next weapon to be offered towards our goal of making life better for those suffering from dementia, for their families and for other caregivers is a new Memory Care Residence.

Scheduled to open in 2016, the 26,000 sq. ft. Memory Care Residence will be independent from our Health Care building. Designed to resemble a home rather than a facility, the residence will incorporate the latest scientific findings through features that provide comfort, security and engagement for its residents.

Front Entry From Walk

The Memory Care Residence will have two “households” with 16 private rooms in each, and a connecting “Main Street” area will house shared resources. A customizable lighting design will be most significant among numerous cues that help orient residents to the time of day. Kitchens, a sundry store and other public spaces also are being designed to emphasize the familiar and make everyone feel at home. Outside, flowers and vegetables will line the walkways, and a garden shed will provide memories and connections.

Team members staffing the residence will have special training to offer knowledgeable, compassionate support with an understanding of the changes that occur as the disease progresses.

Cross Keys Village is undertaking renovations and changes to its memory care programs and facilities elsewhere on campus to make the connections with the new residence seamless. Anyone interested in supporting the fundraising campaign to help with the costs of this $7 million project (at any financial level up to naming gift opportunities) should contact Vice President of Advancement Vanessa Berger at 717-624-5208 for more information.


Volunteers Make Chicken BBQ a Success

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hundreds of enthusiastic diners chow down on barbecued chicken at tables under the big tent, while a corps of volunteers assemble meals for the next fans of this summer treat. Bargain-hunting book lovers crowd around tables covered with boxes of “previously enjoyed” books at $1 for a hardback and 50 cents for most paperbacks. As a table’s supply dwindles, it’s quickly replenished by volunteers whittling down a stack of boxes. In Nicarry Meetinghouse, a well-coordinated team displays, sells, records and packs up quilts, glass, framed prints, antiques and assorted other items at the auction that has been an integral part of this event almost since its start 55 years ago.

Volunteers also run a variety of children’s games, register entrants in the car show, oversee musical performances, operate model trains, sell crafts, baked goods and other food and drink, direct guests to parking spaces and shuttle buses, and collect and count the money this sprawling event raises. Throughout the day, several thousand people take part in the Chicken Barbecue, Car Show & Auction, and more than 200 of them volunteer their time and (lots of) energy to make sure the rest enjoy themselves.

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The hours contributed are significant: some volunteers work an hour or two on the day of the event, while others begin giving of their time and talents months beforehand and continue until everything is packed away for next year. Roger Turner, employed at CKV for more than three decades, is an almost constant presence in the final weeks of preparation, and he’s not the only one. Lorene Trimmer, who has chaired the Friends’ BBQ Committee for most of the past decade, might take a few days off before planning begins for 2016.

All that makes the Barbecue more than the Friends’ biggest fundraiser. It also is CKV’s largest community event. There’s camaraderie among the volunteers and between them and the villagers, residents, family members and others that makes this much more than an opportunity for a great meal and some fun shopping. The money this even raises is important, but in an ever more complex and impersonal world, the fellowship among those who make it happen is invaluable.

Volunteers – this drumstick/book/quilt/pie/game/smile is for you.


107 Years Later…

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The entity now known as Cross Keys Village – The Brethren Home Community opened and was dedicated on July 29, 1908, at its original location at Huntsdale, southeast of Carlisle in Cumberland County. It moved to its current location at “Cross Keys” near New Oxford in Adams County in 1952.

Twenty men, most in Church of the Brethren clerical jackets and heavily involved in establishing the Brethren’s Home (as it was called then), posed for a photo “taken on Day of Dedication,” and they’re a stern bunch, but then so are the subjects of about any other group photo you’d see from 107 years ago. It was just the custom of the times.

We know they were nice people, because they had taken it on themselves to open an “old folks home” for those who couldn’t take care of themselves in their later years. They were even willing to help residents (also called “inmates”) who couldn’t pay their own way. Those being helped probably smiled. Smiling or not, the founders had the right idea, and with changes to reflect a rapidly changing society, the organization they founded thrives today as Cross Keys Village – The Brethren Home Community. Those stern founders might not recognize some aspects of what we do today, but chances are they’d agree with the reworded Core Values adopted last year as our guiding principles.

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Think about those Core Values: Show Compassion; Act Responsibly; Work Together; Celebrate Life; Be Innovative. Then apply them to 1908. The founders were showing compassion by looking out for those older church members who didn’t have families close by to care for them. By adopting the model of a larger home – supported by multiple churches – they were working together and being innovative in providing care and services. They spent four years raising money to cover much of the start-up cost (primarily acquisition of the original home and adjacent farm) and named a Board of Trustees whose members had extensive business experience, so they certainly acted responsibly.

But how could they all look so glum and still be celebrating life? Remember, everybody was stern in photos in those days; if we could bring the founders back and place them in social settings, we’d surely see smiles, eventually. We know there was a harvest festival annually in those early years, and church members came in to carol at Christmas. If we could transport them to the present, show them today’s Mission Statement, and let them see what “enriching the lives of older adults” entails today, they’d most likely understand how this “Brethren ministry” has evolved and smile about that, too.


New Bridgewater Homes Unveiled

Friday, July 17, 2015

On July 8, a large group of wait list depositors gathered in the Encore Room to hear details about the next phase of the Bridgewater expansion to our campus, the Garden Homes. We started the presentation by unveiling the two new models and reviewing the reservation and construction process from A to Z. Unlike last year when we revealed two new Country Home models, this year we were able to show our visitors the Garden Homes “in the flesh.” We have built one of each this spring, which we will use as model homes until this phase of the expansion is completed.

We have named the two latest models after two remarkable past members of the Church of the Brethren. Samuel Weir, an emancipated slave from Virginia, moved to Ohio where he became the first African-American preacher for the Church of the Brethren. David Gerber was an inspired leader at Cross Keys Village who oversaw many projects including the planning and the construction of the Harmony Ridge apartment complex.

