Connecting with Community is key to the Schlegel Vision

A shining example in one Arbour Trails couple

By Kristian Partington

When Schlegel Villages president and CEO Jamie Schlegel addressed nearly 300 people who’d gathered at the Blue Mountain Resort on the first morning of this year’s Operational Planning retreat, he spoke of a collective vision.  

“I know that what motivates us, as an organization, to engage in all of this activity is this vision that we fundamentally have of creating a world in which all of us, residents and team members alike, can live a life of meaning and develop new friendship and relationships and continue to learn and grow throughout our lifetime and contribute to our community in meaningful ways,” he said.   

Two residents and Ron Schlegel planting a tree

Marg and Ivan Stinson with Ron Schlegel on National Tree Day.

How people are able to make a contribution is one of the fascinating aspects of life within the villages. Take Marg and Ivan Stinson, for example. This is a couple that has spent a lifetime working to enhance the communities they called home, often through volunteer service on beautification committees. They were instrumental in creating a national program to honour some of the efforts of Canadians to enhance the green spaces in their communities, and their dedication was recently honoured with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award for their decades of volunteerism. In mid-September, another symbol of their commitment to community was planted in a ceremony at the Village of Arbour Trails marking National Tree Day, which the Stinsons were instrumental in organizing.

Dignitaries from Guelph attended, as did many neighbours from the Village by the Arboretum (VBA) next door. For Ivan, this day was not only about creating an opportunity to honour the sense of community they cherish but also to highlight the beauty of the village they call home.

“We’ve worked very hard to try and build a sense of community between the Village (by the Arboretum) residents and those at Arbour Trails,” Ivan says. “It was a great promotion and there was a great crowd here.”

“This was a community builder,” Marg says – a chance to bring neighbours together and make things a little more beautiful in the area. It was not only VBA neighbours who attended, but also many officials from the University of Guelph across the road, Marg points out.

The pride of this dedicated couple shimmers as they speak of the success of the day, and it’s clear this pride is for the community they are a part of. When Jamie Schlegel speaks about a collective vision, he could very well be speaking directly to the Stinsons; the beauty is that across the organization there are so many others living out their passions in other ways.