Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

A Tale of Two Villages



One of the chapters in Eavesdropping is “Creating a Village.”  The “Village”, imaged by the Pages, was an inter-dependent support network which they encouraged all of us to create for ourselves.  Such a “village” would, hopefully, supply nurturing and help if needed.  But, ideally, it should be much more than that
The ideal “village” – as proposed by the Pages – would embrace variety:  different friends for different preferences and needs.  For some of us, the villages we build need to have members of different ages and genders.  I’d prefer mine to have people from different ethnic groups and cultures too – to spice up my life. 
Recently, I went to a charity tennis tournament at our local family-focused tennis club.  It was joyful, energetic and so much fun.  I returned home buoyed by the exuberance of the young tennis fans:  a couple of boys, kindergarten age, watching the action intently, who asserted they would be playing in this tournament one day; young girls giggling as they sold stick-on “tattoos” to spectators and the excellent young tennis players from our local high school.  Some of those kids watched as grandparents played tough competitive matches.  Some of us watched as women of varying ages competed well.  I watched, with delight, as people of all ages mingled together – learning about each other and from each other – and enjoying each other in the process!   I’m glad this tennis club is part of my village.

Now, I’d like to tell you about another village.  Last week, I heard an interview on Bob Edwards’ Morning Edition.  He interviewed Andrew Blechman who wrote Leisureville: Adventures in a World without Children.  Blechman wrote this book after visiting a planned community for elders in Florida – The Villages.  

I knew something about The Villages before I heard the interview, but I decided to do some background reading anyway.  Apparently, a major goal of the developers (and residents) is RECREATION, and it seems they have accomplished that.  In this “playground for elders” there are numerous golf courses, tennis courts and adult activities of all kinds.  As Blechman says in his title, children are not allowed – except for restricted visits. 

The Villages is reported to be the largest gated retirement community in the world, so I am assuming there should be plenty of support from one’s neighbors.  The population is increasing; so many people obviously are drawn by its promises. 
I enjoy playing tennis and golf and I like pleasant adult activities, but I wonder if the people there are actually fulfilled.  Here are some unpleasant reports from newspapers and other reliable sources:       
  • There are reported high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and alcohol and drug abuse in the Villages. One Village official boasted that “we have the highest consumption of draft beer in the state of Florida”.
  • 2009, the New York Post labeled it “ground zero for geriatrics who are seriously getting it on.”   According to the Post, “…the place that likes to bill itself as “America’s Friendliest Hometown” has seen a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
In my quest for information, I read the book reviews on Leisureville (Amazon).  One man, who identified himself as a PhD Sociologist and a Physician, was quite even-handed in his defense of the community (and he lives there, he said).  He cited the numerous entertainment opportunities.  He then added, however,
“There are research data which support some of his positions. Homogeneous communities do not support tolerance and understanding. They tend to increase 'groupthink' and insularity. When a group is ideologically homogeneous the positions adopted by its members tend to become more inflexible and more extreme. This leads to less tendency to compromise or debate and more reactionary thinking.”
“Do we need to worry about the social and political effects of ageism because of age segregated communities?”
I have worried and written about these important issues before.   I am concerned about our communities when the wise elders are out of sight.  I’m not suggesting that adult communities are to be avoided at all costs.  What I am proposing is that – when we live in situations that are homogenous (all of our neighbors are similar to us in age, etc.), I think is it important to engage in activities – such as volunteer work – where we interact with those who are not just like us.  I believe the generations need to get to know each other.  The children in my neighborhood need my support – even if they are not my own grandchildren.  And I need them too.  They have fresh ideas and ways of looking at the world.  And sometimes, when I look into their delighted faces, I feel some of that too!

And on the lighter side of aging...

I See You Made an Effort:

Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50
by Annabelle Gurwitch

Click here for the link to Amazon book and info on the author


Grandma Camp

Karen McCormack is the ultimate network professional and connector extraordinaire.  She has an amazing capacity to connect people and businesses through her leadership in BNI and as one of the founding member’s of NEW (Network of Entrepreneurial Women).  In her business life, Karen helps small businesses, individuals, families and seniors through the maze of health care options- designing the perfect plan to fit what an individual needs and can afford.

Karen’s other passion is Children.  A commitment evidenced when she traded the title of Accounting Manager to managing her day care business, A Kid Connection. For more than 15 years, Karen raised her family, along with dozens of other children.
Now as a proud Grandparent, Karen invests and enriches her trans-state relationship with her grandchildren who live over 1,000 miles away.  Here is her unique way to stay connect with her grandchildren.  From Karen’s Facebook post:

Announcing Camp Grandma, with limited openings for June and July. Activities to include swim lessons, water park, summer reading program, and visits to beaches, preserves, museums and restaurants. Backyard campout and plenty of one-on-one time. Minimum stay, 2 weeks / maximum stay 2 months. Cost: Priceless. Register now to reserve your spot
Spring Events
Thursday Workshops at
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Stuart, FL

April 16th       10:00-12:00                                     
Dealing with Conflict in Difficult Relationships
April 16th       2:00-4:00
Enhancing Joy- Adding Spice to Your Life

May 7th
           10:00-12:00 –or- 2:00-4:00                 
Building Your Village
Making connections that sustain and enrich
June 4th           10:00-12:00 –or- 2:00-4:00      
Changing Habits
Techniques to alter life patterns that are not working for you
July 2nd              10:00-12:00 –or- 2:00-4:00      
Knowing Yourself
A new way to be your own best friend

Link to Workshop info & brochure
Link to Registration form

Visit the website for details about future events:  
We’d love for you to attend. Events Page
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Copyright © 2015 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.

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