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We Enjoy Active Living, Fun and Games in the Sun At The Fourth Annual St. Pete Games

February 16, 2018

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida enjoyed Westminster’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, February 16, 2018 – In the sunlight on a pleasant Friday afternoon at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, nearly 400 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from nine active senior living communities around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together for Westminster’s fourth annual St. Pete Games. This year’s event featured outdoor lawn games and a tai chi demonstration by the residents. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! Attendees competed as teams by community in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed tai chi, corn hole, ring toss, a foam javelin throw and more — plus live music and dancing. Eckerd College students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

Garry Hennis, Westminster Communities of Florida chief operating officer, celebrated the day’s intent. “Today is all about fun — and we know that Westminster knows how to have fun!” Hennis said. “Let’s go and enjoy the great outdoors!”

“We’re so glad to be celebrating with great weather, wonderful music and a great time together,” said Eckerd College chaplain Doug McMahon. “On behalf of our president and everyone here at Eckerd College, welcome!” The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida.

More than 400 residents were at this year's St. Pete Games from all around the state. "We came down from Tallahassee, and we're having a really good time here," said Sue Gambill, a resident at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee. "My best event was cornhole. I did really bad in some events. But I still had fun!"

"I'm out here to have fun! I stay active and have a good time in this beautiful weather," said Buz Smith of Bradenton. "My community, Westminster Point Pleasant, is going to win!"

Congratulations to this year's winners: First place went to to Westminster Towers of Orlando! Second place was Westminster Point Pleasant of Bradenton, and third place to Westminster Shores of St. Petersburg.

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Thanks Employees for Legendary Service During Hurricane Irma

September 19, 2017

When Hurricane Irma approached Florida, the seniors we serve around the state were at risk. As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, we’re thankful to have the support of so many who helped provide for our residents throughout the storm and power outages—especially our employees. Our staff spent countless hours in their communities to ensure the safety of our residents and we are grateful for their dedication and service. Click and enlarge the image below to read the letter from CEO Roger Stevens, COO Garry Hennis and CFO Hank Keith to all employees.

September 18, 2017

Dear Westminster employees,

A little more than a week ago, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The devastation in the Caribbean, the Florida Keys, and throughout Southwest Florida that we have seen on the news and via social media is simply heartbreaking.

Every one of our communities, and every member of our extended family of residents and employees, was affected in some way. In preparing for the storm, continuing to serve through it, and cleaning up in the aftermath, your service to our Ministry and Mission of serving residents was truly extraordinary. Some of you sheltered in place; others evacuated to their sister communities, or to points beyond. In every case, your hard work allowed our communities to continue without a hitch, from nursing support, to dining services, to lifestyle and wellness, to maintenance and housekeeping.

Last week, a member of our Management Support Services staff, who volunteered to help serve residents in one of our communities, described with tears in her eyes how our community staff selflessly worked long hard hours supporting, serving and encouraging residents through the storm. Through your tireless efforts, we were able to ensure the safety of all of the residents.

We are fortunate to have the best employees and teams around. You are why our residents chose to live at a Westminster community!

We thank you all for going above and beyond the last several days helping us achieve our Christian Mission of serving older adults. We appreciate you all so much!

Sincerely,

Roger Stevens, Chief Executive Officer

Garry Hennis, Chief Operating Officer

Hank Keith, Chief Financial Officer

 

Westminster Gets "Chopped": Culinary competition brings the heat

June 27, 2017

For our chefs, culinary skills aren't just about keeping a sharp knife. July may be National Culinary Month, but the Westminster Communities of Florida dining teams are taking a bite at excellence already! Last week, we had an all-day training highlighted by a special "Chopped" culinary competition, held in the Acosta Foodservice kitchen in Orlando.

Each team of five chefs had one hour to make an appetizer, entree and two sides, using the same food basket of ingredients: Chicken breasts, sausage, cabbage, bananas, granola and more – and they set out to create the best appetizer, entree and sides.

In the end, the dishes had to withstand the heat of the judges. They scored each team based on their creative use of the ingredients, taste and presentation. Each team had to present their plate and explain the ingredients, cooking technique and inspiration. Beyond the food basket, they had use of a fully stocked pantry to assist them in creating the dishes.