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The new Garden Homes are being offered first to our wait list depositors, who responded enthusiastically when they got a chance to visit the model homes. We expect the construction phase to begin in November, and the homes should be ready to welcome their new occupants in the spring and summer of 2016. You can look at the floor plans and some architectural renderings near the bottom of our floor plans gallery.


Air Battle… on Water

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Cardboard Boat Regatta: Sure it was fun, but could it really change history? Here’s a little revisionist history, courtesy of the sixth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, held at Cross Keys Village on June 5: if Snoopy and the Red Baron had met on the water and not in the air, Baron Von Richthofen wouldn’t have stood a chance. At least not if the CKV IS (Information Services) Team had been the Sopwith Camel’s crew.

The IS Team has a track record for elaborate boats in the Regatta: a Mississippi riverboat, a train, a royal coach and last year’s creation, which featured an exhibition-worthy replica of the “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang” car atop a pontoon boat. This year’s creation reprised the pontoon boat, but the theme was the “Peanuts” cartoon strip, and a nearly life-sized World War I airplane was mounted on the floating part. Like the others, it was built solely from cardboard (courtesy of TimBar Packaging & Display), duct tape and paint.

The entry proved to be the fastest in IS Team history… but not the sturdiest, as – bottom first – the plane’s wings and assorted other parts succumbed to the rigors of competition. But then came the final event, Last Boat Afloat, in which surviving teams try to sink one another with buckets of water. This was the first time an IS entry had competed in Last Boat Afloat, and when competitors tried to bring about the boat’s demise, they quickly learned that, for all practical purposes, it was unsinkable.

Slowly, the other entries went keel-up and crew-down. Some crews, including those from the race-winning Amish Outlaws (the fake beards and straw hats helped their portrayals; the brightly colored life jackets didn’t), opted for, “If you can’t beat ‘em . . .” and climbed aboard the remnants of the Sopwith Camel. By the time its last competitor had sunk, the IS boat was carrying eight people, twice its prescribed crew, and although it was riding low in the water, it showed no signs of nautical distress.

The entire “Peanuts” gang (in cardboard cutout), plus Snoopy’s doghouse, watched from the hillside above the CKV pond, and if cardboard figures could change their facial expressions, the smiles would surely have gotten bigger. And somewhere in the skies, a heavily German-accented voice shouted: “Curse you, Information Services.”


Offering Expertise and Hope

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cross Keys Village has long been a leader in the field of Memory Care, with memory support neighborhoods in both the Health Care Center and in Personal Care. However, our community is not one to rest on its laurels. In fact, early in 2014, our Executive Team identified memory support as an area where we could serve better.

First, we knew that communication could always improve, especially for families who need a clearer picture of what happens when worsening memory loss necessitates a transfer from one care level to another.

Additionally, we saw a need “outside our walls” for a centralized information resource, where support groups, families and caregivers could obtain education material or individual consultation. This new resource would require a point person able to take our resources and our message to various audiences, wherever needed .

Standing room only: Jennifer Holcomb speaks at Hanover Hospital

Standing room only: Jennifer Holcomb speaks at Hanover Hospital

No team member could ever be more qualified or more passionate at the helm of this initiative than Jennifer Holcomb, and she was made Director of Memory Support – a brand new position – in July of 2014. Almost a year later, Jennifer is even busier than we expected originally, proving that our region needs more and more services and information about neurocognitive disorders for its aging population.

Jennifer has already streamlined the internal processes, winning the support of colleagues in all service lines. Outside the campus, Jennifer has been visiting neighboring groups, hospitals and churches where crowds gather to hear presentations such as 10 Warning Signs of Dementia. This fall, Jennifer will lead a groundbreaking Early Stage Support Group at Hanover Hospital, an eight-part workshop for persons living with the disease and for their care-partners.

Jennifer is also actively involved in the planning and the design of Cross Keys Village’s next memory support project: a brand new, state-of-the-art Memory Care Residence, scheduled to open in 2016. Cross Keys Village intends to become an all-encompassing memory support resource for our region, and we expect Jennifer to stay busy for years to come.


Blessing the Hands

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

“You have chosen to bless others with your hands in the work you do. Now I bless your hands in recognition of the sacredness of what you do every day.”

So begins a litany repeated more than 200 times over a few days in May of this year by Campus Pastors Linda Titzell and Marjorie Lauver. Rolling carts through the Health Care Center and Personal Care, they offered team members and volunteers a blessing of their hands, reflecting the mission-centric work those hands perform and the spiritual foundation behind the care and services they provide at Cross Keys Village – The Brethren Home Community.

Some declined the offer, and some responded with a sense of, “Sure, why not.” For others, though, the symbolism held deep meaning: there were hugs and tears in the middle of busy workdays. “Some were so touched,” Titzell said, noting that night shift team members in particular appreciated the special attention.

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Lauver had taken part in a similar effort at a hospital in West Virginia, and a check online revealed that a growing number of organizations are engaging in innovative blessings. Titzell hadn’t been part of something like this before, so she went with Lauver to Therapy to familiarize herself with it. “Once I got into it, I thought to myself, ‘This is great!’” she said. “Then I offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the experience. “We’re blessing their hands, but it is we who are being blessed,” she added.

No requests for blessing were turned down. The “road show” aspect of the blessings reflected the Pastoral Care office’s understanding of the audience: “We go looking for them, because they’re always in the middle of something,” Titzell said. On the night shift in Personal Care, one team member had to fulfill a resident’s request for a brownie before any hand blessing could take place!


Country Homes Near Completion

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Eight months after we “revealed” the project to eager members of our wait list, and five month after we broke ground, the Country Homes at Bridgewater are nearing completion. Each one of the seventeen homes has been reserved. After the initial groundbreaking, the future Bridgewater Villagers had opportunities to get better acquainted with each other during a “Builder’s Luncheon” in January and a recent “Icebreaker” event. In addition, each one of them spent some time at the Welcome Center with our Retirement Counselors who helped them pick finishes such as cabinet colors, countertop patterns, flooring and much more. The new Bridgewater occupants hail from near and far, with the majority relocating from our greater region. Their decision took anywhere between 8 years… and overnight (the last few Country Homes were claimed by individuals who were not on the wait list).

