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Resident Events is a resource for property management professionals to find, share, and rate community events and apartment party ideas with each other!  Need some community event ideas?  Just take a look around!

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yesterday
Action-packed Super Bowl Party yesterday

Nothing beats the camaraderie and fun of a throw down Super Bowl party. It’s great way to get residents in the competitive spirit, and enjoy good eats as well.

If you’ve ever thrown an away game tailgating party for your residents, you can adopt some aspects of that event into this party. However, for a true Super Bowl party it’s all about great seats, good eats and most importantly, the game.

Food

You can either plan to provide food at the event, or arrange a potluck on the day of the event. Ensure you have all your bases covered (pizza, soda, wings, chips and dips, etc.) Encourage pre-game signs ups for all the basics well in advance and send our text or email reminders in the days before the event.

***TIP*** You can also use a free online signup tool like Perfect Potluck or Sign Up Genius to coordinate dishes and send automated email reminders to residents. This will take the headache out of individually reminding residents of their commitments, leaving you more time to focus on coordinating other aspects of the event.

Consider having a buffet table set up off to one side that holds all the main courses and heartier fare. Spread additional tables and snack stations around the room for convenient refueling during the game.

Image source: Pixabay

Beverages

Considering your community rules this may need to be an alcohol-free event. If that is the case, consider having a range of non-alcoholic drinks in ice filled coolers placed strategically around the room, this will add to the festive atmosphere and Super Bowl party feel.

Seating

Other than food and beverages, a good view of the game and plenty of seating should be your next priority. Consider setting up extra tables and chairs with a view of the television and bringing in additional seating - like chairs and sofas - from other areas of your community.

***TIP*** For children and flexible adults, you can also spread out blankets on the floor with cushions and pillows to make additional seating in the front row that won’t block the view of the game.

Image source: Pixabay

Television or projector

When it comes to viewing the big game you want to create a larger than life experience. Consider contacting rent-to-own stores in your area to arrange a television rental for the big day.

Men’s Journal notes that it’s certainly much more cost effective to rent a TV for your big Super Bowl party than buy. However, you may need to pay for at least 1-2 weeks rental for a large screen television or projection screens. Be sure to call around and look for the best deal well in advance of the big day.

***BONUS*** To make the most of your rental investment, consider scheduling at least one other movie marathon or film event at your community in the same TV rental time period.

Dress up and contests

Encourage residents to dress up in team colors, jerseys, hats, and face paint to support their favorite team. This will create a more game-like atmosphere with cheers and jeers throughout the game.

You may also want to host a friendly competition at the event to earn winning residents gift cards and bragging rights. Have residents try to predict the winning team and final score and award prizes to the winners. You can give away things like $25 gift cards, or gift certificates to local stores and restaurants.

Make them pick a favorite

Unless the Super Bowl just happens to be featuring the hometown team, most likely it is featuring two teams from two unrelated cities.  That means that the bulk of your attendees want to watch, but don't really have a "stake" in the game.  So here is a tip that really works:  For everyone who attends, make them pick a team to root for.  What this does is create an environment where everybody is actively rooting for someone.  We have tried this at Super Bowl events, and people tend to get emotionally connected to whichever team they "picked", even though it really doesn't impact them in the end.  It results in a much more active and fun environment where everybody is much more invested in the game, and not just watching the commercials.

Clean up

Big parties call for big clean ups. Make sure you have plenty of garbage cans placed strategically around your event area. Keep plenty of napkins and hand wipes available as well.

Murder Mystery yesterday

You know how you have all of these resident socials and hardly anyone shows up and when they do, no one talks to one another? We recently had a resident event that guranteed that the residents interacted with each other, with us and it drew a crowd. We hosted Legacy at Friendly Manor's 1st annual Murder Mystery. All in attendance was assigned roles, dressed in character, given questions and scripts. Then everyone was required to mingle and ask certian questions and then offer certain information. The mystery we held was about an awards show - like the Academy Awards - and one of the rising stars was murdered. Then after the "murder", we then had to mingle and question people again. It was so much fun that by the end of it we had run over our expected end time, and residents were asking when we were going to do another one. It was AWESOME! We know that we are going to do one again, maybe another one this fall.

Extreme Couponing Night! yesterday

 

Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. Let’s pick a night during the week to show the residents how to get started. They supplies you will need are scissors, coupons, portable file boxes, and hanging folders.

 

1.)  There are 2 main sources of coupons: newspaper inserts and printable coupons. FYI Local businesses might let you have any unsold Sunday papers they have leftover come Monday. Multiple copies mean multiple coupons. Let your residents know not to settle for one newspaper. Get weekend subscriptions to several (provided they carry quality ads and aren't too expensive).

