Event Planning not just a “Day in the Park”
ACHCA plans outing in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Memory Walk
By Sally Anderson, Melissa Brigley, Sarah Koenig
On Saturday, September 20, Carson Park was not only filled with Blugold football fans, but was also filled with local nursing home residents, community members, and volunteers walking for a cause. About 15 residents from Dove Healthcare and Syverson Lutheran Home in Eau Claire gathered for a “Day in the Park”, organized in conjunction with the annual Alzheimer’s Memory Walk.
The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA), student organization for health care administration at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was in charge of planning the event for nursing home residents to enjoy a picnic lunch and play bingo.
Jennifer Blasko, ACHCA treasurer and chair of the event, took on many responsibilities to make the day successful. Blasko said she learned a great deal through planning "Day in the Park."
“The skills I took away from this event would be organization, planning, and just simply leading others,” she said.
Blasko began planning the event during the summer by working with members of the Alzheimer Association. When planning the event, Blasko said she wanted to get the participation of local nursing homes. Her main goal was for residents to spend a day outside and to enjoy themselves.
Preparing for the event included responsibilities such as attending meetings, contacting various health care facilities and recruiting volunteers. Blasko said organization was her biggest focus during the event.
“My biggest responsibility was making sure the event ran smoothly and that the residents were where they were supposed to be and having a good time,” Blasko said.
Mac Johnson, Vice President of ACHCA and bingo caller at “Day in the Park,” has found that dependability from coordinating past ACHCA events can make or break an event. The biggest challenge for Blasko, she said, was keeping volunteers committed to the event. To overcome this challenge, Blasko recommends recruiting volunteers early in the planning process.
Many residents said they were delighted by the company of the student volunteers. “Day in the Park” was a chance for them to socialize and enjoy a beautiful day.
“I would have to say that my favorite part of the event was seeing and hearing how happy the residents were to be there--that alone made it all worth it,” Blasko said.
From left to right: Sally Anderson is a senior public relations major from Rochester, Min; Melissa Brigley is a senior business administration major from Woodbury, Min; Sarah Koenig is a senior marketing major from Eau Claire, Wis. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.