Almost done

Almost done

The worst of the winter weather took place after several of the homes were under roof, causing very little delay, if any. Today the project is on schedule and at every stage, we are pleased with the quality of the construction.  If you know the West Campus area at Cross Keys Village, you are aware that 17 new Country Homes will not “finish” the neighborhood, far from it. With many undeveloped acres left, we have something else exciting in the wings: The Country Homes will be followed by a new class of homes. If you are interested in the fine construction and the spaciousness of Bridgewater, or in our other Residential Living options, please contact Marketing at 717-624-5350. Our friendly and experienced Retirement Counselors do not work on commission, and their goal is to educate you about senior living.


S&P Reaffirms Strong Credit Rating

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We are pleased to share that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its A- issuer credit rating on our community, with a stable outlook. S&P reached their conclusion after carefully reviewing our figures for 2014, including our cash balance and our margins. This rating, which is about as good as a retirement community can hope for, is useful to us… especially now: It indicates that S&P has evaluated our current operations as well as our upcoming projects and feels comfortable with our overall financial picture and our ability to repay our debt.

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Just like it is for regular people on Main Street, a high credit rating for an organization like ours is a “low risk” label when we approach banks or other lenders, allowing us to borrow at a more favorable interest rate. Furthermore, this A- rating shows that the Leadership at Cross Keys Village approaches every decision they make with the stability of the community foremost on their minds.

Kent Shisler – Vice President of Finance


Friends to Host Renowned Choir

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The renowned National Christian Choir will perform an “Operation Helping Hands” benefit concert on Saturday, April 18, at 3:00 p.m. for the Friends of Cross Keys Village. The concert will take place in the New Oxford High School Auditorium, located at 130 Berlin Road in New Oxford.

The National Christian Choir is an interdenominational choir, based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area which ministers through concerts, recordings, tours, and radio. They present 12-15 concerts each year throughout the mid-Atlantic area. In addition, they tour elsewhere in America almost every year and internationally once every five years. Their radio program, “Psalm 95”, is a weekly hour of teaching and inspiration heard throughout North America and internationally.

Operation Helping Hands

The Friends of Cross Keys Village, started back in 1953 as the Women’s Auxiliary, was initially created to provide activities and services for the residents. As the resident population grew and included more people with complex medical conditions, the Auxiliary’s fundraising expanded to support the long-held commitment to charity care for those who had outlived their financial resources. Our legendary Chicken Barbecue was first held in 1961 and has been a successful fundraiser ever since, helping to provide benevolent care through the Good Samaritan Fund.

The net proceeds of “Operation Helping Hands” will go to the Good Samaritan Fund of the Brethren Home Foundation which helps to defray the cost of providing care to residents of Cross Keys Village with limited resources.


A Most Constructive Trip

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Danielle Brant is a still new Community Life Leader on the Honey Brook neighborhood in our Health Care Center. “My residents are my family,” she says, “and I love to see them smile.” As is the case with so many team members at Cross Keys Village, Danielle’s calling to serve does not shut down when she clocks off at the end of a busy day. She recently sat down with us and shared some highlights of a 10-day mission trip to Guatemala in January.

Danielle found the trip with the help of her pastor at Codorus Church of the Brethren. The trip was organized by Servants Inc, which operates a program called Serving At-Risk Families (SARF). Along with six other travelers, Danielle completed her service in Villa Nueva, a poor section to the south of sprawling Guatemala City.

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In Villa Nueva, the group’s goal was to stabilize the house of Aminta, a single mother whose already basic dwelling was in danger of rolling down a steep hill, due to insufficient foundation work. It took no time for the young travelers to become experts in digging trenches, pouring concrete, lining up cinder blocks and working with rebar. While not directly working on the project, they also played with Aminta’s children and taught a Bible lesson at a local school.

Construction was first on the agenda, but the group had enough time to enjoy hearty Guatemalan food and to visit nearby Antigua, a former capital of the country until an earthquake devastated the town in 1773. Today, Antigua is lovingly preserved, including some half-collapsed churches, and it is a must-see for anyone visiting Guatemala.

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The travelers stayed with a couple of American missionaries, themselves having committed to serving in Guatemala for two years. “I truly loved getting so close to a different culture,” says Danielle. “I have learned a lesson from my hosts that relationships are so much more important than possessions.” Cross Keys Village is lucky to work with such a mature and giving young lady, and we see a bright future ahead for her.


Slow-Starting Winter Means Fast-Starting Project

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Exactly two months ago today, we broke ground on an expansion in the Bridgewater area of our campus. Thanks to great coordination with our builder, JS Construction, Inc., and also thanks to two gentle months on the part of Old Man Winter, we are already well ahead of schedule.

As we write these lines, we have poured the foundations for all 17 single-family Country Homes; Six units are partially or fully framed; Four are already under roof; Two of those have their brickwork finished, and we are starting mechanical, electrical and plumbing work.

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The future occupants of the 14 homes that have been reserved since we announced the expansion came to our Welcome Center for exhaustive meetings during which they got to pick the personalized finishes that will make those houses their homes. While the standard finishes on display reflect the high degree of craftsmanship which is the trademark of Bridgewater homes, we also offered these charter members some extra options, including the possibility to turn their patio into a sunroom or a den.

Three of the Country Homes are still available for reservation as of today, for a summer or fall move. Two of those are James Quinter models, and one is a Daniel Leatherman model. The new Bridgewater Country Homes will be the last single-family homes to be built at Cross Keys Village in the foreseeable future. If you are interested in “Senior Living without downsizing,” please contact us for information and to schedule a look at one of the near-finished homes.

