Saugeen Valley Nursing Center ‘elves’ hard at work in Santa’s Workshop

By: Mike Wilson, Mount Forest Confederate

With Halloween now in the rearview mirror, many folks in the community have turned their focus to Christmas preparations, and the residents of Saugeen Valley Nursing Center are no different.

The long-term care facility has started a new program this year called Santa’s Workshop, which director of recreation Sheryl McTavish said the residents have fully embraced.

“When I brought this idea to the resident’s council, they immediately said, ‘When can we start?’” she said. “They felt that they still had gifts that they could share with the children.”

McTavish explained that the program, which has been in the works for nearly a year, will see the residents build a series of four different homemade toys – a crayon box, tic tac toe board, a yo-yo and a toddler’s stacking toy - that will be given out to children who visit Saugeen Valley during the Christmas season.

“It’s a way for our residents to give the kids who come to visit a token of appreciation,” said McTavish. “Children visiting family members will be able to choose a toy from the Santa’s Workshop Toy Chest when they are here.”

The toy building also allows the residents to work on their fine and gross motor skills, as all of the toys will be assembled and decorated by the residents.

“Erin McComb, our maintenance manager, has been great to work with on this program,” said McTavish. “He has prepared all of the wood for the toys for the residents, and came up with the plans on how to construct the toys that make it easier for our residents to put them together. He also made sure that they toys were suitable for both boys and girls.”

About a dozen residents were busy working last week, with help from Saugeen Valley staff members Brianna LaForm and AJ Beasley, on staining and painting parts for the crayon boxes and tic tac toe games, all while joking and reminiscing about their childhood.

“It’s created some great discussion during the work sessions,” said McTavish. “Everyone has been reminiscing about the toys they had as a child and really getting into the spirit of the program.”

The program is expected to last eight weeks, with the residents building nearly 100 toys by the time Christmas rolls around.

“Intergenerational programs are such an important part of our residents’ lives,” said McTavish. “And our residents are loving the idea that they can bring a smile to the face of a child through their gifts.”

Story by Mike Wilson
Reprinted from Mount Forest Confederate, November 17, 2016