Category Archives: Community Meeting

Collington Strategic Plan Presentation

A Roadmap for the Future of Our Community, the new Strategic Plan for Collington, was presented at the Community Meeting on Friday, November 17. Marvell Adams, Executive Director, led the presentation with Board members Cindy Medlock, Kay Laughton, Ken Burton, and Sara Case, Chief Financial Officer Justin Reaves, and Resident Association President Pat Howard participating. Marvell emphasized that the Strategic Plan represents the inputs of many residents, staff, and board members who participated in 8 work groups over the last year.

The Strategic Plan includes four broad goals and 17 supporting objectives. The four goals:

  • Deliver Excellence in Health and Wellness
  • Enrich Collington Culture & Stakeholder Engagement
  • Steward Our Resources to Provide Excellence in the Collington Experience
  • Serve Our Broader Community as an Outstanding Leader and Partner

A new Mission Statement was also introduced: Creating community for older adults and all they care about inspired by their vision for purposeful lives. This was accompanied by a new Vision Statement and an affirmation of the Kendal Values and Practices. Implementation and an operational work plan will begin January 2018 focusing first on health and wellness.

A copy of the presentation is available here.

An official detailed publication will be available November 30.


Politics in Action at Collington — Good News, Bad News

On Saturday, November 4th, the League of Women Voters of Prince George’s County graced Collington with its presence and that of newly elected junior U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.  He is a member of the powerful Appropriations and Budget Committees.  Many of us found his presentation very impressive.

After an open meeting of the League, Senator Van Hollen addressed a crowded auditorium.  The Senator first shared the good news.

A bipartisan Congress authorized the formation of a commission to commemorate the life and work of Maryland born Frederick Douglass on the bicentennial anniversary of his birth.  Douglass was a runaway slave who became an orator, abolitionist, author and advisor to President Lincoln.   You can go to to learn more about Douglass and the commission.

Another good news story for many there, was, of course, the prevention of the complete demolition of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This would have included 1 trillion dollars in cuts to medicaid (2/3 of which would have affected seniors and people with disabilities).  The Senator praised the effectiveness of the two single-spaced pages of advocacy and provider groups who opposed repeal of the ACA.  National organizations like AARP also played a very significant role.

However, the Senator reported that our biggest challenge ahead is now the proposed tax bill which he vehemently opposes.  The bill offers big, big tax breaks to big corporations, to the tune of 2 trillion dollars.

The means to pay is to increase the taxes on many middle-class families.  One proposed change is to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes.  This is basically double taxation.  Corporations, of course, will continue to deduct these taxes.  This bill also authorizes increasing the national debt to $1.5 trillion, something Republicans talk about being against.  Therefore Senator Van Hollen believes that if this bill passes, the Republicans will implement severe cuts to important programs in health, education, housing, etc.

(Perhaps of even greater concern to Collingtonians —and indeed Collington and all life care communities — is the proposal to eliminate the medical expense deduction.  Given the importance of that deduction in our personal budgets, and those of future residents of all lifecare communities, this is going to have a big impact — if it goes through.  The Washington Post reported on this issue here.

Van Hollen reported that Republicans will try to strong arm this bill through this week without hearings or amendments.   What can we do since our Senators are already against this tactic?   Well, Senator Van Hollen suggests we contact organizations with national chapters who can represent us and also reach out to people in other states and encourage them to contact their own legislators.

Not bad ideas at all, considering what is at stake.

Strategic Planning Status Report

On Friday at our Community Meeting, Marvell Adams reported on the moving forward of our strategic planning process.  The slides appear below.


As you cab see, we are making significant progress.  As you can also see, we continue to be ambitious, in the best sense of the word, in wanting to embrace the future, to be of service in the world, and indeed to change it.


Strategic Planning Engagement Report

Last week, at the Community Meeting, Executive Director Marvell Adams shared his presentation on the status of, and questions for, strategic planning.  I would strongly urge everyone to take a look at the whole thing.