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Cross Keys Village Welcomes New Director of Therapy

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bryan W. Kauffman, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with seven years of experience in managing therapy services, has been named Director of Therapy at Cross Keys Village. Kauffman spent the last nine years at HCR ManorCare in York, where, since 2008, he had been Director of Rehabilitation Services and Team Leader of a team of 12 staff members in physical, occupational and speech therapy. “We welcome Bryan with his experience and interest in serving the therapeutic needs of the older population,” said Health Care Administrator Bob Aims, “and the skills he brings to maintain and heighten the quality services provided by our excellent Therapy Department team members.”

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Aims also noted that Kauffman’s background had demonstrated both a dedication to helping patients regain function and return to their homes and a commitment to quality customer service. Of additional value to Cross Keys Village is his certification as an “Aging in Place Specialist” by the National Association of Home Builders, and his ongoing studies to become an “Assistive Technology Provider.” The latter interest, Aims said, complements Kauffman’s consulting work with Handypro of York, a leading provider of home modifications for seniors to improve the quality of life. Kauffman earned his A.S. degree in occupational therapy from Penn State-Mont Alto and was “Student of the Year” in his major.


Adult Day Services Recruit “New” Team Member

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

After 17 years in our Healthcare Center, Mona Church needed a change. She had started her career long ago as a Nursing Assistant, but made an early switch when she understood that the Community Life team has more opportunities to socialize with the Healthcare residents than the Nursing team. As a pillar of Community Life, Mona added an Activity Assistant certification to her Nursing Assistant certification. Most recently, she was a Community Life Leader on our South Mountain long-term care neighborhood.

A few weeks ago Mona became aware of an opening in our Adult Day Services program, and she was intrigued. She knew that she wanted to continue her career at Cross Keys Village, and the chance to move from one of the largest programs in the community to the smallest (in scale, not in spirit) was just what Mona needed after feeling restless for a while.

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On Monday, November 24, Mona reported to Adult Day Services as an Adult Day Services Assistant. When we asked her how she felt, she had no regrets about her decision: “I especially look forward to bringing Adult Day Services some extra focus in the field of Memory Care.” Long-time program manager Bev Redding is also delighted that Mona transferred to her department: “I will take advantage of her abundant energy, and I won’t need to spend time explaining to her the ins and outs of the community as I would with a new hire.”

Mona Church is a married mother of five and a surprisingly youthful grandmother of nine. One of her grandsons is one of our most admired teen volunteers, Dakota Reiner. While Mona recruited Dakota, she did not pressure him to volunteer at Cross Keys Village: it’s just that the compassion gene runs in the family.


Cheerful Gathering Marks Start of Construction

Friday, November 7, 2014

It was touch-and-go until the last minute, but the rain paused long enough for us to quickly dry the folding chairs and to hold a lovely ceremony for the groundbreaking of our Bridgewater expansion. Seventeen new Country Homes will be built as part of this first phase of the expansion, and commitments are in hand for 13 of them. JS Construction, Inc. was selected as the builder after an extensive review process. (JS Construction, Inc. has a long history with Cross Keys Village, including the three beautiful Country Homes we built earlier this year.)

After an invocation by our Chaplain Margie Lauver, President / CEO Jeff Evans delivered humble but inspiring words of thanks as Cross Keys Village embarks on several concurrent projects. No-nonsense Board Chair Wayne Scott followed and expressed his trust in the current leadership at Cross Keys Village, on the board of which he has been sitting off and on for decades. In spite of Scott’s abhorrence of strategic planning, he is the first one to agree that Cross Keys Village cannot afford to stagnate.

Groundbreaking at Cross Keys Village

By next fall, we’ll all be living here

Villager Mike Ricciuto from Bridgewater Drive spoke last but his warm and enthusiastic endorsement of the project made his future neighbors feel most welcome. Then came the time to dig dirt, which was done with gusto by Evans, Scott, the Adams County Commissioners, and several of the future villagers who have chosen Bridgewater as their next home. Not all could be present (some are moving to our region from far away), but all who made it enjoyed getting better acquainted with each other and meeting builder Jeff Stern.

The short ceremony was followed by a time of warm-hearted fellowship in our Garden Room, where our dining services showed one and all that a homey and relaxed atmosphere does not preclude the most delectable and elegant refreshments. Team members, elected officials, representatives from JS as well as current and future villagers savored their time together. Today the sun is shining… and JS is busy with the foundation work.


Congressional Debate Draws Crowds

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In case anyone still gives credence to that old image of retirement communities as places where people spend their days in rocking chairs, we have lots of counter images, and we added more last night, when 4th Congressional District candidates Scott Perry and Linda Thompson laid out their positions for voters assembled in Nicarry Meetinghouse.

Consider this:

  • A full house of 175-200 people, including villagers and members of several nearby communities.
  • Seven television cameras and a like number of still photographers.
  • Half a dozen reporters turning the spoken words into stories for the 11 o’clock news or today’s paper.
  • Video of the event being streamed live to anyone in the world with a computer and internet access.
Political Debate Cross Keys Village

The debate brought a new kind of action to an already active place

The villager volunteers on the Candidate Information Committee made it all happen, because they believe that CKV residents and others deserve access to the information that can make them informed voters. That’s important here, since typically nearly 75% of villagers and a good percentage of Personal Care and Health Care residents are registered to vote – we make up roughly one-third of the voters in Oxford Township Precinct #2 (for which Nicarry Meetinghouse is the voting place) and about 15% of all voters in the township.

What everyone heard last night was strong differences of opinion on immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, raising the minimum wage, and other “hot” issues. The candidates seldom agreed, but the debate was very civil – appropriate, since the setting also serves as a church, and CKV itself has a strong religious heritage. At the end, the candidates shook hands while smiling broadly.

Cross Keys Village was thanked multiple times for hosting the event, which fits several ways into how we live our mission. It’s a positive activity for villagers and residents, and it’s an important service for our neighbors. The 2015 elections are mostly local, but expect the volunteers to be working again next spring on bringing candidates together at CKV to help voters make the wisest choice.