 

2.)  Here are a few websites you can go to for printable coupons. Coupons.com, Coupon Network, Red Plum, and Smart Source. There are also coupons available quite often on company websites and Facebook pages. You will generally only print coupons when you need them.  Most printable coupons have a limit of 2 per computer, so it helps to have more than one computer.

 

3.)  Tell your residents to consider buying a cheap black and white printer they will be printing a LOT of coupons.

 

4.)  Get organized. There is The Filing Method: The filing system is probably the easiest to set and requires the least amount of time and effort to maintain. The filing system is two-fold.  For my weekly newspaper inserts, use a portable file box with hanging folders.  Each folder is labeled with the date, and then each Sunday just plop the whole stack of inserts in the folder. (Also have a folder labeled “to sort,” which is handy for keeping track of coupons you’ve printed or clipped but then not used but haven’t yet had time to put away.)

These are just a few websites, but there are so many out there that are just as informative as the websites we have provided you with. Your residents will appreciate you helping them save money!



The Beginner’s Guide to Coupons:

http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/beginners-guide-to-coupons/thebeginners-guide-to-coupons-2/

 

The Krazy Coupon Lady:

http://thekrazycouponlady.com/category/extreme-couponing/

 

10 Extreme Coupon Tips for Normal People:

http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/5-extreme-coupon-tips-for-normal-people.htm#page=0

 

Extreme Couponing 101:

http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com/beginners/extreme-couponing-101

 

Lozo:

http://lozo.com/grocery-coupons-bundler

 

Extreme Couponing 101: Tips For Shopping Walmart!:

http://www.mycitymommy.com/2011/07/extreme-couponing-101-tips-for-shopping-walmart.html

 

 

"Dive in" Movie 2 days ago

We partnered with our local cable company for this event. They brought the 5'x5' inflatable screen, the movie (we requested Finding Nemo) and even snacks and drinks. They set it up at the end of the pool so people in and out of the pool could see it. All we had to do was advertise the event as being sponsored by them and be there to help co-host it. Our cable rep was there to answer any questions and give out their flyers if asked but they did not use it as a time to try to sell more cable - just a "we appreciate you" event. :) The residents loved it and so did we because the only cost to us was to print out flyers and tossed in a few of the $1 inflatable toys from Dollar Tree. SUPER easy and fun! P.S. - It will need to be an early evening/night event so you can see the movie on the screen. :)

Oscar Night 2 days ago

Roll out the red carpet and pop the popcorn for a funfilled night of movie extravaganza!

Decorating: In the community room you decorate with movie posters, have a red carpet outside leading up to the community building, rent the large sky lights to highlight the event, and hang a banner above the door announcing your "Movie Event".

Fun and Games: Pass out ballots for residents to vote for their winner in each category. The resident with the most correct answers wins a prize. Gold awards are available at party stores. Have residents dress as their favorite movie star. Plat charades trying to guess movie titles.

Food: Champagne, finger food, star shaped cookies, sandwiches, etc. popcorn

Memorial Wall 2 days ago

For Memorial Day we chose to honor those who are or have served in the arm forces. We prepared a picture wall of the residents loved ones. Starting on May 1st we have a candle lit during the day to honor each one of arm forces individuals and on Memorial Day we are having a coffee, where the residents can tell about the individual that is on the wall.

Cardboard Drive In Movie 2 days ago

Ah, the joy of a cardboard box when you are 5.  Something so simple can turn into something magical when you have the imagination of a child!  This idea is to make a simple drive in movie experience, even though it is doubtful any kids in your community have actually experienced the real thing.  They get to decorate their cars with wheels, brake lights, racing stripes, and anything else they can think of.

Then let them watch an outdoor movie in their new rides!

Maybe my own imagination is getting away with me, but I think it would be a blast to arrange the cars like they were racing and do quasi action shots with the kids looking like they are in a bitter race for first.  Could probably get some great pictures of the event this way!

 

All in all, a cheap and easy event for kids in your community! 

6 days ago
Blood Donor Drive 6 days ago

January is National Blood Donation month. It’s a time for donating life-giving blood and giving back to your community to ensure a safe blood supply for those in need. It also makes it a great time to organize a blood donation event for your residents living in your community.

January is special, but you can still organize such an event other times of the year as well. It is possible for blood drives to be organized at any time, and in a way that works best for your community.

Blood drives can be set up on site at a location of your choosing, or you can encourage residents to go to a local center to give. You may also be eligible for a blood drive mobile collection center that can come and park and set up within your community.

