Communication is key

Ashby Ponds’ TV station keeps everyone informed and entertained

Created date

August 11th, 2020
Executive Director Will Nance appears on Daily Update, where he provides the latest news and information from around campus on Ashby Ponds’ in-house TV channel.

Executive Director Will Nance appears on Daily Update, where he provides the latest news and information from around campus on Ashby Ponds’ in-house TV channel.

In April, the local Fox News affiliate, Fox 5 DC, shared video footage of Ashby Ponds community members joining together daily in song during the COVID-19 shelter at home directive. But performing in front of the cameras is nothing new to members of this Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn, Va. 

Recognizing the importance of television programming in providing both timely information and entertainment, Ashby Ponds community members and staff have fully engaged their own in-house television station in educating and engaging community members throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

“During this unprecedented time, Ashby Ponds TV [Channel 972], serves as a primary communication resource in our efforts to keep our community members and staff fully informed,” says Executive Director Will Nance. “Each day, our Daily Update program provides detailed safety information and communitywide precautions. In addition, Channel 972 also provides the unique ability to provide entertainment and exercise programming, which goes a long way in keeping our community members engaged and connected. Our goal throughout COVID-19 is to help our residents not just survive but thrive.”

“I absolutely believe that Channel 972 is crucial in the sharing of updates and protocols resulting from COVID-19,” says community member Lyn Lubic. “I watch every day. Will is calm and knowledgeable and does a great job communicating Erickson Living’s planning and preparation as well as sharing what is going on in the local community.”

Spreading the word

Even before Governor Ralph Northam issued the stay-at-home order for the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 12, 2020, Ashby Ponds staff were already communicating important communitywide safety precautions to residents through the use of Channel 972. In fact, from mid-March to the end of June, the station had provided more than 150 original programs. 

“Our rate of programming really ramped up during this time,” says Kosta Viennas, Ashby Ponds’ community TV and AV manager. “The creativity among both staff and residents in bringing this programming to life is remarkable.” 

The crowing jewel of Channel 972’s COVID-19 response programming is Will Nance’s Daily Update. As a trusted leader in the Ashby Ponds community, Nance provides timely COVID-related information, birthday shoutouts, announcements, and opportunities for staff members to provide department updates. In addition, several times a week, Nance interviews residents via a Zoom video call, who share with their neighbors the ways they are thriving during this time.

Each episode is also uploaded to YouTube, enabling family members and friends to also stay informed. Each week, viewership has continued to grow as Nance addresses everything from meal preparation to mask-wearing requirements and physical distancing measures. In his most recent program, Nance provided updates on the campus shuttle schedule and mail delivery.

“I share the YouTube version of Will’s daily updates with our daughter,” says community member Kim Finan. “The program gives her a sense that things are under control and makes our safety real for her.”  

Must-see TV

In addition to the important communitywide updates, Channel 972 also offers additional programming, including the popular Tuesday Happy Hour program, interfaith Sunday services, live trivia games, lectures, and Zoom interviews with local politicians.

Ashby Ponds’ Happy Hour airs live on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. and again throughout the day. The popular program consists of 30 minutes of fun, positive programming, including personal interviews with various staff members, followed by 30 minutes of a live fitness routine created by Ashby Ponds Fitness Specialist Debbie Enright. In addition to physical fitness, the program also provides mental, or Power Braining, exercises.

“We enjoy the Happy Hour show each week,” say community members Mel and Sharon Lew. “It is nice learning more about the families of our staff. We are thankful for all they are doing for us here at Ashby Ponds.”

Ashby Ponds’ resident life staff utilize Channel 972 as they adapt the community’s vast activities calendar to television programming. Recently, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring debuted on Channel 972, via the live video conferencing tool Zoom.

“We continue to invite everyone who was previously scheduled to visit our campus for a presentation to address our community via Zoom,” says Viennas. “So far, we’ve been very successful, airing presentations from State Senator Jennifer Bosko and Virginia State delegate David Reid.”

Fun and games

Keeping residents not only informed but entertained remains a hallmark of Channel 972 programming. Each week, the station holds raffles, awarding a designated caller with a prize, such as Ashby Ponds spirit wear and merchandise. 

Recently, the station began utilizing Mentimeter, a real-time, interactive PowerPoint application allowing residents to answer questions in real time, from their computers or phones. The new app is particularly useful during trivia games as residents can respond immediately and see their progress on a leaderboard.

In addition to participating in the Daily Update and trivia games, Ashby Ponds community members also provide programming for their neighbors to enjoy.

Raoul Drapeau created an eight-part video lecture series, and photography club members Jack Nevitt and Paul Wormeli share narrated photo slides from their numerous travel adventures.  

“My husband Bill and I watch and work out with the 9:00 a.m. yoga class and the noon exercise classes,” says Alicia Sommers. “We watch the Saturday evening movies and enjoy the photography club slide shows from the many talented residents’ travels. We also enjoy the numerous interviews by Ashby Ponds’ talented and interesting residents and employees. Channel 972 has many discussions about how to handle living with the many changes during this time and how to stay safe.”

“We appreciate hearing about the positive impact Channel 972 is making during this time,” says Nance. “Our in-house television station is proving to be a terrific asset in our efforts to help our community thrive.” 

To learn more about being part of a connected and engaged senior living community like Ashby Ponds, request a brochure today. 

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