A 99th Birthday Like No Other

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Cross Keys Village and the Gettysburg campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, hatched a plan allowing some nursing home residents to attend classes, Alice Fox was first in line. Once a teacher, she was determined to keep learning and keep her mind active.

She was one of two CKV students in that first class two years ago, and she has taken part in every class possible since then. Because of the interest Fox and other students showed, HACC Professor Terrence Havel also has lectured at CKV to large groups of Health Care residents.

Fox’s contributions to that first class and subsequent ones have made her a popular and valued figure on HACC’s Gettysburg campus, and on October 7, she was honored with a dinner and an official designation as “Honorary Professor of History.” Incredibly, this all took place on Fox’s 99th birthday.

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The Pennsylvania native, who grew up in Somerset County and once taught in Germany, was given the opportunity to tell her life story to the sizeable dinner audience, and many of her fellow students took the time to tell her what her participation in the classes and her example of living life to the fullest meant to them.

Fox is a regular participant in other Cross Keys Village activities – she took an overnight trip to Ocean City last year. She has lived on campus more than 30 years, longer than anyone else among more than 900 residents/villagers, and she has no intention of slowing down.


Announcing New Country Homes in 2015

Sunday, September 7, 2014

While many older adults choose to make their move to a senior living community coincide with a more general downsizing and divesting, doing so is not the only way to go. Our cozy one-bedroom apartment and cottages are perennially popular, but we also hear regularly from retirees who would like to take advantage of everything that a modern and vibrant CCRC like Cross Keys Village has to offer… without having to downsize too much if at all.

We had already built 19 larger Country Homes, starting in 2005. With the Great Recession now behind us, we started noticing a renewed demand for such a product. Earlier this year, we conducted a detailed market study, which confirmed a definite interest among today’s and tomorrow’s retirees for larger residences with ample storage space. With this knowledge, we elected to build a new family of Country Homes next to the previous group, in the airy and secluded Bridgewater area of our Campus.

We hired the architectural firm SFCS, respected specialists in designing for older adults, and they did not disappoint us. Our two latest floor plans, the James Quinter and the Daniel Leatherman will be available to new occupants starting next spring. Depositors who had joined our wait list previously were invited to select their preferred location before the plans were made available to the public. The members of the wait list responded favorably to both models and reserved most of the future residences. We do, however, have a few Country Homes still available for reservation in both the Quinter and the Leatherman floor plans, and you may request information by clicking on the button at the bottom of this page. Joining the program at this early stage will give you a wider choice in the finishes of your home, as well as the possibility to add a sunroom or a den to the basic floor plan.

These new and carefully designed single-family Country Homes are a unique CCRC product in our area… as are some of our smaller and most affordable cottages. At Cross Keys Village, we do not see senior living as a one-size-fits-all proposition. Whatever your preference is and your budget allows, we will treat you with the same attention and the same courtesy.

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A little ‘crazy’ brings a lot of good at Chicken BBQ

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The announcer for radio station WHVR, doing a remote broadcast from the Chicken Barbecue, asked volunteer committee chair Loreen Trimmer how things were going. “Well,” she said, “it’s been kind of crazy around here.”

“Crazy” may be an apt description for the days and hours leading up to Cross Keys Village’s largest fundraising event – now 54 years old – but all kinds of words could be used for an overall characterization of “Barbecue”: fun, generous, delicious, musical, informational, intergenerational and others, just for starters.

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Satiation in the shade

For those who took thousands of books home from the tables of previously read volumes – nearly all priced at $1.00 or less – the mind surely will benefit. For those who ate nearly 2,000 barbecued chicken halves and various other food items, the tummy was the winner. For those who had fun with family and friends, escorted Health Care Center residents out to enjoy the proceedings, or otherwise volunteered to make it all come together, the spirit grew richer.

Cross Keys Village Auction

Board Chair – Auctioneer Wayne Scott checks the authenticity of a masterpiece

For nearly everybody, it was a wonderful summer afternoon, for a great cause: the Friends of Cross Keys Village realizes thousands of dollars each year to meet its goals of supporting the Good Samaritan Fund and other objectives that make the campus a better place for all who live, work, volunteer or visit here.

When it’s over for another year, many of those who behind the Chicken Barbecue’s success probably need some time to rest and recover, but they’ve accomplished a lot, and the end result surely was worth all that “crazy.” Mark Saturday, August 8, 2015 on your calendar now, and plan to join us when we do it all again.


History Springs to Life at Cross Keys Village

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Through a scheduling coincidence, Cross Keys Village was the setting for two history-related events of considerable interest last week. On Monday, July 14, we offered to a selected group of Residential Living visitors the chance to listen to Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, as interpreted by talented William and Sue Wills. Currently in their 18th year of bringing to life the stories of 33 different presidential couples, the Wills have appeared together on stage over 8,500 times in 35 of the 50 states. So adept are they at what they do that many of us forgot after a few minutes that we were watching performers and not to the 34th President and First Lady. William and Sue Wills have written the engrossing dialogue themselves (not to mention the costumes, which they also made themselves), and the audience was moved to tears by the intensity of their portrayal.

Ike and Mamie at Cross Keys Village

On the following Saturday, July 19, we were honored to host the Victorian Dance Ensemble, a group of living historians who share a love for the grace and beauty of mid-19th century dancing. As the performing troupe of the Civil War Dance Foundation, they offer educational and commemorative performing arts programs related to the Civil War and Victorian eras. The historically accurate group Dearest Home, a local favorite, returned to Cross Keys Village to provide the musical accompaniment for this exceptional afternoon, which was attended by more than 180 people. History was made backstage as well: our control room volunteers, Ed Westerfield and Bob Bradley, said they couldn’t recall a longer continuous broadcast ever on our channel 25 (the two-hour dance demonstration was simulcast throughout the Village).

2014 Cross Keys 01

Dance numbers alternated with fascinating tidbits about social life in the midstate in the 1860s. We learned about the forgotten fad for jewelry made of human hair, lace accessories and gloves, and how seldom one’s few changes of clothes ever got washed. The dancing itself was far removed from any romantic Vienna waltz: partners often danced side by side, facing straight ahead rather than facing each other. Near the band, a “caller” would often recite the upcoming dancing moves, as for square dancing but in a more “proper” way.