Gauging interest

For this event to work best it’s important to gauge interest from your community ahead of time and work on getting appointments set up. Usually donors can sign up for certain donation time slots and then show up at their appointed time to give. This ensures that everyone leaves enough time to answer the health questionnaires and is given the attention they each need throughout the donation process.

 

Image source: Pixabay

It’s best to reach out to and consult with your local Red Cross or other local blood donation center to coordinate the details of your event.

The Red Cross offers recruitment strategies and tips on their website that can help your designated blood drive coordinator pull together the numbers needed to host a large scale event. There is also a toolkit of resources that can help you advertise the event, set appointments for donors, and keep things running smoothly on the big day.

Sharing stories

Reach out to members of your community to gather stories of those who have received life-saving blood donations at some point in their life. Your residents will connect with others who are similar to them and lived through tragic accidents or life-threatening situations.

Share these stories on social media and in newsletters to drum up more support for the event and greater participation.

Image source: Pixabay

Similarly it’s also helpful to share donor stories from those who have given blood in the past so that others know what to expect. Sharing donor stories can remove some of the fears that people make have about giving blood and make them more likely to sign up and participate.

Incentives

Unfortunately, it’s unethical and dangerous for communities and organizations to offer financial incentives or other prizes for donating. Offering incentives for giving blood may entice potential donors to lie in their health interview or questionnaire.

***TIP*** For safety reasons, it’s important to encourage residents to give just for the sake of giving. If you’re insistent in giving some type of gift or incentive to participants, be sure to check with your blood drive coordinator to ensure it’s allowed.

You can always offer after-donation snacks and drinks for your resident participants, or gift large quantities of food items to the center on behalf of residents as well. In this way you can ensure you’re your residents feel okay to work and drive after donating.

Organizing a blood drive is a great way to bond and connect members of your community to their participation in a single crucial and life-saving event. It will also ensure that you are part of an important social community activity that saves millions of lives every year.

2 weeks ago
Color Me Happy! Adult Coloring Event 2 weeks ago

The success of adult-themed coloring books in recent years means that many have heard about the benefits, or already tried the trend for themselves. There is nothing quite as fun and relaxing as diving into coloring an elaborate picture to perfection. It can ease stress and also brighten your mood.

An adult coloring event is a great weeknight event. It can be especially needed mid-week to get adults over the work-week hump and let off stress at this fun community-building event.

Preparations

Any adult coloring night is going to need coloring utensils and coloring sheets.

You will likely need to pre-print pages unless your book comes with perforated pages that can be removed from the binding. Consider acquiring a variety of images including tribal designs, mandalas, still life pictures, or even buildings and architectural designs. Ensure you have something for everyone so that all residents are happy!

Image source: Pixabay

***TIP*** If you have a copier on site, you can let the adults pick which pages to copy out of a single book and use those for coloring. This will save you from paper wastage and ensure that everyone is getting their favorite (and unique) picture to color!

Day of the event

Aim to leave at least an hour and a half for everyone to arrive and get settled and still have time to color all (or at least most) of an intricate sheet.

Consider putting on some stress busting sounds like soft blues, jazz, classical music, or other meditative music to help establish a creative mood and relaxing atmosphere at this event.

Materials

Crayons simply won’t work on such finely detailed designs and pattered pages! Instead, collect a variety of quality colored pencils (Prismacolor is a great brand) or have fine tip markers available as well.

You can also set up a few watercolor pencils, brushes and cups. These can be used to color in areas of the page with fine lines (just as you would with a colored pencil) or also smoothed with water to paint and cover larger areas of the page.

Image source: Pixabay

Monthly meet-ups

It may be fun to make this a recurring monthly event. Participant can chip in to buy some of the newest adult coloring books of everyone’s interest. Even with a dollar or two per participant the group could easily afford a fresh book to add to the collection every month.

A coloring night is a great way to get some stress relief and build a sense of community by sharing in the childlike joy of coloring together!

3 weeks ago
Biggest Loser Competition 3 weeks ago

You may have already effectively brought your residents up to speed on the gym equipment at your New Year’s Resolution Gym Training event. You may have also brought in a personal trainer to show them proper use and techniques. Now that many have made resolutions, this is the best time to help residents to reach their fitness goals with some friendly competition.

The benefits of weight loss communities

Weight loss challenges may be inspired by television shows with a flair for the dramatic, but there are other reasons to work out and aim high together.

Research shows that groups who meet, exercise, and track their progress together, make bigger gains and lose more weight than going it alone.

Image source: Pixabay

The American Psychological Association noted that people participating in weight loss groups, like Weight Watchers and others, lost an average of three to five times more weight than those who didn’t participate in community-based programs.

There is strength in numbers, and working out together can get you to your goals faster.

