March VAAP Voice

Inside this issue:

*  2020 VAAP Conference Cancellation Notice

2020 VAAP Membership Award Recipients

*  Letter from VAAP President, Betsy Jenkins, ADC

*  District News

>>> SWVAAP  / Article from Mardy Baker

>>> HRAPA  / Article from Tina Guthrie ADC/MC

>>> ARAAP News

*  VAAP Membership Renewal Information

2020 VAAP Conference Cancellation Notice

The health and wellness of our conference participants as well as the VAAP Membership is always our top priority, especially amid this peak flu season, and considering the recent measures across Virginia to contain a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  After much deliberation, the VAAP Board has determined that it would be best to cancel this year’s annual VAAP Conference, which was to be held in Newport News, March 24 – 27, 2020.

Hotel reservations should be cancelled by contacting the Marriott Newport News DIRECTLY at (757) 873-9299.

VAAP Treasurer Jo Tice will be refunding Conference registrations made through PayPal as well as those that were paid by check.  We thank you in advance for your patience as we work to resolve the financial issues associated with the cancellation of this conference.

The VAAP Board is so appreciative for your interest in attending the 2020 Conference, “Activity Professionals – Ordinary Heroes.”  We encourage you to keep visiting the VAAP website: and reading the VAAP Voice to keep abreast of other educational opportunities that VAAP will be offering its membership in the upcoming months.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Centers for Disease Control website: or the Virginia Department of Health website:

Again, thank you for your interest in attending the 2020 VAAP Conference.  More importantly, thank you for caring for and protecting our Older Adults in Virginia. You epitomize our 2020 Conference theme: “Activity Professionals – Ordinary Heroes.”

The VAAP Board of Directors


2020 VAAP Membership / Award Recipients

VAAP congratulates and appreciates the following individuals for their years of service and dedication to our profession.  They will receive their awards at a future date.

   5 year                                            10 Year                                      20 year

Peggy Hale                                  Pamela Arbogast                         Margy Faloney

Anita Landes                                Tina Guthrie                               Renee Gilbert

10 yr – Diane Scharf

10 yr -Shannon Smith

  30 Year                                          35 year

        Tom Adams                                  Donna Millis

        Jean Banks

Report from VAAP President, Betsy Jenkins ADC

Your Board of Directors met on Monday, January 27, 2020,  in Charlottesville, VA.  We had several things to discuss, but we primarily spent time putting the final touches on the 2020 VAAP conference which was to take place March 24 – 27, 2020 but has now been cancelled (PLEASE see notice above).   The conference chair, Tina Guthrie, and your VAAP Board, worked hard coordinating with the hotel, planning menus, etc., to make sure everything would go smoothly. **Please keep watching the site for updates on future educational offerings that VAAP will be making available later on this year.

While many people utilize the internet, or other electronic venues to obtain their continuing education, I personally have always found that I gained the most benefit from networking with my peers from across the state.  Always be sure to bring your business cards with you to activity events, as you will want to swap them with many of the new friends you will meet at the different events, workshops and conferences.  If you have been to our VAAP venues before, you have known the joy of reconnecting with people you have met at previous conferences/events.  I personally look forward to carpooling to conference with my beautiful friend, Renee’, who I only connect with once a year.  We have a whole year of catching up to do, so there is hardly a two- second break to take a breath as we make the 6-hour drive.

The VAAP Board contracted Cindy Bradshaw as General Manager. She has worked very hard this year to build our membership and enhance our communications with the members. Cindy has also spread the word about VAAP to Activity Professionals around the state.  She has reactivated this newsletter, which is our main line of communication with our members.   She has traveled to several districts and provided educational seminars and information about our organization.  One huge undertaking that Cindy did was to clean up our mailing list so that we don’t waste time and money sending information to invalid addresses. Please be sure to keep us abreast of any changes in your contact information. All these efforts are paying off!  We are gaining some new members and reminding some former members that we are still here.  

We will also be holding elections at our next annual meeting.  We need to fill the positions of President and Treasurer.   If you would be willing to serve, or know someone who might be willing, please contact Robin Cooper, Nominations Chair, right away at

CARE-aoke  by Mardy Baker, Life Enrichment Director at Warm Hearth Village, Blacksburg. (SWVAAP)

Okay, it is spelled Karaoke, but it’s CARE-aoke for those that work with seniors.  Karaoke originated in Japan in the 1970’s and became popular in the United States around the early 90’s.  Imagine holding a microphone, singing at the top of your voice with colored lights, fog and bubble machines as the fake applause roars in your ears. You are instantly transported to the main stage of an arena where you are the big star! Karaoke is far more than a “sing-a-long”; it is playtime for any level of performer to embody their favorite singer or musician in a non-judgmental atmosphere.  It is truly a gift for those who love the spirit of music. 

In a health care setting, Karaoke can be a great tool to foster group participation, reminiscing, word use and engagement skills.  For those who have outgoing personalities in their care, or for those who love those church hymnals, the experience of Karaoke is one we can all enjoy.