The competition to win was fierce. Resident Experience Mario DeLuca said, "I wasn't surprised that the competition was so intense. We've developed a strong culinary team that has exceptional cookery skills and a true passion for food and the culinary arts. It's very rewarding."

Although the competition was intense, two stunning dishes were presented by the winning team to the judges: A flank steak bruschetta appetizer served on sweet banana tostones, and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and polenta, and an entree of granola-crusted chicken breast with a chorizo and root vegetable hash, slaw of napa cabbage and plum, and a balsamic molasses drizzle.

Congratulations to the winning team, composed of Westminster Winter Park Executive Chef Elijah Durham, Westminster Woods on Julington Creek Dining Services Director David Graham, Westminster Suncoast Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger, and Westminster Point Pleasant Assistant Dining Services Director Melissa Paul.

Chef Durham said, "I had a great time! As a chef who was new to the organization, I was honored to be able to work with Chef Kenny, Melissa and David. Our team had great comradery and organization. We listened to each other's ideas and executed them well. I was very happy with our team and our placement in the competition, and very much look forward to the next competition!"

"Chopped" and trainings like it are all part of our commitment to enhancing the resident dining experience and providing training opportunities for all of our team members. After all, dining is one of the dimensions of our exclusive My W Life program.

 

SENIORS ENJOY ACTIVE LIVING, FUN AND GAMES IN THE SUN WITH WESTMINSTER COMMUNITIES OF FLORIDA

March 6, 2017

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida
enjoyed the organization’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, March 6, 2017 – In the bright sun on a pleasant day last Friday afternoon, more than 300 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together at Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion for Westminster’s third annual St. Pete Games. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! The attendees competed as teams in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed shotput, horseshoes, putting, lawn darts, croquet and more, plus live music and dancing. Eckerd students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

“What a beautiful day! I’m glad to be here and having so much fun,” said Terry Arnn, a resident at Westminster Winter Park, who traveled down to St. Petersburg for the day. “It’s been great seeing the smiles and the positive attitude. Plus, I was 5-for-5 in lawn darts!”

The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida. “Welcome back!” said Eckerd chaplain Douglas McMahon. “Our partnership with Westminster has grown so much through the years. We’re fortunate to have here two institutions with a passion for lifelong learning.”

Marcia Mensing, a resident at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, said that she had been at all three games. “I love seeing everyone outside and active,” Mensing said. “Wow, it’s nice seeing everyone in such a different context.”

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

More than 300 residents took part in the Games, including shotput, horseshoes and more.

It's '90s again -- employees and residents dance the Macarena!

Several residents competed in croquet, another of the 10 games available for competition.

In the end, the winners were Westminster Suncoast, Westminster Shores and Westminster Manor. Congratulations to all the teams!

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Partners with Florida State for Heart Health

February 8, 2017

Westminster Communities of Florida is celebrating Heart Health Month this year by offering "Taking Care of Your Heart Health" seminars throughout the state, in partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine.

In February, classes will be offered in Bradenton, Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee. In these classes, teams of medical students in their third and fourth years give presentations to seniors with useful knowledge on their wellbeing. More than 70 medical students have participated, giving presentations to hundreds of Westminster residents. The current topic is the third series of health-related presentations, starting with "Brain Health" in spring of 2016 and followed by "Fall Prevention" last summer.

Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives for Westminster, facilitates the project, part of a research grant with FSU. "We are proud to partner with the FSU College of Medicine and we are glad for the opportunity to provide these classes to seniors who would not have such opportunities," says Knoble.

This program is part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (GWEP), focusing on educating seniors on better health and better communication with their physicians. The student facilitators are mentored by local physicians and adjunct faculty in preparation for post-graduate work experience. The FSU College of Medicine prepares the content for these programs and provides presentation scripts to the medical students. The students are equipped with an action plan to lead their teaching, as well as handouts of resources that would be relevant for seniors. Afterward, the seniors are encouraged to ask questions and develop personal action plans to increase healthy behaviors.