For a savory finish, the Campus Inn offered historically accurate specials that night, including a very popular Steak and Potato Pie with Skillet Cornbread. No matter which side of Americana sparks your fancy, history is always in the air in the Gettysburg area, and we look forward to more such events in the near future.


New Friends at the Gate

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recently, our Villagers received great news about the WellSpan location at the Route 94 entrance to Cross Keys Village. Starting on September 1, this location will become a satellite office of nearby and well-regarded East Berlin Family Medicine. This change will greatly improve options for Villagers who would like to see a general practitioner without needing to drive off campus.

With six (soon to be eight) physicians on staff, East Berlin Family Medicine said that there would be one physician at the Cross Keys office on every business day. Villagers who are patients of the practice will be able to see their “regular” physician at Cross Keys for their scheduled appointments. For sick calls, patients can go see the physician who happens to be at Cross Keys that day or they can drive 5 miles to East Berlin to see their regular physician if he or she is not at Cross Keys.

East Berlin Family Medicine Cross Keys

Edward Nelson, MD, introduces himself to soon-to-be new neighbors

The practice will be accepting new patients. Moreover, the physicians at East Berlin Family Medicine are accredited in our Health Care Center. This is another important advantage for Villagers who are patients of the practice: They can be followed by their regular physician who knows their medical history in detail if they should need short- or long-term care in our Health Care Center. (However, East Berlin Family Medicine is not looking for new patients in the Health Care Center. Our Medical Directors there will continue to be the much-esteemed Joanne Chan, MD, and Thomas C. Keller, DO.)

Patients of the current WellSpan physician group operating in the Cross Keys building until September 1 (Cross Keys Internal Medicine) can follow their physician to other WellSpan locations if that is their wish: Dr. Cynthia Myer will be relocating her practice to Dover Internal Medicine in York and Mrs. Tomarra Dalton, CRNP, will be relocating her practice to WellSpan Internal Medicine on Washington St. in Gettysburg. However, if they prefer, current patients of Cross Keys Internal Medicine can request a transfer to East Berlin Family Medicine. Through the magic of electronic health records, they do not need to have their medical records transferred. Cross Keys Village is looking forward to the convenience of having East Berlin Family Medicine present at the edge of the campus. We welcome them warmly.


New COO Brings Memory Support Expertise and Much More

Saturday, June 14, 2014

When Joy Bodnar told colleagues that she was leaving Foxdale Village in State College to become Chief Operating Officer at Cross Keys Village, one of them decided to prepare her Pittsburgh Steelers-loving friend for the move into alien territory: she made and gave Joy a necklace done half in Steeler beads (black and gold) and half in Baltimore Ravens beads (purple and black), adorning it with mini-helmets for both teams. The necklace has a prominent place in Bodnar’s office, but its surroundings are less balanced: a Steelers team photo and a collage of Franco Harris autographed memorabilia hang on the gold and black walls.

“I’m still a diehard fan,” Joy says. That’s not surprising, since she grew up in western Pennsylvania in a family that sat down together after church on Sunday to watch the Steelers on television. The Harris display resulted from two opportunities to hear the former Steeler great speak: once in grade school, and again years later in State College (where Harris had attended Penn State). “He seems like a very nice man,” Bodnar says, noting that the latter appearance was on behalf of Meals on Wheels.

Joy Bodnar, PhD COO at Cross Keys Village

Joy Bodnar did not come to New Oxford just to enter a world of mixed NFL football loyalties, though. Her presence as Chief Operating Officer at CKV relates more to another great passion in her life: helping those with memory impairment or dementia. “Throughout my career,” she says, “I have tried to develop programs for people at various stages of dementia. I feel like I was led – called – to serve in this way.” The idea of her interest being a calling repeats itself in Joy’s story. “In grad school I initially shied away from it,” she recalls. “I thought… that’s depressing. But I connected with faculty who inspired me.” She also spent a lot of time in nursing homes on her father’s job-related visits, and she had a grandmother who suffered from dementia and spent several years in a nursing home. “I wanted to do something, and this is a way to give back for the care she received,” she says.

Academic and clinical experience – focusing on long-term care – have prepared Bodnar for the job of raising memory care services at Cross Keys Village to a new level. “We have opportunities here,” she says. “Cross Keys Village already has the caring, compassion and commitment that are key to providing quality memory support services to residents in all stages of dementia. We hope to become a center for care that Cross Keys Village will become known for.”


Waterborne Antics Delight Crowds

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The fifth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta at Cross Keys Village, which took place last Friday, was the biggest and possibly the best ever. From its humble beginnings in the Harvey S. Kline Wellness Center swimming pool, the event has grown into a beloved and well-oiled local tradition, attracting hundreds of spectators packed tightly around our pond. We turned our landmark fountain off for the occasion, but our resident ducks were part of the audience, and even the press showed up.

11 boats competed in 6 races. Some of the boats were simple and sleek while others were marvels to behold (yet adhering to stringent restrictions on acceptable construction materials). As is their tradition, our Information Services (IT) Department erected a boat fit for a museum or at least an elaborate parade. The very size of the IT boat, the ISS Back Fire, made it unlikely it would win any race, but it was superbly engineered and held its own, going on to win “Best in Show” for elegance and style.

Regatta at Cross Keys Village

Speed was clearly the aim of the Last Ride, a sleek and hydrodynamic canoe created by Dining Services. They went on to win the Championship Race by a long stretch with their careful construction and expert paddling coordination. Another noteworthy winner was the USS Recovery that won the third race with an all-Villager crew, beating the handsome Monkey Business representing Adult Day Services. Unlike last year, two boats sank during the speed races, adding to the drama.

