February 14, 2020
You’re Part of the Community
When you decide to move to Kendal-Crosslands Communities, you’ll find there’s been a lot of thought put into the process of helping people feel a part of the community from day one. An important part of this is the Welcoming Committee.
Both Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands have their own welcoming committees, run by residents. Just like the communities themselves, each has a slightly different flavor, reflecting the residents on the committee.
Welcome to Kendal at Longwood
Libby Rupp is head of the Welcoming Committee at Kendal at Longwood. While she’s only been a resident here for a little over a year she knew Kendal well because her parents lived here for 32 years. Libby was also the Dean of Students at a boarding school, so she knows a lot about helping people transition into a living community.
“Almost every community has some sort of orientation and get to know you events. I learned from my years as Dean of Students that people need to move at their own pace, and a one-size fits all welcome doesn’t work,” said Libby, describing her experiences teaching. “So we have primary and secondary greeters that reach out to offer a “big sister/big brother” like approach to the new residents- here to help, answer questions, and to act as a resource. Before move-in day, new residents are contacted by their greeter to establish contact and answer any questions. We believe that having a familiar name, and maybe a voice and a face, makes entering a new community easier. Once the residents are here at Kendal, they receive a visit from their Greeter and the all-important “Red Folder” which contains a wide-range of information for reference. Of course, invitations to join the Greeters for a meal or two are included in each “Welcome.” All these endeavors have the same goal: the Welcoming Committee wants to make sure new residents feel welcome and included but at a pace that lets them get acclimated in their own time.”
Libby continued, “The people are the best thing about living at Kendal, so several times a year, the Welcoming Committee hosts a morning coffee. Each new resident or couple, who has joined us since the last coffee, is invited to sit at a table in the main Dining Room, and other members of the community circulate among the tables to meet and introduce themselves to the new residents. No one remembers everyone’s name, but these coffees are a tradition that helps residents to get to know the new residents a bit more and vice versa.” And like every resident committee at Kendal-Crosslands, many people pitch in to help, making the organizing of the events easy and community centered from the start.
There’s obviously a lot to experience and get used to when you join the Community, whether it’s learning how to access the health and wellness programs, dining services, or even where things are located on campus, inside and out. After new residents have had time to settle in, another Kendal group, the Orientation Committee, organizes a series of info-sessions highlighting these services and introducing residents to the wonderful people who staff them. The partnership between the Greeters from the Welcoming Committee and the Orientation Committee help new residents learn their way around and begin to feel a part of the community right from the start.
Welcome to Crosslands
Over at Crosslands, Diana Stevens and Judy Heald co-chair the Welcoming Committee. As soon as the Move-in Coordinator provides Diana and Judy contact information for an incoming resident, the Committee sends the resident “Frequently Asked Questions” which were developed by new Crosslands residents. The FAQ’s provide information on everything from downsizing and entertaining at Crosslands to packing tips and moving day.
Just like at Kendal at Longwood, the Welcoming Committee at Crosslands assigns a greeter for an incoming resident. The greeter gets in touch with the incoming resident before move-in day to answer questions and offer their assistance. On move day, the greeter stops by to meet the resident and to see how things are going, and see if they want to accompany them to dinner.
“Sometimes on that first day, things can be a little challenging. People are tired. It can be exhausting. We’re here to help smooth the rough edges that may happen whenever you are new somewhere,” Judy stated.
After the move, the greeter and new resident set a time to meet and go over the blue Welcoming Committee folder, which contains a lot of helpful reference information to help with challenges you have on any move, ranging from getting your voter registration and cars registered to how to get around campus.
Just like at Kendal at Longwood, Crosslands greeters are sensitive to the needs of each new resident and help beyond the first few days and months, as a close friend in the community. That includes keeping in touch, inviting them to events and committee meetings, and helping them feel at home.
Twice a year, the Crosslands Welcoming Committee hosts a New Residents Reception which connects new residents with one another and with current residents, which in turn helps them feel a part of the larger Crosslands community.
“We have a lot of people on the Welcoming Committee who are pretty new here as well, and I think that helps. People who have just been through the process are sympathetic and can offer great advice, while the residents who have been here longer offer their great experience as well. It’s a great mix.: said Judy. “I look at the Welcoming Committee as being part of the stewardship of Kendal-Crosslands- it’s what we do to pay it forward for those who helped us when we first moved here, and it helps people feel a part of the community from day one.”
It’s Part of our Core Values
As you can see, the Welcoming Committees on both campuses are dedicated to helping you feel included and a part of the community before you even arrive. Whether you want a lot of information, not much at all, or just someone to be your resource when you have a question, the Welcoming Committees provide that help for when you want it. It helps open the doors and make the whole process more inclusive- because community is one of our most important core values.
To find out more about our community, click below to download our digital brochure.