Marvell presented one slide for each of the Working Group areas, focusing on questions that the groups have been and might focus on.  Here are two of particular interest to me, at least:


Generally, I would make the point that these are intentionally big questions. They encourage not an incremental, but a blue sky approach to the future of our community, one that builds on our strengths, but that aims for a community much more engaged in the world.  This obviously reflects in part the sense that this is a different time.

Each of the slides lists the co-chairs of the Working Group, and I would urge you to think about these questions and give input and ideas.

A personal note:  I have occasionally been met by some resident skepticism about the ultimate decision-making process for the strategic plan.  As someone who has been a resident member of both iterations of this Committee, and have watched all its steps, I want to reassure you that huge respect is being given to resident ideas, values and the input process. I am absolutely confident that the ultimate plan will deeply respect this input — indeed would be simply impossible without it.

If anyone needs more reassurance, let anyone involved in the process let know — or join it yourself.

But, first of all, look at the whole presentation.

This slide shows all the areas of work.


Thanks to all.


Third Educational Presentation — Some Things Gardenspot Has Learned

A few week ago we heard from CEO Steve Lindsey of Gardenspot Village about the innovation process and how to create a culture that values and focuses upon innovation.  It was a powerful and highly stimulating presentation, made all the more relevant in its urging of activism by last weeks events.  I have partially caught some of his thoughts, but I urge all to listen to the video.

Do not do what everyone else is doing.  Do what no one is doing.

Everythng is changing.  He compared the photos of the Papal announcements of the last two Popes.  In the newer one, everyone effectively has a computer in his hand.

A Model for thinking about the health center.  Not like a hospital, but like a home.  Clusters of rooms with the focus being the kitchen, not the nursing station.  Breakfast when you want it, and what you want.  Do what you want with your time on your schedule.  Put people back in charge of their own lives.

“Think inside the box, be aware of constraints.  Innovation is where where passion meets constraints. Those constraints can be regulatory, financial, cultural, etc.  Use the constraints as your pivot to vision, mot to limit but to be realistic.

More varied inter-generational activity.  The usual inter-generational idea is a preschool.  But Gardenspot had a constraint.  There was already a great preschool.  Instead they build a kid-grandparent camp, to which kids come and stay with their relatives for a week.  The staff volunteer to help.  The project has no budget, yet builds connections between adults and grandchildren that empower all

Beyond Monochromatic.  The challenge is how to connect with other cultures. Through the Mennonite Central Committee, Garden spot created an international internship program in which your people come from all over the world for a year to work .

Think Big – Act small.  Its important to know that it is OK to fail, so do things in fail-able ways – i.e. that you can recover and take a new approach, rather than get seriously damaged.

Curate to create.  Gardenspot encourages everyone, whenever they see anything that impresses or inspires them to take and share a quick photo.  Their public space is inspired by a hotel lobby designed to serve as a community center — not just for the retirement group, but for the county community as a whole.  Being welcome to outsiders is transformative.  (We could use the website or the discussion list to do this.)

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”  Picasso.

Local is the New Organic.  Gardenspot has their own hdyophonic greenhouse, inspired by one in Zambia,  and by EPCOT.

We are in Post demographic society. Peoples’ preferences are no longer driven by their demographics.  People want huge variety in dining, and not only in food, but also in environments.  In dining, people also want booths, private conversation capacity, and a community table that becomes the center of the party.

A Culture of Innovation.  Every community has a culture. We need Culture of Innovation. One that is flexible, takes risks, is tolerant of failure, and always awake to possibility.

 Favorite Photo.  A 101 year old Mennonite resident banging in nails to help build a pre-made home that can be moved in components to disaster areas.

Activism driven by vision and purpose. At our age, others do the chores, we have purpose.  They are engaged in local and statewide politics, have person on the Governor’s Council on Ageing, a part of the watershed restoration group, and so on.  Let teams develop organically from residents own interests and drive.

Need a process to develop ideas and innovations.  This needs to be fluid.  There is a director’s conversation opportunity every other week to which everyone can come to get answers to questions and make suggestions.