To encourage this type of community spirit, consider arranging a fun competition to build up group support and motivate your residents to meet or exceed their fitness goals this year.

Preparations

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide how long of a competition you want to have, and how often you want participants to check in. Make sure you allow residents enough time to reach meet their fitness goals.

You can choose any amount of time from one month to a whole year (for those with larger weight loss or fitness goals). However, the sweet spot seems to be somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks. This is enough time for participants to see progress, without resorting to drastic measures or losing interest.

Also, decide if you want it to be individual or team-based: either way makes for an entertaining competition.

Teams can make the challenge more motivating as team members push each other to reach their goals, and keep their teammates in check throughout the event.

Choose a challenge coordinator

Choose one staff member to be your designated wellness challenge coordinator.

This person will do everything from registering participants and their starting weights (and/or other measurements) as well as collecting data at the weigh-ins each week.

***TIP*** It’s important to choose a staff member that you know will be both honest and discreet – residents will be more likely to participate if they know they’re not going to be judged for their fitness level and weight.

Running the event

One of the key points of this event is to ensure that participants are weighing in on the same equipment. This means they can’t weight themselves at home on their own scales.

Image source: Pixabay

If your gym already has a scale, great! If not, you’ll have to arrange the use of a scale that will help keep it fair.

Make sure everyone knows that they need to weigh or measure in once a week in the office. This is so that you can verify their progress and keep the contest official.

***TIP*** If you decide to purchase a digital scale to make check-ins easier, remember to get one that weighs into larger digits. This way you can weigh all participants (going up to the 300+ pound range for larger residents with larger goals.)

Staying organized

Keeping tabs on everyone is as easy as creating a word document or spreadsheet to track participants progress from week to week. This will be your challenge coordinator’s job.

***TIP*** To make check ins easier, consider making a set time that residents need to check in each week, perhaps a Monday or Friday between set hours so you know when to expect them!

Incentives

Image source: Pixabay

There are a few different ways to offer incentives and also keep residents motivated.

Consider offering a small prize other week to help keep interest in the program high. This can be given to the resident who has made the most exceptional progress or given the most effort in that period.

You can also create a reward pool where all participants put in a set amount like $10-25. The promise of a large payout will keep residents motivated and committed to earning that jackpot.

 

4 weeks ago
New Years’ Resolution Gym Training 4 weeks ago

For many, the New Year brings excitement and enthusiasm for big life changes and healthier habits. Many start reflecting on the year that’s passed and make plans and promises for the months ahead. These resolutions can include educational, professional, or health related goals.

January is the best time to capitalize on this enthusiasm by hosting a New Years’ Resolution Gym Training for your residents.

Getting organized

Many communities have a gym on-site, but not all residents use it. Some may feel intimidated by the machines and weights. Even with posted equipment usage and safety diagrams, not all residents may understand how to properly use the equipment.

Use this beginning of the year enthusiasm for training residents. Organize an event to help residents understand how to get the most out of their workout from your community’s gym.

Most apartment communities will not have as many machines or the same expensive equipment of other commercial gyms. However, remind residents that it is possible to get a full workout on the existing fitness center equipment - and prepare to show them how to do it!

Teaching residents

Consider teaming up with a local gym trainer to offer a training class to residents. This can be done in exchange for advertising on your social media page, in your newsletter, or other perks. You can also find out if there are trainers living in your community that are available to teach a course or class in your facilities.

Additionally, you can hire a local trainer to take a look at your existing equipment and craft ideal workout plans at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. These workout plans can include a guide to getting a full body workout on the machines and targeted exercises for main muscle groups.

 

Image source: Pixabay

***TIP*** Special considerations may include the best ways to utilize the existing gym equipment to maximize weight loss or muscle gain. Schedule a training time when residents can come to learn about the equipment in more detail. Encourage signups in advance to ensure the event is booked.

Residents can learn about the machines and also get a chance to practice proper form with the trainer. This will help residents make their workouts more efficient while also helping to prevent injuries.

**BONUS** To make the event even more fun, you can start a fitness challenge with participants, organize weekly or monthly weigh-ins, and use prizes to encourage participants to meet their personal goals.

Building community and accountability

To further support your residents you can offer links or free trials of meal-tracking software and inspire them forward in the months ahead with regular drawings for resolution-supporting gifts:

  • Shakology rep-donated items
  • Blenders
  • Juicers
  • Gift certificates for fitness gear and clothing
  • BPA-free water bottles
  • Fitness and recipe books
  • Workout DVDs

Other ideas include accountability sessions, nutrition support groups, and more.

