By Steve Moran

A single Chick-fil-A in Hammond, Louisiana, decided to hold a Chick-fil-A Summer Camp. They offered six, three-hour sessions. During the camp, kids would get a behind-the-scenes look at hospitality and service. They would be fed and go home with some goodies.

The way I found out about it was it turned into a national scandal, with Chick-fil-A being accused of abusing children and breaking child labor laws. Proving that haters can always find something to hate. Though I would note that apparently they sold out all six sessions in a matter of hours. Given the need to provide staff, food, and other goodies, it is hard to imagine that they even broke even on the event.

Senior Living Tie-In

Imagine a senior living community having a kids summer camp in a similar fashion. Maybe it is an all-day event or even a week-long event.

Start by making it available to team member families and then to the public.

Even charging for an event like this, I would imagine there would be a net cost to the community. But look at what it would do for the community and the industry:

  • It would get publicity — hopefully mostly good, but I suspect that on balance the Chick-fil-A hate was so over the top that the negative publicity engendered more goodwill than bad.
  • It would be fun for residents and team members.
  • It would improve the image of senior living in the community.
  • It would provide some families a day or week of very low-cost daycare.
  • It would help future generations understand how great working in senior living is.

It turns out that the Chick-fil-A event was so successful they ended up adding three more sessions. Imagine senior living offering something like this and it was so successful that even more people begged to participate.

I Dream

I dream of a day when senior living operators doing things like this in and for their communities is the norm. When all across North America, people fall in love with senior living. That when a senior living operator proposes a new community in their marketplace, rather than fighting it, people embrace it because they know that that senior living community will make the entire marketplace community better.

It will serve older people, provide jobs, create opportunities for young kids and teens.

This is not an impossible dream.