Staff Honor Residents in Campus-Wide Parade

By | Blog, Events

Wake Robin is a grass roots organization. The community is “resident powered” which means residents participate in what Wake Robin does and how it operates. For instance, Maple sugaring was started by a few passionate individuals, and now it is a major part of Wake Robin’s culture.

That same grass roots attitude can be applied to staff as well. From all departments, staff are encouraged to share ideas and practices that reflect Wake Robin’s mission to create a “sustainable dynamic community.”

It’s no wonder then that a brainstorm from an Environmental Services employee blossomed into a full-on parade. A Housekeeper named Carrie hatched a plan to connect with residents. Some services normally provided on a routine basis, like housekeeping, are currently suspended due to Covid-19 precautions. “So, we wanted to find a way to stay to show our support,” Carrie said. “At first it started with wanting to make a banner telling the residents ‘We Miss You.’ Then the idea grew and grew, and it turned into a parade!”

As soon as Carrie shared the idea, many jumped on board to help. Weekly meetings were held to plan logistics, and a date was set. Costumes and props were encouraged, and staff came out in all sorts of colors! A Marketing Associate was amazed how the swift coordination streamlined into a delightful event. She described the procession as “fun, joyful, and community-oriented.”

Staff wanted to reach as many residents as possible, so the parade was mapped out to include the whole campus. Employees from Dining, Environmental Services, Health Services, and Administration gathered at the bottom of Wake Robin Drive to decorate their cars with messages of support and to get into costumes.

There was quite a variety! A staff member from Environmental Services wore colonial garb, a staff member from Administration wore butterfly wings, and a group from Dining Services dressed up as bananas and strawberries! To elevate the parade procession, an amplifier was attached to a car and played upbeat tunes and crowd-pleasers like “Hear Comes the Sun” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

The audience of residents came prepared, too. Many lined the sidewalks banging pots and pans and waved their hats high in salute.

One resident summed it up perfectly: “An absolute spectacular show of appreciation. The staff was having so much fun creating this and pulling it off for us. We are so lucky to have a staff that is happy and willing to pitch in wherever and whenever, beyond their call of duty. It’s always with a smile, a kind word, and with dignity!”

Welcome Martha Maksym as Wake Robin’s new President and CEO!

By | Events, News

The Board of Directors at Wake Robin, Vermont’s first lifecare community, have announced that Martha Maksym will succeed as President and CEO following Patrick McKee’s
retirement from Wake Robin next month. The Board of Directors, Wake Robin residents and staff thank Mr. McKee for his five years of dedicated service to the community, and are pleased to begin the next chapter with Maksym as leader. Martha began her tenure as Wake Robin’s President and CEO in January 2020.

“Martha Maksym comes to us with a strong background in the skills and outlook that are a close fit with Wake Robin’s traditions and culture,” said Eric Hanson, chair of the Board of Directors at Wake Robin. “Over the course of her impressive career, Martha has demonstrated her commitment to community on all levels. Her background of proven service makes us very excited to welcome her to Wake Robin.”

Wake Robin’s President and CEO, Martha Maksym

Prior to accepting the position as Wake Robin President and CEO, Maksym was the Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services. Martha spent 22 years at United Way of Northwest Vermont, the last five as Executive Director. She was also formerly Executive Director of the Green Mountain Prevention Projects.

Maksym has deep roots in Vermont, spending her entire career with Vermont organizations after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Vermont.

Following an intensive, nationwide search for a CEO, Wake Robin’s Board of Directors and leadership staff are confident that Maksym’s combination of past experience and dedication to community values make her a perfect match for the top leadership role, and are pleased to welcome her to Wake Robin.

Residents Share Stories in Moth-Style Slam Event

By | Blog, Events

It has to be true. It has to be told from your perspective. And, oh yes, you have to tell it live with no notes.

Those are the three main rules for Moth-style storytelling. Sounds intimidating, right? Nevertheless a group of Wake Robin residents learned the art in the Moth-style Storytelling Workshop as part of Inquire, Wake Robin’s lifelong learning this semester.

The workshop would culminate in a spotlighted live performance in Wake Robin’s brand new Meeting Room.

Discovering the Meaning of a Good Story

Sue Schmidt breaking down the composition of a story.

The workshops began in October and were led by comedic storyteller Sue Schmidt.

Sue is a master Moth storyteller and a big believer in the power of storytelling. As she writes on her website, stories “connect us to each other and define who we are, where we have been, and where we hope to go.”

Wake Robin residents gathered with Sue on Thursday afternoons and unpacked what makes a good story. For one: raise the stakes. What do you stand to gain or lose in your story? Perhaps of more importance: start with an opening line that takes hold of the audience’s imagination. Other key elements Sue stressed to her Wake Robin students included knowing your intention for the story and connecting with the audience through vulnerability.

Testing Boundaries

The storytellers performed in front of a packed crowd in Wake Robin’s brand new Meeting Room!