The last race is the Last Boat Afloat event, when sportsmanship gives way to all-out perfidy and no trick is too dirty. The Boot Camp Bomber, with a crew of team members with ninja-like determination was no match for the cunning of the SS Minnow manned by a deadly combination of Villager and Administrator. We warmly thank Gastley’s Moving and Storage, Latsha Davis & MacKenna Attorneys at Law, and Feiser Funeral Home for their support, and we can’t wait for the thrills and the spills coming up in June 2015.


Beloved Yearly Event Returns on Perfect Day

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

They’re beautiful, and they have the freedom of flight. There may be other reasons we’re captivated by butterflies – it helps that they don’t sting or bite – but those two certainly are significant. So when the Brethren Home Foundation at Cross Keys Village invites the public to see hundreds of Monarch butterflies released at once, the public shows up, also in the hundreds.

This year’s Butterfly Release – the 7th annual – happened Saturday, May 17, a perfect day: the bright sun warmed the butterflies (which had been chilled to dormancy) enough for them to become active, but the cooler temperatures kept them from all flying away immediately. As a result the Monarchs lingered, on the grass, in bushes and trees, and most delightfully, on people.

Butterlies Released at Cross Keys Village

The Foundation offers people the opportunity to sponsor butterflies in honor or memory of loved ones. The sponsor also may choose to release a butterfly (others are released from baskets). Seeing that beauty and freedom of flight emerging from a small cardboard container moved more than one sponsor to tears.

Proceeds benefit the Good Samaritan Fund, which assists Cross Keys Village residents who have outlived their financial assets, so there’s a good cause behind all the beauty and emotion. Life is much more fleeting for butterflies than for humans, yet we’re drawn to them. Cross Keys Village is pleased to have the opportunity to bring closer together two very different members of God’s family for this event. May the meanings it inspires for those who are part of it long remain as vivid as the beauty of a Monarch butterfly.


New Words Convey Enduring Mission

Sunday, May 11, 2014

During the winter of 2013, a few unsuspecting Cross Keys Village team members were called to a meeting where they were put on the spot and asked: “Can you recite our Mission Statement and our Core Values?” No one could quote the whole set easily. While the group managed with some effort to summon the Core Values, the lengthy Mission Statement eluded them in its entirety. But the point was not to humiliate these representatives from various departments. Being articulate, thoughtful and opinionated, they actually had been selected to collaborate on a new set of Core Values and an updated Mission Statement. None of them anticipated how long it would take and how much work would be involved. CVlogosetMED How intriguing it is that an organization like ours needs to refresh those key concepts when we have been doing basically the same thing – and very well – for 106 years. One is reminded of translations in classic foreign literature. The masterworks of a Tolstoy or a Balzac do not get old. However, their translations into English do, getting “dated” and periodically replaced. Similarly, Cross Keys Village needed to find a new way to tell, in a few words, who we are and towards what goal our journey leads.

Now the final phase starts: With the help of a local graphic designer, we are rolling out the five Core Values (at a rate of one a month), the Mission Statement, and our Vision. A new group of team members has been enlisted: those whose every working hour personifies a certain Core Value. Their inspiring endorsement will help our 700 team members “get it,” within the frame of snappy graphics. You may check out the whole campaign on our Pinterest page. It may be hard to believe, but sooner or later this up-to-the-minute set itself will need to be updated for the eyes and the ears of new generations.


Partners in Learning

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Community colleges are a great value, especially in our period of escalating education costs. We are fortunate, at Cross Keys Village, to be only twenty minutes away from a jewel amongst community colleges, the Gettysburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. As it happens, they appreciate us as much as we appreciate them, and our informal partnership has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few months.

HACC’s Gettysburg Campus has been a pioneer in offering elders the opportunity to audit selected classes with their 65+ Program. A small but enthusiastic group of our Health Care Center residents take advantage of this remarkable opportunity under the leadership of our Community Life Department. Imagine, auditing a college course at age 90 or older. This is not anyone’s preconceived idea of nursing home life, is it?

Cross Keys Village HACC Gettysburg

New girl on campus: our inimitable Alice Fox at the HACC-Gettysburg cafeteria

HACC’s Gettysburg Campus is also organizing day-long events called “Living and Learning” on their campus, with breakout sessions on subjects of interest to seniors. The next one is scheduled on May 15. Several of our villagers will make the trip to catch this special opportunity. One of our vice presidents will be presenting his up-to-date talk on how to recognize a scam (which is not always easy for those who grew up in more trusting times).

Terry Havel helps Health Care Center students recapture the 1940s

Terry Havel helps Health Care Center students recapture the 1940s

If this weren’t enough, HACC’s Gettysburg Campus also comes to us on a regular basis. Recently, Workforce Development Coordinator Jennifer Bodenstein started a series of Discovery Courses in our own Encore Room to teach villagers the best internet resources. The first session, “I Didn’t Know I Could Find That on the Internet” was ecstatically received. Not to be outdone, Professor Terry Havel came over and held a class on “Remembering the 1940s” in our Gallery Room for about 20 Health Care Center residents. As it happens, 2 of these students had audited his class at the Gettysburg Campus under the aegis of the 65+ Program. We look forward to cheerfully breaking stereotypes about aging and learning with our friends from HACC’s Gettysburg Campus, one session and one student at a time.


A Family Tradition of Service

Friday, April 4, 2014

When an organization reaches a century or more of existence, it is not rare to hear about employees from two generations in a certain family working side by side. However, having four team members representing three generations of a single family, all working together in the same department, is not something every mature company can write about.

Meet the Sponseller – Deyarmin clan. 33 years ago, Darlene Sponseller started working at the Brethren Home as a dishwasher. Over the years her responsibilities evolved and she is today a Cook and Baker Assistant. Darlene must have brought home some positive stories about her work. As a result, her three daughters joined our dining department in quick succession: Carolyn (not a team member at this time), Shari, and Darla. Darla only intended to work at the Brethren Home for a few months, but she fell in love with the ministry and she has been with us for 28 years. Today Darla’s title is Dining Services Technical Assistant. She oversees a huge program ranging from dining choices (and diet restrictions) for Health Care and Personal Care residents, the daily “takeout” order from Adult Day Services, and a sizable Meals-on-Wheels component.

