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‘A chance to shine’

Retirees’ clubs form the fabric of Oak Crest’s fun, vibrant lifestyle

Created date

March 21st, 2014
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“Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life.” This popular tune from 86 years ago is more relevant than ever today, as a new study shows having a positive outlook may help add years to your life. 

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and enjoying laughter, as well as staying engaged in activities, may prolong your life.

‘The sky is the limit’

Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md. offers hundreds of opportunities to have fun, stay engaged, and enjoy an active social life.

“No day here at Oak Crest is the same,” says Nadine Wellington, community resources manager. 

“There are 170 clubs, classes, and activities to get involved in—there’s really something for everyone. The sky is the limit.”

Whatever your interest, chances are Oak Crest already has a club for it. Interested in trying your hand at woodworking? How about quilting, painting, acting, or model yacht racing? Everything from book clubs to computers and bocce to billiards can be found in the community’s Community Resources Catalog. And if your hobbies and interests aren’t listed, it’s easy to start your own club; Wellington and her team are happy to help. 

A former Harford County elementary school principal, Wellington and her staff facilitate whatever Oak Crest residents need to accomplish their goals. 

“Oak Crest provides you the opportunity to do things you’ve never done before and maybe something that you’ve always wanted to do,” says Wellington. “It’s my job to help you fulfill those dreams.”

Just a few months after moving to Oak Crest from Florida in 2013, Maryland natives John and Jean Stewart started a ballroom dance class.

“We taught dance lessons when we lived in Florida and long before that in Harford County,” says Jean. “Right after we moved to Oak Crest, we attended a welcome meeting for new residents, and we mentioned to Nadine [Wellington] that we loved to dance. Another dance couple who lives here, Walter Ballesteros and Gerry Onorato, encouraged us to host a class, and that is what really planted the seed to get it going.”   

Jean and John now hold a Monday night ballroom dance class with 16 students.  

“Nadine and her staff were a big help,” says Jean. “They created flyers for the bulletin boards, we appeared on the in-house community television station to talk about the classes and do a demonstration, and they reserved the hall here on campus where we hold the class.”  

New faces, new ideas

According to Wellington, the continual influx of new people moving to Oak Crest aids in the rapid input of fresh ideas for new clubs and groups.

 “I think many people are surprised when they discover just how many different resident-driven groups we actually have,” says Wellington. “Our residents continuously are looking to explore new ideas and try new things. In fact, already this year we have three new groups that are forming. There is a new theater readers group, a flower arranging class, and another group who would like to get together and share their knowledge of antiques.”

New residents Gen and Bill Metzger, along with a handful of their Oak Crest neighbors, are in the process of starting a new social club called Acorn After Dark, where residents can come together twice a month to talk, dance, and relax with friends.  

“There is already a monthly dance held here in the community, but it’s strictly ballroom dancing,” says Bill. “We thought it would be nice to also have a more casual gathering maybe twice a month in our Acorn Pub where people could get together and enjoy music from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.” 

For service-minded individuals, there are also plenty of volunteer opportunities at Oak Crest, from helping kids learn to read to making casseroles for Catholic Charities like Our Daily Bread, and knitting blankets for local hospitals.  

“I’m always amazed at the level of energy that permeates through this community,” says Wellington. “Our residents love to give their time and energy to so many causes. Our motto is ‘Each new day offers a chance to shine!’”