Many residents doubted whether they could perform live, worrying about remembering and properly delivering their tales. Some were much more comfortable writing down their stories and were challenged by translating them into spoken word. On top of that, there was a time limit, only 5 minutes per story.

During practice, residents kept honing their tales, and Sue, as a seasoned storyteller, had some well-informed advice – embrace your fear.

Performance Night

A Wake Robin artist delivering her slam story

Residents mustered the courage to share their tales live on stage. Alone in the spotlight, each one shared tales that moved the audience. Stories ranged from helping a cow in distress to a serendipitous cab ride!

After the cheers and applause, the Wake Robin storytellers stood on the stage with their teacher for a memorable photo.

Reflecting on the entire process, one workshop member commented, “It was a really great experience because afterwards everyone knew more deeply about the others. And that helps strengthen our community.”

Such is the power of storytelling here at Wake Robin.

To learn more about Moth storytelling, you can visit their website. 

The Moth-style storytellers and teacher Sue Schmidt.


Wake Robin Hosts Autumn Informational Gatherings

By | Events, News

There might not be a better time to visit campus when the foliage is peaking in red and orange colors.

It was appropriate then that Wake Robin held two informational gatherings for prospective residents this October.

Residents sharing their experiences at Wake Robin

Folks interested in Vermont’s first and only Life Plan Community arrived at the Community Center for a breakfast spread, good conversation, and to hear from current residents. Director of Marketing, MaryBeth Dudley, kicked the event off by sharing the history of our Continuing Care Retirement Community. Then, taking center stage by the fireside, a panel of residents discussed what they love about Wake Robin and why they chose this active community. Depositors asked great questions about lifestyle, care, and transitioning into the community.

Potential residents enjoying the lake view from Maple!

After breakfast, the visiting groups toured the Maple apartments (where they had a stunning view of Lake Champlain)…and were even given a tour of the renovated ground floor of the Community Center!

Expect more events like this to be hosted by the marketing department next year. To schedule your own personal tour, send us a message, or please call 802-264-5100.


 Touring a Maple apartment

 Touring the nearly-finished Meeting Room!

Wake Robin Residents Win ChampBot Competition

By | Events, News

It took months of tinkering and testing, testing, testing. But the “Geezer Bot” team was focused on bringing home a victory for Wake Robin.

At the Champlain Mini Maker Faire held at Shelburne Farms, residents Ed Cobb, Steve Silverman, and Jim Wick competed in The ChampBot Challenge, an opportunity in which teams build a remote controlled aquatic robot to swim the waters of Lake Champlain and navigate obstacles.

Some of the challenges included: feeding their baby Champetta (female), setting fire to their enemy robots, and hiding from danger by submerging!

Not only did the Wake Robin squad finish in first place, earning a $1500 prize, but they also won the popular vote cast by the Faire’s audience. It may have helped that there were many enthusiastic Wake Robin residents in the crowd.

Jim Wick at the helm

Champetta and the team were the talk of the town.

The Shelburne News ran a story about their ChampBot victory and the team appeared live on MyChamplainValley news.

Check them both out in their respective hyperlinks!

Champetta breathing fire!

Summer Fun Chronicles Part II

By | Blog, Events

Circus Smirkus Wows Linden Health Center Residents

The contortionist performers

Non-Profit Circus Arts Group Draws Oohs and Aahs

Wake Robin celebrated Carnival Day this month. The main event excited the entire Wake Robin Community, and a group of impressive young performers dazzled the resident audience. The group’s name? Circus Smirkus… and folks cannot stop talking about them!

What is Circus Smirkus?

Circus Smirkus is a nonprofit arts and education organization based in Greensboro, Vermont. Its mission promotes the skills, culture, and traditions of the traveling circus, and inspires youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts. Camp staff teach children of all ages (and even adults!) acrobatics, clowning, aerials, and much more.

Accordingly, participants of Circus Smirkus have a fun and unforgettable camp experience. We encourage you to view their Circus Smirkus Camp Experience video.

Juggling several batons

A Riveting Show in Wake Robin’s Juniper Garden

In the Juniper Garden on a beautiful summer morning, a troupe of youngsters performed several fantastic feats. There was juggling, flipping, dancing, and even human pyramids! The performers synchronized their every move, offered humorous dialogue, and simply delighted the crowd with their energy.

What is even more impressive, is that the road show performance is part of the summer camp series which lasts for only 3 weeks! The first half of camp is spent learning and mastering the routine while the remaining time is dedicated to area performances.


During the finale, the performers bowed to raucous applause. Each Circus Smirkus member announced where they hailed from; one teen lived close by, in Charlotte, while a couple of others grew up in Washington D.C. and Florida.

Afterward, the group of teenagers had a chance to introduce themselves and visit with residents.

Thanks to Recreation Services

Above all, Carnival Day created an atmosphere of cheer and conviviality. Both residents and staff enjoyed good company, good treats (think fried dough!), and a wonderful performance. We must thank Recreation Service Manager Andrea Longe, ACC/SMC, CDP, who coordinated the entire day.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about future Linden Health Center programming!


