Our annual Kensington Park Team Holiday Party, held this past December 9th, was just like old times – mostly! Last year, due to COVID, we held the party outdoors under a tent (in very cold December weather) and had small groups of team members rotate through on a rotating schedule. This year, because our team is 100% vaccinated and a large majority of us have received our booster shots, we were able to gather indoors once again, with masks of course! The Highlands was all decked out for the holidays in thanks to Janet (Director of Independent Living), Russell (Director of Environmental Services) and his team of porters. Not one nook or cranny went undecorated!
Jennine, our new Manager of Team Member Services, did a fabulous job planning the party for the first time – with the help of seasoned party-planners Acacia, Perri, Morissa and Janet. We had delicious food and drinks, karaoke and dancing, raffle prizes and gifts and a fun photobooth complete with fun and silly holiday accessories to wear. Santa Claus (aka Russell) made a special appearance, too, and he photobombed a few surprised team members; the results were hilarious! Karaoke was a hoot with Morissa, our music therapists Melissa and Mia, plus many more bringing the house down with their performances.
Perhaps everyone’s favorite part was the gift-giving around our 15ft. Christmas tree, the perfect setting! We raffled off some amazing gifts like 50″ flat screen TVs, Amazon echos, laptops and more. Everybody was holding their breath waiting for their name to be called. Anthony, a porter who has been with KP for over 20 years, finally had his lucky day and won one of the 50″ flat screen TVs. He was elated, saying, “After 21 years, I got the TV at last!”
As each team member left the party, they were gifted with a cozy KP blanket, homemade cookies baked by our volunteer Karen, and a bonus check to bring home to their families. These bonus checks are given out every holiday season in thanks to our Employee Appreciation Fund. Due to our no-tipping policy here at Kensington Park, residents began this official Fund as a way to show their gratitude towards our hourly team members. Families donate every year as well. Just before the annual Team Party, Letty in the business office tallies up all the contributions and then distributes it into individual checks. The residents on the committee then sign each check and prepare them to be handed out at the party. We are thrilled to share that the 2021 Fund collected a grand total of over $75,000! Some team members received bonuses of up to $450, a wonderful gift to bring home for the holidays! On top of this, the generous partners of Kensington Senior Living also gave a holiday bonus check to all hourly employees.
To all the residents, families, alumni and friends who contributed to the 2021 Employee Appreciation Fund, we thank you! Your generosity never ceases to amaze us.
Happy holidays from all of us here at Kensington Park – and cheers to a healthy New Year!
Mary Mell & Team KP