Historic Webster Village: A Hub for Healthy and Fulfilling Aging in a Rural Community

This is the title of the planning grant we received from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation in late December. We have a year to determine the role Webster Historic Village will serve in the Webster Community. We then must arrive at a five-year plan for not only establishing programs and services to serve our aging residents but also sustaining them financially.

Beginning in January we got busy working toward accomplishing the goals for this project. The first step was to create a timeline for all activities leading up to the final goal: Defining the future of the Webster Township Historical Society, our mission and our place in the community.

The First Quarter of the Project. Our core planning committee, which meets on a weekly basis, designed several surveys each with a specific group in mind: The WTHS membership, our local churches, township officials, the Webster residential community, etc. Other ways we are collecting data are from interviews with potential partner organizations, town hall meetings, and small focus groups. Data will be digitized as it comes in and will be analyzed with help from a social worker at the University of Michigan.

An article about our project appeared in the Sun Times. Click here to view the article.

We are reaching out to potential partner organizations in the area to form reciprocal relationships for supporting programs and services for the aging residents in our communities. Leaders of many of these organizations are very excited about this opportunity.

We began working with Dexter High School National Honor Society members who  handed out fliers in the neighborhoods surrounding Crossroads Community Center. This group of young people also will be helping us with data entry. Other youth-oriented organizations with which we are meeting: The Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, and Future Farmers of America. These groups will help establish intergenerational relationships in our programs and services.

Other areas of development include: Building an office for WTHS in Crossroads Community Center, installing WiFi at Historic Webster Village, procuring a standard mail permit for large mailings, establishing a mailbox at Crossroads Community Center.

If you receive a survey, please complete and return it. If you do not and would like to contribute some ideas for our project, please contact Erica Perry (eperry@umich.edu). The more people we hear from, the more successful our project will be.