The sound arrived long before the sight of it: a wave of positive energy coursing through the Waterman Village community. This past week, dozens of golf carts—horns honking, bells ringing, decorations blowing in the breeze, drivers waving and cheering—made a special drive-through tour around The Oaks Retirement Community.
This special tour by Waterman Village staff and residents provided a spark of solidarity as the community maintains resolve amid the COVID-19 situation. The energetic waves of the smiling residents observing the parade from their driveways provided an inspiring look at how this community is coming together—from a safe distance—through this challenge.
“While we’re observing and maintaining every recommended caution and protocol related to this virus, we still owe it to our residents to ensure them that we are always thinking about them first,” Andrew Dujon, CEO of Waterman Village, said. “This idea came from our activities director, Sheri DiCarlo, as a safe way for us to maintain visibility and engagement with the members of our community who we serve. Sheri and the rest of the employees who participated—from all departments—really knocked it out of the park and made it special.”
As the caravan of golf carts made its way through the community, onlookers were delighted to see their fellow neighbors and enthusiastic members of the Waterman Village deliver drive-by positivity on wheels. Many of the parade participants adorned their golf carts (or themselves) with special “costumes,” including elaborate balloon arrangements, silly props and brightly colored signs sharing messages of support.
“We miss you!” read one of the signs on a golf cart driven by an employee, signaling the staff members’ connection with those whom they serve. “Golf: clean fun” was a playfully irreverent message from smiling residents donning dish gloves with a pair of golf bags saddled on their cart. “Need cookies” proclaimed a cheeky driveway sign crafted by a resident taking in the spectacle whose request was surely fulfilled in due time.
This festive wave of golf carts—tailed by a gleaming red Porsche 356 Speedster—demonstrated how Waterman Village in Mount Dora is riding the wave of the challenge presented by COVID-19. The event demonstrated the caring, neighborly spirit found throughout the community that has been a hallmark of the senior living provider and its array of offerings for more than 30 years.
As for the future, the community will continue to serve its residents no matter the scale of challenges it confronts. At the existing Waterman Village, plus the soon-to-be-built Lakeside at Waterman Village expansion project, they’ll be sure to stay positive and just ride the wave.