Mathew Katz of DNAinfo writes, “If you've got a little more building camaraderie, [Trainer Joey] Swidler suggests putting up a whiteboard filled out with standard workouts, letting neighbors keep track - as well as compete against one another.”

“It gives you something tangible,” Swidler said. “If you're on top of yourself, you're going to become more fit - you're going to look, perform and feel better.”

Help residents stick to their goals long-term Make sure you talk with your residents to see what kind of extra care and help they need to reach their fitness goals. Having a fitness center in your community is only beneficial to those who use it: encourage increased participation by getting involved with supporting your resident’s efforts.

Find out what they need, and then work to make it happen for them on a regular basis – it may open the door to other health-related events you can organize for your residents in the coming year.

1 month ago
1 month ago
“Green” Christmas Gift Wrapping Party 1 month ago

With more people mindful of the waste they’re putting out into the world, and interested in recycling, this holiday season is a great time to offer an eco-wrapping party for your resident community.

This event will cover everything from recycled papers to fabric bags, and handcrafted bows to name tags. It’s a great way to get rid of old catalogs and things hanging around the office while helping residents pretty up their gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

Residents can be encouraged to bring gifts for wrapping (especially if the recipient is not attending the event) as well as create elements to take home and use later.

Here are a few different gift-wrapping station ideas:

Up-cycled and recycled papers

Encourage residents to start saving their newspapers and Sunday comics now – if they get the local weekend paper. They can also save old magazines and catalogs to assemble bigger sheets of wrapping paper for larger gifts.

Old maps and calendars also make for great wrapping papers and envelopes as well!

***TIP*** Be sure to share images from the event and all these eco-wrapping tips with your residents throughout the month to encourage best practices (and keep your dumpster loads down!)

Hand-made up-cycled ribbons

 

Image source: Smile For No Reason

Ribbons, bows, and other decorations can be crafted from old catalogs and magazines with some strip cutting and simple assembly techniques. Once residents get the hang of it, these fancy decorative gift accessories are a cinch to make.

Check out these tutorials for making a variety of recycled ribbons and bows.

Shredded paper stuffing and packing materials

Image source: Wrappily

Pull the shredder out of the office and make it available for adults to shred their old catalogs and magazines. This makes colorful bag stuffing and packing material.

Simply put old pages through the shredder and then use the fallout for a free up-cycled decorative basket- and bag-filler for your resident’s gifting needs.

Fabric wrapping and fabric bags

Fabric wrapping is one of my eco-favorite wrapping materials and is perfect for interfamily giving. The fabric can be reused for wrapping year after year. It’s also great for odd shaped or otherwise hard-to-wrap items.

To demonstrate fabric wrapping:

  • Purchase an inexpensive bolt of fabric in holiday themed prints (or solid colors for year-round gifting). You can also pick up used sheets from your local thrift store.
  • Cut the fabric into pieces that are large enough to wrap your average gift items (roughly one yard square) or measure and cut fabric pieces to size for the gifts that resident’s bring in to wrap.

Image source: Home and Garden Digest

***TIP*** Unless you are planning to hem fabric edges, use special zig zag scissors (known as pinking shears) to help prevent edge fraying - otherwise the edges will tend to unravel with time.

Alternatively, if you have access to a sewing machine, bags can be crafted for placing gifts in year after year. Just have residents put their gifts inside and then tie with colorful ribbon, yarn, rope, or twine.

Other “green” wrapping materials

Local fabric and nylon shopping bags make a perfect reusable gift wrap. Enlist the help of local businesses for bag donations (and free advertising) or encourage residents to purchase such pre-made bags for wrapping gifts.

Gift tags

Image source: Pinterest

Children and adults alike can craft playful handmade gift tags out of recycled paper, newsprint, magazines, old maps, and brown grocery bags. Even old paint swatches make excellent tags! Make gift tag templates available and craft a few samples ahead of time to show the variety of options.

***TIP*** If you’ve not done so lately, this is also a great time to reintroduce your recycling containers and make sure that all residents are aware of the containers’ locations on site. This will help them properly dispose of their gift-giving wastage after the holidays!

1 month ago
Sensational Snowman Building Contest 1 month ago

By January – snow is in the air!

It’s also on the ground. This makes it the perfect time for communities with snow to gather residents and hold their very own snowman building contest.

For communities in the Northwest, Northeast and all cities in the central part of the country (to about the latitude of Omaha, Nebraska) it’s time to make use of that fluffy white stuff and get creative!

This event can easily turn into a day-long activity where families are coming and going most of the day with minimal supervision. However, make sure that everyone knows the cut-off time for judging. This way, they can come to the event to craft their snowy creation before the final buzzer. Two to three hours are usually needed to craft the more elaborate designs.

