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United Way of Lancaster County


Lancaster to host intergenerational conference

(Source: Penn State University)

Lancaster will host a major regional summit next week bringing together a wide range of experts on creating connections across the generations.

The Mid-Atlantic Intergenerational Conference will take place over two and a half days from Wednesday, July 10, through Friday, July 12, at the Holiday Inn Lancaster.

It will feature keynote speeches, workshops networking and other events, centered on five themes:

  • Education & lifelong learning
  • Health & wellness
  • Community planning
  • Arts, culture & recreation
  • Support for kinship care households; i.e., children living with relatives such as grandparents, uncles or aunts.

For a full schedule and other information, visit the conference website.

Intergenerational advocates and planners say that contemporary American society goes too far in age-segregating its population, relegating children to school, adults to the workplace and seniors to retirement communities. They call for creating communities that welcome all generations and encourage them to mix and nurture each other.

Lancaster is an officially designated age-friendly city and is implementing an age-friendly action plan developed in partnership with Chris Kennedy, founder of the consultancy Age2Age and one of the people spreading the word about the summit.

Kennedy is organizing a related event that will take place just prior to the summit: a symposium on intergenerational planning & placemaking. It is from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 10. It can be attended as a standalone event or as a prelude to the longer event.

Intended for architects, planning officials and professionals and leaders of community organizations, it will feature Lancaster as a case study, looking at how it integrated age-friendly policies into Our Future Lancaster, the comprehensive plan it adopted last year. Included is a walking tour looking at a selection of Lancaster’s “intergenerational places.”

Chris Kennedy

“Connecting generations is not just how we do social programs, but how we build our city to encourage intergenerational connections,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s symposium is one of two preceding the summit: The other, on “Support for Kinship Care Families,” is from 12 noon to 3:45 p.m.

The summit proper kicks off with an opening banquet and keynote Wednesday evening. Through the ensuing two days, participants will hear from representatives of national intergenerational advocacy group Generations United, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Penn State University and other organizations devoted to healthy aging and intergenerational connections.

The conference is hosted by Penn State University with sponsors that include AARP, the Brookdale Foundation Group, Lancaster County Community Foundation, the Penn State Center for Healthy Aging and Volunteer Centre County.

Another sponsor is New Holland-based Garden Spot Communities. Garden Spot CEO Steve Lindsey will deliver a lunchtime keynote speech on Thursday on “the power of intergenerational connections.”

Things will wrap up Friday with an “Intergenerational Fun Mini-Festival” from 1 to 3 p.m., featuring interactive exhibits and performances.

Organizer Matt Kaplan, professor of intergenerational programs and aging at Penn State, said the symposium will have something for everyone.

“We need programs and places where people of different generations can interact, learn from and with one another,” he said in a statement, “and work together to improve community quality of life for all.”