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The Third Annual IG Symposium

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

I was so excited Wednesday night, September 30, 2020, to attend the Third Annual Intergenerational (IG) Symposium. I enjoyed my stroll down memory lane. I was grateful for the opportunity to convene and host the first two Symposia, the many colleagues who helped lead those and the people who attended them. Joann Montepare of Lasell University and Doug Dickson of Encore Boston Network as well as my team at Bridges Together were so pivotal in the first two Symposia.

This Symposium took place on the last day of IG Month in September. Sandy Kraemer initiated the month-long celebration about 20 years ago. IG Month is recognized by more than 45 governors, including Gov. Baker of Massachusetts.

This year, Joann and her colleague, Skye Leedahl of University of Rhode Island convened the Symposium. The keynote was by Dr. Matt Kaplan of Pittsburgh State University. He presented on IG contact zones, spaces that invite the generations to gather and engage.

Matt spoke of the “PPPPV”: Programs, Policies, Places, Process and Values". He then drilled down to space. He gave us a dramatic representation of three neighborhood parks. The first was clearly for adults. The second was for adults and children – including a sandbox and swingset. The third park was an intentional “IG contact zone”. For example, the sandbox had a bench next to it so that adults could easily sit and chat while the children played. There was also a game table for dominoes or the like.

My take-away from Matt's presentation: it’s great for each IG program or space to have what Matt called “a spark”! Something that draws the generations in and invites them to engage with the “spark” and one another. For example, the game table or a treasure chest with items from both generations' childhoods. I was reminded of a "spark" that I used. When I piloted the BRIDGES: Our Stories program in a library, we had Legos on every table as people arrived. They sparked creativity and conversation.

Each of us can “apply an IG lens” to our family, work and service. Matt helped us understand how to apply an IG lens to space.

At last year’s Symposium, we focused on the 5 Pillars of an Age-Integrated Community. They are:

  • Leadership with a Team

  • Casual and Formal Engagement Opportunities

  • Shared Space and Resources

  • Policies, Procedures & Practices

  • A Culture of Age-Inclusion

Matt’s PPPPV: Programs, Policies, Places, Process and Values echoes what we shared last year. His “process” refers to the leadership being responsive to the participants as well as the process of allowing the program or space to evolve and develop.

After Matt’s keynote, several great IG programs from the Boston area shared how they are pivoting during these COVID times in order to connect the generations in meaningful ways.

Thank you Joanne, Skye, Matt, all who shared and all who participated.

Below, you may download the Age-Integrated Community document from last year's Symposium.

May we all put on an IG lens, helping to create and foster age-integrated communities.

_age integrated community final
Download PDF • 352KB

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