Planning and prep

Obviously, this event will only work if you have snow on the ground. Schedule it for a day when you know your area will be in the thick of it, then keep an eye on forecasts to ensure that the weather is cooperating as you come up on the actual day.

If you need to schedule the event early into the season, you may want to have an alternate activity planned as a back-up in case you end up being low in snow when the advertised day rolls around.

 

Image source: Pinterest

**BONUS** To make the outdoor gathering even more fun, consider crafting or commissioning some snowman-themed photo-booth props for clicking selfies outdoors with your residents.

Materials

Encourage residents to bring their own building materials as needed. You can also provide some essential building tools like:

  • Small buckets and shovels
  • Plastic cups
  • Old clothing
  • Traditional items for facial features (charcoal, carrots, etc. - for those aiming for the traditional snowman look)

However, with this event, creativity should be encouraged!

Share imaginative pictures with residents ahead of time to get them excited about the event. Announce the judging categories and let them know the various prizes you’ll be offering.

Prize ideas

In keeping with the winter theme, you may want to offer “cold” prizes to your residents. Consider awards like:

  • Tickets to a local ice skating spot
  • Tickets to the Nutcracker (or other winter-themed sporting event or festival)
  • Awards of winter- and snow- themed books or movies
  • Gift certificates for frozen yogurt or ice cream …would all make for “cool” rewards!

Alternatively, you may consider small snowman trophies or metals for the various winners in each category, or participation certificates. This will ensure as many people as possible get to take home a keepsake.

Voting and winners

When choosing winners, you can make it a staff and management decision that same day, or tally resident votes on social media in the days after the event. Holding a photo-sharing type “like contest” will encourage likes and shares from outside your community as well. Residents’ snow creation photos with the most likes and shares in each category can win the awards.

Image source: Imgur

Either way, get creative with your categories to encourage outrageous designs.

Some snowman category ideas include:

  • Best traditional snow-man
  • Best snow-woman
  • Best snow creature
  • Tallest (or biggest) snowman
  • Smallest snowman
  • Most creative use of accessories
  • Most colorful snowman (food coloring only!)
  • Best snow-superhero
  • Funniest snowman
  • …or any other categories you can think up!

Other considerations

To encourage residents to come in and warm up every once and awhile:

**TIP** Outdoor play in winter can get cold fast, and not all your residents may be adequately dressed for the weather and season. You may want to consider having extra hats and gloves on hand for residents – especially children – to borrow. Purchase inexpensive gloves in a variety of sizes and have residents check them out from a central location for as long as they’re needed.

Keep your residents warm and engaged and you’re all sure to have a blast at your upcoming snowman-building contest.

2 months ago
Snowflakes and Sparkles - December Craft Party 2 months ago

With everyone in the holiday spirit, it’s a great time to gather your residents together in one room and organize a community holiday craft party.

This month, residents will be making an assortment of winter and holiday-themed crafts for all ages – from children to older adults and everyone in between. We’ve highlighted a few snowflake crafts but there are other ideas and links at the end of the article.

Preparation

As always, with any craft event, it’s important to try the crafts yourself before sharing them with your residents.

While working on your own sample design, you may find ways to streamline the process or discover new techniques that you want to share. A trial run will also give you some finished samples you can set out for residents to copy so they know they’re on the right track.

You may also learn that you’ll need to substitute certain materials or processes in order to make the craft compatible with your unique resident population and community facilities. For example, if you don’t have a lot of plugs available you may not be able to set up as many work stations for things like hair dryers or glue guns.

Be sure to scope out your crafting area in advance and think about how you’ll organize the craft stations and the materials.

Materials

Most of these materials are available from your local art, craft, or hobby supply stores. Keep an eye on discounts and in-store sales to take advantage of coupons at both online and walk-in retailers to get a deal on supplies. There’s really no reason to pay full price with so many online discounts available. Retailers like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann, and other craft stores have readily available coupons online.

Remember also, you won’t be the only one rushing craft stores to buy your holiday items!

You may want to consider purchasing supplies in bulk online to save the time and stress involved with shopping in person with the holiday crowds. If possible, plan your craft party weeks in advance and purchase materials well ahead of the actual day.

The crafts

There are literally thousands of holiday and winter-themed crafts, but we’ve curated a few to get you started. You don’t have to do all of these during your craft party, but do check them out and then choose the ones you feel work best for your community.

Snowflake wreath with snowflake patterns

One of the quintessential winter projects is cutting snowflakes from both white and colored paper. To make it easier on your residents, you can make intricate patterns available for them to trace onto their folded papers. For this project make sure you have both adult and child-safe scissors available for residents.