Heart health classes began in January and will continue throughout the spring. Previously, the classes offered included "Brain Health" and "Fall Prevention."

"The classes are limited to 20 older adults," says Knoble. "This class size fosters better interpersonal reaction between the participants and the medical students giving the presentations."

The program has encouraged more than 200 seniors to learn more about their personal health and wellbeing.

To learn more about the program and upcoming presentation dates, contact Jennifer Gilmour at (941) 746-9425.

 

Westminster Recognizes the Legendary Service of Employees During Hurricane Matthew

January 17, 2017

We recognize our employees throughout the state for their legendary service when Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast of Florida. After Westminster Woods on Julington Creek and Riverside Presbyterian House, both in Jacksonville, were ordered to evacuate, our dedicated team members throughout the state pitched in to continue to provide the highest level of service to our residents.

In appreciation, our executive leadership team presented proclamations of thanks to the communities of:

  • Westminster Woods on Julington Creek (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian Apartments (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian House (Jacksonville)
  • Westminster Manor (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Point Pleasant (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Asbury (Cocoa)
  • Westminster Canterbury (Daytona Beach)
  • College Arms Towers (DeLand)
  • Hugh Ash Manor (DeLand)
  • Westminster Towers (Orlando)
  • Westminster Winter Park (Orlando)
  • Westminster Oaks (Tallahassee) 

The staff of these communities worked long hours through the storm to provide shelter, food, care and entertainment for more than 100 residents and employees from the two communities evacuated. We extend a heartfelt thanks to the employees and residents of Westminster Communities of Florida for their dedication to our Mission and touching lives through service to the residents and staff of our organization.

Westminster Woods on Julington Creek

Riverside Presbyterian Apartments

Riverside Presbyterian House

Westminster Winter Park

Westminster Towers

Westminster Manor of Bradenton

 

Ballard Elementary students meet their Westminster Manor pen pals

May 30, 2016

BRADENTON - An activity that started as a fourth-grade learning exercise in letter-writing turned into a personal relationship Friday, when a group of students from Ballard Elementary School in Bradenton and their pen pals at Westminster Manor met for the first time over lunch.

The pen-pal partnership began in January, with Jessica Sthreshley's class sending letters as a way of learning how to write creatively. "It's a real-life skill learning how to write a letter to somebody," Sthreshley said. Her students learned to write and edit their letters, including writing multiple drafts and having their peers edit their letters.

Over lunch at Westminster Manor, at the end of the school year, the students got to interact with their pals.

One student, Nahzir Stamper, 9, greatly impressed Westminster Manor resident Ellie Collandra with his improved writing skills. "His letters were so neat," Collandra said. "It was so amazing to watch how much he has grown with his writing."

Marina Anderson, Westminster Manor director of volunteers, said that the community and Ballard Elementary are already working to keep the program running in the next year.

Watch the video from the Bradenton Herald to get the firsthand knowledge, or read more on their Web site.

 

We are thankful for our Employees and Volunteers of the Year

March 18, 2016

ORLANDO — Westminster Communities of Florida threw its 18th Annual Awards Banquet to celebrate its wonderful Employees of the Year and Volunteers of the Year, on Thursday, March 17.

There are so many accomplishments to celebrate: more than 140 employees were “caught in the act” of providing Legendary Service in 2015. We also had the help of more than 2,300 volunteers.

At the banquet we acknowledged the best of 2015 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Our theme was “You’re in the Movies!” complete with a red carpet and the flashbulbs of the Westminster paparazzi.

Read their stories about their wonderful contributions!

We want to thank all of Westminster Communities of Florida’s wonderful employees and volunteers for making this such a great organization; and to the Board of Directors and the Banquet Committee for making this event possible.

 

Better baking with Pillsbury's Gold Medal

March 16, 2016

Westminster Oaks Chef Oral Webb and Westminster Towers baker Rhonda Steele learn to make Black Forest cookies (below).

By Mario DeLuca, Westminster Communities of Florida Director of Dining Services

Cookies, muffins and cakes never tasted so good — introducing the new Gold Medal box-scratch program by Pillsbury, Westminster Communities of Florida's new baking partner!