Wake Robin Residents Visit the Adirondacks

By | Blog, Events

It’s one thing to travel, but Wake Robin residents like to take their adventures one step further and really experience all a place has to offer. That’s exactly what 40 residents, and future residents, did October 6-7 when they traveled to the Adirondacks as part of the Inquire program.

The kaleidoscope of autumn colors travelers witnessed as the bus wrapped itself along the most scenic routes, set the tone perfectly. Travelers were able to witness untouched natural areas, breath the air, hear the sounds, visit museums, and stay overnight in an authentic Adirondack Great Camp.

canoeing on the lakeDay one included a visit to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. There, participants were able to see historically significant treasures from boats and horse-drawn coaches and sleighs to an original Adirondack steamer with its rustic seating for summer transport. Dozens of authentic exhibits demonstrated the stark contrast of those who struggled to live in the wilderness verses the comfort of life those who used the Adirondacks as their seasonal playground experienced.

2 men in red chairs looking over sagamore and one man standing near lakeGreat Camp Sagamore offered residents a chance to step back in time, enjoy nature, and relax in a rustic and comfortable setting. The century old cabins, named after Vanderbilt children; George, Gloria, and Alfred, as well as the large chalet style lodge “Wigwam” held gorgeous stone fireplaces and woodwork inside making for a cozy overnight after a private tour of the camp, tasty dinner, and lively concert featuring local folk musicians and story tellers. The following day started out beautifully as some canoed, hiked or just relaxed in lakeside Adirondack chairs after a hearty breakfast and an optional morning meditation. It was quite a feeling to be taking in the same sights and comforts as celebrities like Cary Grant, Jean Tierney and Howard Hughes all of whom frequented the property to escape the Hollywood rat race. Imagine sitting in the room where Hoagie Carmichel wrote Stardust. We did.

group of 6 walking on trailThe personalized trip didn’t end at Sagamore though. The Wild Center, an Adirondack natural history museum, was the focus of day two. The group enjoyed dozens of exhibits on display to the public, but especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour arranged just for Wake Robiners. Led by staff wildlife biologists, groups from Wake Robin were taken behind locked doors to experience day-to-day operations including animal care. Although intimidating, the resident porcupine was quiet and unthreatening – as were a bevy of native snakes, owls, hawks, and the museum’s grand dame – Skitters – a 14-year old otter.

over-tree walkwayComing home through Saranac Lake and Lake Placid was a perfect way to see peak color and the high peaks did not disappoint – deep reds, bright oranges, yellow, and just enough green to let us know what a treat we were seeing. The ferry ride across Lake Champlain was smooth as silk and the Green Mountains, although largely still green, were a welcomed sight for this bleary eyed group of adventurers. Back in time for dinner at Wake Robin and a good night’s sleep. Where to next?

Wake Robin Celebrates Food Day!

By | Blog, Events, News

buffetOn October 24th, Wake Robin celebrated Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide initiative that focuses on local, affordable and sustainable food. Some of the festivities included visits from local farms; Shelburne Farms came and spoke about cheese making, as well as the importance of their educational programs. Bella Farms discussed organic farming and their Wake Robin CSA. Staff also contributed dishes in a food competition in which 50% of the ingredients had to be locally sourced.

This year, there were with more than 7,500 Food Day events happening around the country. In New England 57 hospitals committed to serving meat free of antibiotics. Sustainable and organic farming practices contribute to reduced water and air pollution, richer organic material in soil and healthier farm animals and communities.

Thank you to all the local vendors who participated and made this event such a success!

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2014

By | Blog, Events, News


Wake Robin participated in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 21st at the Shelburne Museum. It was a beautiful sunny day and over 1000 walkers came to support this cause. $178,000 was raised for the Shelburne Walk and with donations still trickling in we hope to make the $180,000 fundraising goal for the year!

Walkers were given flowers to represent their connection to the disease.

Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease.

Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s

At the beginning of the walk, volunteers collected the flowers and “planted” the promise garden for walkers to discover upon their return.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

Wake Robin at the Vermont Fresh Network Forum

By | Blog, Events
Kathy & Tim

(picture taken by Brent Harrewyn at Hoverfly Photography)


On August 3rd, The Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum was the place to be for a food lover. Chefs and farmers lined the inside of the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms offering up delicacies for over 500 people in attendance.  Wake Robin was there with one of our farm partners, Bella Farms, serving up a delicious gazpacho made with fresh produce harvested from their fields in Monkton, Vermont. This Annual Forum is a chance for chefs and farmers to celebrate all the bounty that Vermont has to offer.

Bella Farms is a huge contributor to Wake Robin – not only do they supply produce to the Wake Robin kitchens, but they also set up a CSA on Fridays as a part of our CORE program – Wake Robin’s Employee Initiative.