2021 was a year of reconstruction and renewal for the SAGE program. The program hired a new Director of Elder Services, Jason Eaton-Lynch, and saw the return of in-person programming and the implementation of hybrid programming. To ensure the best user experience, The Center invested in a Meeting Owl Pro. This technology guaranteed an immersive experience for our hybrid programming that allows the 360-degree camera to capture all that is going on in the room and be part of the conversation.
SAGE programming also built on existing groups and explored what could be done to expand and meet the goals set by the strategic plan. To do this, the program hosted three focus groups comprised of current community members, potential community members, and people who were yet of age to participate in programing. The goal was to gather feedback on what worked, what needed to be improved, how to encourage participation, and how to encourage younger generations to be active in the programming. As a result, the SAGE team began focusing on outreach, community, social outings, health, and cultural competency.
In the fall of 2021, the program rolled out two new groups, a Community Group and a Game Group, and increased community engagement. This included the creation of SAGE Field Trips. These were free outings to places like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Art Museum. The program also took a bus trip to Estes Park. One attendee reported, “the views of the mountains were amazing... it had been years since I had been out of the city."
The Community Group also focused on volunteer work and gave participants an outlet for their skills to shine. In 2021 the group took an active role in assisting with Pride, SAGE Trips, and developing and facilitating entertainment and educational sessions for the whole community.
2021 also saw the return of the Annual SAGE Thanksgiving Meal. This event hosted over 60 elders for a free Thanksgiving meal. With the idea of community in mind, we created an event that focused on health, safety, comfort, and delicious food. We also provided live music and received a segment on Next with Kyle Clark. The event was a major highlight for many elders as it was the first time that they had been able to see many of their friends in over a year. SAGE also hosted a Holiday Party at the Center that welcomed 30 participants.
2021 was a great year for SAGE that welcomed many firsts and many returns.