You may remember the Pillsbury Doughboy, aka “Poppin’ Fresh,” that we all grew up on and enjoyed baking their products. As part of our dining program, we will now be offering fresh-baked goods made with this iconic brand to our residents.

To help us grow, Gold Medal sent their corporate baking partners, including Orlando baker Trina Gregory, to train the entire Westminster dining team in hands-on baking training in March! We made sweet potato coffee cake, Black Forest cookies, mint chocolate chip cupcakes and more, all using Gold Medal mixes and added baking ingredients.

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Wins 2 Awards in 2015 National Mature Media Awards Program

August 27, 2015

ORLANDO, August 27, 2015 — Westminster Communities of Florida was a winner in the 24th annual National Mature Media Awards Program. The program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearing-house for the senior market, recognizes the nation’s finest marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults.

The Westminster Shores “Announcing Bay Breeze” marketing campaign received a Silver Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. The series of direct mail pieces and advertisements in St. Petersburg helped the successful launch of Westminster Shores’s new Bay Breeze waterfront independent-living building. We congratulate Westminster Shores Executive Director Michael Shaw and the Westminster Shores marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.
“Why Hang a Picture,” at Westminster Towers, received a Bronze Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. This direct mail and advertising campaign provided a look outside the spectacular picture-view windows of this community in downtown Orlando. We congratulate Westminster Towers Executive Director Lin Ferrol and the Westminster Towers marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.

Those involved with the art direction and design of the campaigns were Vice President of Sales and Marketing Nicole Muller, Director of Communications Wes Meltzer, and Graphic Designer Chris Ware.
“We were honored to be selected as a winner, among so many great entries,” Muller said. “Westminster Communities of Florida was delighted to take part in the Mature Media Awards Program this year.”

The entries were judged by a distinguished panel of mature market experts from across the United States for overall excellence of design, content, creativity and relevance to the senior market.

About Westminster Shores: Westminster Shores is an active senior living community overlooking the Tampa Bay’s Little Bayou. Our beautiful campus nestled along the waterfront combines neighborhoods of single-family homes and detached villas with newly constructed waterfront apartment homes. We have served senior adults in St. Petersburg for more than 60 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Towers: Enjoy “Downtown Living At Its Best” at Westminster Towers, ideally located in downtown Orlando on the shore of beautiful Lake Lucerne. Our gardened, pocket campus offers beautiful residential choices in a high-rise building with spectacular skyline views. We have served senior adults in Orlando for more than 40 years, emphasizing exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, and backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida serves more than 6,000 residents in 19 active living communities around Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness. Since 1954, we’ve been Florida’s best choice in active senior living.

 

Touching Lives Through Service: 2013 Report

September 26, 2014

Westminster Communities of Florida’s Mission is a mission of service to seniors throughout Florida, and that thread runs through everything we do.

As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, serving the broader communities we serve is just one of the ways we can make an impact on the lives of those we serve. We provide benefits to the community in the form of housing, volunteer service, local partnerships, meeting space, hands-on training, clinical services, home care services, employment and service to low-income seniors.

Between our nine Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Orlando and Winter Park, we serve nearly 6,000 residents and more than 2,000 employees. Our residents and staff volunteers provided more than 200,000 hours of community service in 2013.

Our communities periodically prepare a Community Benefit Report, to celebrate these benefits. You can find these reports below for 2013, in PDF format.

Bradenton: Westminster Manor and Westminster Point Pleasant
Central Florida: Westminster Towers and Winter Park Towers
Jacksonville: Westminster Woods on Julington Creek
St. Petersburg: Westminster Palms, Westminster Shores and Westminster Suncoast
Tallahassee: Westminster Oaks

 

Westminster Manor celebrates Lives Well Lived

June 27, 2013

RADENTON — Leading Age’s Homecoming Week is a time to throw open our doors to the Bradenton community and invite them in. At Westminster Manor, Homecoming Week is also an occasion to celebrate the five decades that our community has been part of Bradenton, since 1961, and a joyous celebration of Lives Well Lived — including four residents past the age of 100!