Image source: Pinterest

This project can easily be transformed into a Frozen-themed design with Disney characters added to the wreath for additional child-charming fun.

The main materials are either paper snowflakes cut from various shades of blue and while paper (decorated with glitter as-needed) or pre-cut foam snowflakes already to go. Visit That Little Cute Cake for full instructions.

When cutting your own paper snowflakes, be sure to keep the designs small and simple – this will decrease the amount of time it takes to make all the snowflakes by hand.

For more elaborate snowflake designs, you can print templates for ease of cutting. You may also want to design cardstock stencils for tracing the designs onto folded paper. Be sure to keep a sample of each snowflake design available so that children and parents know what they’re getting.

Salt-Dough Snowflake Ornaments

Image source: Better Homes and Gardens

If you have access to an oven on-site, these snowflakes can be created and baked ahead of time and ready for residents to decorate. Alternatively, you can purchase wooden snowflakes from your local craft store and make paint, markers, glue, and glitter available for decorating.

Instructions:

  1. To make your own inedible and bankable salt dough, combine the following ingredients and mix until sticky:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  1. Using a rolling pin and plenty of flour, roll out the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick.
  2. To make the shapes, use store-bought cookie cutters, or paper templates, to cut the dough into snowflakes.
  3. Once the snowflakes are cut out, use a pencil or skewer to make a hole at the top for hanging.
  4. Snowflakes should be baked in an oven for four hours on low heat – roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cooled ornaments can be decorated with paint, glue, glitter, or permanent marker.
  6. The ornaments can be hung with loops of yarn, rope, ribbon or twine.

Other craft ideas include:

 

  • This is a perfect recycling project that uses old magazines or catalogs. The project can also be demonstrated to residents at the event and encouraged to complete at home later.

 

  • Two candy canes wrapped in felt with pipe cleaner antlers make an easy (and edible!) craft.

 

  • These large wall hangings are easy to assemble, paint, and decorate. Consider hot glue instead of white glue for faster construction.

***TIP*** Try the crafts before committing your community to the whole process. Time how long it takes to make each craft. Add up the full amount of time for completing all your projects so you can schedule enough time on the party day. Also, be sure you allow a few minutes for stragglers and clean up. ***TIP*** You may have residents that come in late, or don’t get to complete all the projects. Consider having “to-go kits” for residents and kids to take home. This way, they can complete the projects on their own time. Combine materials into zipper bags to they have everything they need to finish their crafts with their parents at home.

Happy crafting!

2 months ago
Holiday Bazaar and Toys for Tots Fundraiser 2 months ago

A well-planned bazaar and fundraiser during the holiday season will catch donors and attendees when they are already in a giving mood. At the same time, the holiday season is always busy so it’s best to plan the event well in advance so that there will be less chance of a conflict with your resident attendees Here are a few tips for planning a non-profit bazaar in your community that can hold space as a fun and successful event.

Guests

Decide if your event will be open only to residents, or if you will open it up to other community members as well. You may decide on a compromise and insist that each resident is allowed to bring one or two “guests” to the event from outside the community. This can allow residents to bring partners, friends, family members, or any other guests others who may enjoy the event and/or donate to the cause.

Image source: Pixabay

Getting the word out

Advertise well in advance of the day so that community members can get the event on their calendars and be sure to make time to stop by. Print postcards, hang flyers, and make sure you announce the event in your newsletter and on social media.

Set up a page on your website with all the most frequently asked questions and most important information. You can direct all inquiries to the page for answers to their questions.

Ensure that you co-ordinate your efforts with the charity you’re planning to support so that they can advertise the event in their network as well – especially if you’ve decided to open your event to the greater community.

Choosing a theme

While a theme is not required for your holiday bazaar, you may want to consider at least a color scheme to keep things looking cohesive.

If you want to get more elaborate you can check out some of these amazing event ideas and party themes that include everything from black and white, to movie-inspired.

Booking Vendors

This event functions as a craft and holiday bazaar, so one of the key components it to rent booth space to local artists and artisans.

Allow chamber connections and other resident businesses to rent table and booth space to display holiday gifts for sale. Reach out to local home-based businesses in your community, like AVON, Cookie Lee, Shakeology, personal trainers, etc.

Image source: Pixabay

Consider listing your event on www.craftlister.com for free. You can also search this site for local vendors and send personal invitations. To find additional potential vendors, search websites like www.etsy.com for local and handmade businesses by clicking on “buy” and then “search local.” Send invitations to local crafters who make cute handmade items and ask them to participate – don’t forget to include your website and e-mail address so crafters can get back to you with any questions.