In the past, you had to have an expensive machine, mics and cables, vast amounts of special CD’s, books to list the songs, etc.. Now, all you need is your smartphone or tablet (with access to the internet) and an HDMI cable to connect to a TV.  No need to haul the large amounts of equipment around and find extra storage, you can simply hook these things together with a cheap HDMI adapter, and through the magic of YouTube, find hundreds of thousands of Karaoke songs that will play on the TV.  You don’t even need the microphone, but for some of us it’s a must.

To search for a song in the YouTube app or web site, just add the word Karaoke to your song title lookup.  Results pop up in several keys and versions.  Most times a color will spread over the words as you sing, easily clueing you and your residents in on the tempo and words.  Hint: Take some time before your program to look some popular songs up, or even check out some Karaoke sites that will automatically roll to a new song without typing in a new search.

Still not sure if you want to venture to a full Karaoke experience?  It’s okay!  You can use YouTube to look up “senior sing-a-longs” or “campfire songs”.  There are even channels dedicated to senior enrichment where the person sings along to the words shown on the screen and sometimes includes comedic banter.   Don’t think Karaoke is just a glorified way of popping in a DVD; this is a fully engaging experience that can lead to dancing and if you are lucky, you can even perform “Summer Nights” with your administrator.  It’s all possible when you CARE-aoke.

SWVAAP District

SWVAAP Member, Beverly Adams will be hosting the next Quarterly District Workshop which will be on Monday, April 27, 2020 at Harmony Independent Living in Roanoke, Virginia, starting at 9:30am. RSVP to

HRAPA District

The next meeting will be Thursday, April 9, 2020 at Hidenwood Newport News 50 Wellesley Dr Newport News VA 23606 – starting at noon. Please RSVP to  Lunch provided.


Join us at our quarterly meeting at Cracker Barrel, exit 7, Bristol Va. Friday, April 24th, 10am. We will be discussing survey readiness and outcomes as well as dealing with pandemics and quarantines in healthcare settings. *Please be prepared to discuss and share resources you have used in your center during times of excessive illness or quarantine. RSVP – Leta Cole or Laurie Hawkins

Gardening Made Easy by Tina Guthrie ADC/MC

We all have been involved in gardening some more than others. I LOVE gardening in all forms as many of you know from previous articles I have written on the topic. Here are some fun ways to involve the residents of varying levels in gardening.

For inside gardening the first step is to find a nice spot to put your garden. A sunny spot by the window that is in full view of the residents, staff and families. It is nice for the residents to be able to “show off their garden.” Some will show families and friends what they do and how pretty that area is. It is also nice for families to see what the residents are involved in on a day to day basis.

Next you need to decide what type of a garden.  Depending on what kind of garden you want it could be on a table, windowsill, shelf or my personal favorite is on a ladder. You get a wooden ladder with steps on both sides as even as possible. These are usually older ones that you might find at thrift shops, yard sales or maybe ask families if they have an old one they can donate for your project. Get shelves cut to the size and length you want for your garden. I usually go to Lowes as they will cut it for you. Set up your ladder, and paint or decorate it if your residents want to. Put in your shelves and you are ready to go.

Get your pots, soil (I use a good potting soil as it is less maintenance and does not need to be changed as often), and you will need a table, I usually cut garbage bags and cover the table or butcher block paper works as well. Plants can be bought, donated or if you have access to some just use cuttings. You can also use seeds if they are put in glass or clear vases the residents can watch them grow.

Set the time for your group and gather the residents. Some will want to “get their hands dirty” others will want to watch. Either way it is good for them as it promotes conversation, reminiscing, and storytelling. It is amazing the stories you will hear during these groups. Allow the residents to lead the conversation once it gets going.

If you have a variety of containers the residents can choose which one they want. If you are using containers with no drain put a small amount of rocks in the bottom, this helps drain excess water off so the plants do not get root rot. You will need to set a watering schedule, or the plants will get overwatered by “helpful” people. Once the plants or seeds are potted put them in your chosen location.

As the plants grow you can cut and root them for more plants. If you get an overabundance of plants, which after a while you will, a good idea is to have a plant sale. You can raise money for a resident project or to maintain your garden

Outside gardening: That is fun as well the same steps can be followed with a few changes. Rose Gardens are pretty if you have the space and are fairly easy to maintain. The residents can water them but may need assistance with cutting the tops off and keeping them pruned back. The outside gardening is useful to get them outside when the weather is nice. If you have above ground gardens, veggies are also fun.  The residents will often watch the fruit grow and ripen. Be aware that they may pick them and eat them. I stay away from pesticides for this reason.

For people who do not come out of their rooms, if your place allows, complete this process in the room or apartment. If they choose seeds leave one or two in the room, take the rest to “join” the others letting the person know where “their plants” will be so if they want to “visit” they can, and encourage those visits. I would suggest you check in on the resident or involve the staff in assisting them to care for the plant. This is a good project for a volunteer as well.  Happy Planting!


Many of you that were members in 2018-2019 have not yet renewed your VAAP Membership.  Remember that the VAAP Membership year now runs January 1 – December 31st of each calendar year.  Be sure to complete the renewal form and send to the Treasurer to keep your membership in good standing!