Darlene and Darla have seen it all. One stressful day they still remember after many years saw a complete evacuation due to a bomb scare (later unsubstantiated). In comparison, most days in their long careers have been a breeze. As Darlene and Darla explain it, they both get their energy from serving others.

Tradition of Service at Cross Keys Village

Darla Deyarmin’s own daughter, Victorea, has inherited the strong-woman gene that runs from Darlene through Darla. Victorea is still in High School (Honor Roll student at Bermudian Springs), yet she already has a long history at Cross Keys Village: She started volunteering at age 12, which is as young as a volunteer can be. She created a line of paracord bracelets which she sells at bazaars and sales at Cross Keys Village, raising funds for our ministry. And she has been a team member – in Dining Services, of course – since the age of 16. Darla enjoys having her daughter work close to her: “Especially when I have a difficult day, seeing her brightens my day.”

One of our administrative goals for 2014 is to conduct a Team Member Satisfaction Survey. We will doubtlessly learn a lot from the survey, but we already know quite a bit more about our work environment after sitting down with Darlene, Darla and Victorea.


A Big Gift From a Quiet Group

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our large washing machines are best suited to laundering linen, such as sheets, pillow cases, and towels. However, many of our Health Care Center and Personal Care residents also trust us to wash their personal effects, and such clothes can take a beating when they are washed in an industrial machine. This aggravating situation came to the attention of a group of volunteers who happen to love a challenge.

Our various volunteer groups and committees run the gamut, but the most quiet group of all is probably the Stamp Group. They assemble in near silence to patiently soak canceled stamps off envelopes, dry them, and prepare them for sale to philatelists (in case you are wondering, the increasingly common adhesive stamps do not get soaked, they get neatly cut). Since most of the stamps are of little individual value, processing enough stamps to raise a noticeable amount of money is a time-consuming task.

New Washing Machine

A shiny and welcome addition

We can’t even imagine how many stamps went through those patient and loving hands, but last week, the Stamp Group presented the laundry department with a state-of-the-art commercial grade residential size washing machine. “Stampers” Dwight Monn and Louise Griffin came to the laundry area in person to check the shiny new piece of equipment, and they were greeted by enthusiastic Laundry Specialist Sandi Selby and Housekeeping & Laundry Manager Brian Fitz.


Not Your Mother’s Real Estate Sale

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When the start of Daylight Savings Time coincides with the first warmer day at the end of a long and dreary winter, it is a clear signal to some: enough talking, enough thinking… we need to put our house on the market. If that is your situation, congratulations to you: 2014 looks promising, especially in Adams County and in York County. More houses are selling, the average house price is increasing, and the “days on the market” period for the average house to sell is shrinking.

While these trends are encouraging, it is important to be aware of the way the real estate market has changed since you bought your house. We recently heard some valuable advice from Ellen Brown who works with Re/Max Quality Services in Hanover. Brown has been a top performer in our area for 21 years and she explained that houses do not sell today exactly as they did when The Cosby Show ruled prime time and Oldsmobile ruled the road.

Ellen Brown from Re/Max

Ellen Brown explains how times have changed

“Choose your real estate professional carefully,” Brown recommends. “This is possibly the biggest transaction you will ever make, so this is no time to be sentimental. Choose an agent with a proven and recent track record in your neighborhood. Pricing a house just right is more important than ever. Full-price offers and so-called bidding wars are  less frequent these days. Therefore,  you should not dismiss an offer too quickly.”

Brown attributes another recent trend to younger buyers’ hectic lives (and possibly to reality television shows such as House Hunters) resulting in higher buyer expectations. “Twenty years ago, sellers would offer a few thousand dollars’ worth of flooring allowance or painting allowance. Buyers appreciated the flexibility to pick their preferred colors and finishes. This is not true any longer. The average buyer overestimates the cost of repairs and upgrades, and expects a move-in ready house. Your real estate professional will give you valuable advice. Painting your faded shutters, for instance, may be all that stands between you and a quick and profitable house sale.”


Oral History Project Bridges Generations

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A handful of Gettysburg College history students made their way to Cross Keys Village in October 2013 to interview residents about their memories of World War II. (Instigated by Professor Michael Birkner shortly after he began teaching at Gettysburg College, this oral history project has been in progress for close to 25 years. More than 600 oral histories have been collected, across a wide range of life experience during the World War II era.)

Last Saturday, the students returned to our Encore Room to present the stories they had collected. Many villagers from the “Greatest Generation” attended, including the ones who had volunteered to be interviewed last fall. Many captivating stories were shared, and more volunteers were recruited for the future. Interestingly, after 70 years, two villagers with harrowing Pacific Theater memories told stories of mercy and forgiveness.

Leo Jarboe and student Melanie Fernandes

Leo Jarboe and student Melanie Fernandes

Villager Leo Jarboe shared his recollections of kamikaze dive bombers when he served on the destroyer USS Callaghan. The guns of the Callaghan downed three dive bombers during the Okinawa campaign. One kamikaze pilot survived and the Callaghan’s captain ordered him rescued and safely transported to another ship. As fate would have it, The Callaghan was hit by another dive bomber shortly thereafter and went down on July 28, 1945, the last Allied ship sunk by a kamikaze during the war.

Villager Carroll Adams recalled guarding a sentry post in occupied Japan one night, painfully aware that his weapon had no ammunition in it. He has seen civilians with sharpened bamboo spears, allegedly ready to fight to the end. One woman approached in the darkness, carrying a covered basket. Adams had visions of grenades and danger, but the woman opened her basket and offered him a warm sweet potato. Later on, as an airline pilot, he kept a special affection for Japan, our erstwhile enemy.

Elders like Leo Jarboe and Carroll Adams shared much more than memories with the Gettysburg students. They shared a message of humanity which fits beautifully with the spirit of our community. May we all continue to grow, learn, and understand each other better regardless of age.


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