Throughout the week we held a Ceremony of Remembrance for veterans, a ’50s-style sock hop, a retro fashion show, a video presentation on our centenarian residents, and a Games Day with our residents competing with local fourth-graders.
On Memorial Day we held a solemn Ceremony of Remembrance for those who served our country and those who have lost their lives in service. After an invocation by Westminster Manor Chaplain Holly Wildhack, the colors were presented by local Boy Scout Troop 111. Their troop is sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton, whose members first conceived of Westminster Manor in the 1950s. The ceremony was solemnized by Dave Miner, a member of the Manatee County School Board, and memorial wreaths honoring all deceased veterans in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War were presented by two residents, Ruth Woolever and George Staudt. To close, another resident, the Rev. Harry Bush, pronounced a benediction, and then there was a playing of Taps throughout the community.

To follow up with a lighter theme, on Tuesday we revisited the decade of Westminster Manor’s beginnings, celebrating with a ’50s-style dance. On the dance floor we saw rolled-up sleeves and bobby sox, dancing to the Jitterbug and dances from the ’50s to present! And for refreshments, why, we served root beer floats, of course!

Wednesday was the time to celebrate fashion of the past, with eight young women from the Manatee High School Anchor Club modeling fashions from the 1920s to the 1970s. The clothes were loaned to us by Retro Rosie’s Antiques of Bradenton. Jo Ann Miller provided musical accompaniment, with narration of the fashions and important events of their decades by Holly Sroka, resident lifestyle facilitator.

“Lives Well Lived” carried the day on Thursday. We recognized our four residents who were 100 years or older — George Bennett, 102; Joseph Buechler, 101; Helen Crum, 102; and Laurene Powell, 100 — with video interviews recollecting their youth, careers and families and their recommendations for living well. The interviews were conducted by Westminster Manor Director of Social Services Carol Parham. We presented the residents with shadow boxes showing key times and people in their lives, and we displayed them around the community as evidence of a life well-lived.

The Rev. William Hull of the Westminster Communities of Florida Board of Directors gave the invocation, along with comments on behalf of the board.

We also presented a timeline of Westminster Manor from the 1950s to present, in commemoration of our 50-plus years of service in Bradenton. Not only did the timeline reflect events significant in the history of the world and Westminster Manor, but each person now living on the campus was celebrated with their name and date they joined the Manor Family in a balloon above the timeline. This summer, Jane Clark, the resident who has lived here the longest, will celebrate 30 years at Westminster Manor.
Bradenton Antiques displayed antiques and a conducted a miniature “Antiques Road Show,” offering appraisals of items smaller than a breadbox following the program.

To close the week and cap a time of Lives Well Lived, we celebrated a Game Day on Friday with our residents and fourth-grade students at the Ballard School. We played ladder ball, mini golf, basketball, corn hole, washer toss and shuffleboard. After that, the students “sang for their lunch,” and we threw a picnic of hot dogs, hamburgers and picnic fixings! The first-, second- and third-place winners of the competition received ribbons, and all the students received Westminster Manor water bottles. The local Pirates and Marauders baseball teams provided a number of special prizes, which we raffled off, and residents whose won kindly “re-gifted” the prizes, making for some very happy Fourth Graders!

With the wisdom of the residents who shaped Homecoming and Lives Well Lived, the week began in solemnity and remembrance of sacrifice and loss, journeyed though the decades of our history, celebrated the lives of campus centenarians, and concluded with a continuation into the future as our residents touched the lives of students in the community.

Contact: Wes Meltzer, Director of Communications
Westminster Communities of Florida
wmeltzer@wservices.org or 407-839-5050 x283

About Westminster Manor and Westminster Communities of Florida:
Westminster Manor and Westminster Communities of Florida are proud of our heritage of providing excellent active living and health care communities since 1961. Westminster Communities of Florida is a faith-based not-for-profit organization with a Mission of serving older adults and persons with special needs, and nation’s eighth-largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing. Westminster Manor is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and as the first Westminster community, the Manor is Bradenton’s first choice in active lifestyles since 1961, offering affordable, quality lifestyles in newly renovated apartments, homes and modular homes.

 

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