NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In an effort to connect generations, Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation’s social media campaign “Bridging the Gap” surveyed seniors and youth at its community centers to give advice to one another.
“I thought it was amazing. And we can learn things from these kids today. My grandkids, if it weren’t for them, I couldn’t work my phone half the time,” explained 69-year-old Bridging the Gap participant Beverly Woodlee. “We can learn from the kids as well as they’ve learned from us.”
Beginning in November, frequent guests at Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation community centers across the city were asked to give a piece of advice to the opposite age group.
“I think what’s really nice about this campaign is — it’s bringing the generations together. It’s bringing the older people in with the younger generations and even the bridge in between,” stated 71-year-old Bridging the Gap participant Maureen Laubach. “The biggest joy I have is when I’m in there swimming and doing my laps. There might be a child that’s trying to swim or just… starting to swim. And when I get finished, I’ll always get out and say, ‘You did a good job.'”
During the campaign on social media, Laubach advised kids to stay active.
“I have learned that the more active you are, the easier it is to age. You just feel better about yourself. You meet people when you’re here at the pool working or just walking through. And I think I’ve seen too many people that retire and sit at home and don’t do anything. But you really have you have to stay active and keep your mind active,” Laubach said.
Woodlee said kids should be themselves encouraging them, “not to fall on anybody else’s footprint.”
The kids’ responses were sweet and also matter-of-fact.
Seven-year-old Lala Clark said seniors should stay active.
“So instead of like running yet, you can practice just walking and learning how to jog a little bit and yoga and stretch and just get your body moving,” she stated. “If you don’t stretch, you could pull a muscle or break a muscle and it will not feel good. It will kind of be hard to walk a little bit. So that’s why we have to stretch.”
Six-year old Ava Schwarz said they should do what they love.
“If you do what you love, then you’ll love what you do,” Schwarz explained.
Ten-year-old Brayden Boyd encouraged seniors to remember that, “younger people are different than older people” and that “they can’t do the things that they used to” but “don’t listen to what other people say just because you’re different…be yourself.”
Seven-year-old Kori Dennrad took the self-care approach encouraging seniors to take a day for themselves.
“[They] probably want to have something like a massage, or all that other stuff,” said Dennrad. “[I] just wanted them to have fun explore themselves. Just get a fancy nice break in and just have them smile all the time.”
Those seniors who participated said the advice exercise encouraged them.
“We’ve got so much that we need to start teaching our children with them through it. They’ve got to go through it. And we need to sit down and talk to the kids today,” emphasized Woodlee. “I learned from the kids, and we can learn a lot from them.”
Not only do they say there is much to learn, they feel there are relationships to be built.
“I don’t think there’s the separation that you all think there is. I really don’t. I think we’re all humans and we’re all put here for a reason,” said Laubach.
To see more advice from both youth and seniors, visit the Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Facebook Page.