**TIP** Keep the booth rental fee low to encourage participation. No more than $30 for a table, chair, and advertising. This will get more people interested in participating, yet still ensure that you have enough funds for other aspects of the event. Anything left over at the end of the event can be donated to charity as well.

Also, remember that the size of the booth spaces is a very big deal, so be sure that the boundaries of each booth are clearly marked out. If you are holding the event indoors this can be easily accomplished by measuring and marking the floor of each space with masking tape.

Ensuring donations

The best way to make sure you get as many donations as needed is to set a target well before the event. If you want 50-100 toys, then aim to reach out to ten times as many potential visitors. In lieu of cash, for entry into the event you can require an unwrapped toy above a certain dollar amount, and collect those toys for the charity of your choice.

Additionally, because of the low booth rental fee, you may want to require vendors pay a certain percentage of their total sales – five to ten percent is a good amount - to the chosen charity.

If you want to only collect money in donations for a local charity you can set a ticket price.

Entertainment

Depending on your community demographics and the type of people you expect at your fundraising bazaar, book appropriate activities and entertainment as needed. If you have a mixed crowd your best bet is to cater to the younger more active audience.

Connecting with guests

Before the event is over get commitment from attendees that they will continue to support the charity in the future. Since this event is a fundraiser their commitment could come in the form of an additional donation, but it doesn’t have end with that.

Encourage volunteer pledges or get attendees to do something as simple as signing up for a mailing list. By the end of the event, residents should be excited about the ongoing plans and eager to help in new ways.

 

 

2 months ago
December Rotating Art Exhibition 2 months ago

The holiday season is a great time to start a rotating art exhibition showcasing local artist and artists on a monthly, or bi-monthly, basis.

You can organize the exhibitions yourself, seek volunteers from your resident community to help manage the events, or seek out students from a local arts department. **TIP** Find out if your local community has an "Art Walk" day or something similar (usually the first or second Saturday of the month) and time your exhibitions and opening shows to correspond to that city-wide event. 

To host an art exhibition in your lobby area there are a few things you’ll want to consider. 

Finding artists

There are many different ways to find artists and structure the exhibitions.

Image source: Pixabay                      

One way is to put together group shows on particular themes. The advantage of group shows is that when more artists are involved, there is a much better chance that there will be some style of artwork that everyone likes.

Alternatively, you can also feature one artist at a time and really showcase their style and take an in-depth look at their art works. If you choose your artists wisely you will be able to feature work that you know your communities will like. Listen to feedback from residents to get a better feel for the styles that are more popular as well, this will give you a better idea of which types of artists to include in the future.

You can search for artists my attending other local art exhibitions, speaking with graduate students at the local colleges, and visiting crafting and artist guilds and organizations in your area. Put a call out for artists on your website and social media pages, and also advertise in online artist publications.

Gathering and hanging work

Once you’ve put together an artist exhibition schedule, be sure to request that the art be delivered to your community about a week in advance. This will give you time to inventory and hang the work in the exhibition space.

Image source: Pixabay

Depending on the amount of available wall space and accessibility, you can either install the art on easels, or hang art on the walls for a more professional look. If wall hanging, consult your local picture framing shop or art gallery for hanging guidelines and purchase of special weight-supporting hooks – especially if hanging in drywall. Clearly label each work of art with the title, artist name, medium (material that the art was created with), size, and price (if applicable). You can print of this information on small labels and affix them directly to the wall near each artwork.

Advertising the exhibition

There are a few ways that you can advertise your rotating exhibitions to get more attention and establish yourself as a local art venue.

Consider sending press releases to local newspaper and magazines and sharing about the exhibition on social media.

Creating postcards for the artist to mail out and share with their network. Vistaprint is a quick and easy resource for making high quality postcards on a small budget. You can keep some in the office to advertise the next exhibition and hand out to interested residents. All of these tips will ensure that residents and the local community is aware of each exhibition well in advance so they can plan to attend the opening reception each month.

Opening night

If you’ve only invited local artists to participate and attend, you can encourage them to speak with attendees during the artist reception.

Image course: Pixabay

If any of the artist have a particularly interesting style or technique you may also want to ask them to give live demos or present a short talk during the opening exhibition.

Managing sales

Decide in advance who will be responsible for sales. If anyone is interested in purchasing a work of art will you process it through your office and take a commission, or will you hand over the interested buyer’s contact details to the artist and have them handle the transaction?

Regardless of how you decide to approach sales, never disrupt the integrity of the exhibition by removing any of the works of art until the exhibition is finished. Buyers can pick up any purchases works at the end of the exhibition.

Booooo! This quiz sucks

2 months ago