4-Hers, Hill Street Place residents hold multi-generational event

Photos by Jenny Kirk Stanley Busy Beavers 4-Her Ashley Boerboom, third from left, sets down a chip while playing a game of Sequence with Hill Street Place residents (from left) Regina Fox, Hilaria Rader, Ann Carver, Marie Schmahl and Lorraine DeJaeghere on Sunday. In the background, fellow 4-Hers Shanna Boerboom, Nate Noble, Kelsey Boerboom and Brett Regnier play a memory game with residents June Pool and Millie Horsman.

MARSHALL — Part of 4-H is learning to do things with and for other people. On Sunday, 4-H members from the Stanley Busy Beavers club did that by taking part in a multi-generational activity as part of a community service project.

The 4-Hers spent more than an hour playing games with about 20 of the residents at Hill Street Place.

“We’ve been doing this project for the past few years and it’s always fun,” Kelsey Boerboom said. “I like seeing them be active with us and participate.”

Boerboom, a junior at Marshall High School, played a dice game called Tenzi in addition to a memory game with residents June Pool and Millie Horsman.

“It’s fun to see them smile and get into it,” Boerboom said.

Fellow 4-Hers Nate Noble, Shanna Boerboom and Brett Regnier were also part of the group with Boerboom. And it was impossible to tell who was having more fun.

“We all had a good time,” Horsman said. “It’s nice the kids come and do this. It’s a good experience for them, too. When I was in 4-H, we didn’t do that.”

John Boerboom spent his time playing Pepper with Julius Walters, Millie Nagel and Eleanor Bleloch.

“I thought it went really well,” the 13-year-old Boerboom said. “We lost, but it’s just a game. We were just having fun.”

Boerboom added that the experience seemed to be a positive one for everyone.

“It’s good that the elderly have something else to do instead of just sitting around and watching TV,” he said. “It’s nice to have something else to do. And I think it’s fun to meet new people.”

Stanley Busy Beavers 4-Her Ashley Boerboom joined a group of five residents — Regina Fox, Hilaria Rader, Lorraine DeJaeghere, Marie Schmahl and Ann Carver — for a game of Sequence. Jordan Boerboom and Tristan Zinnel played a dice game called Farkle with residents Frank Hemish, Clarence McLaughlin and Lawrence Fox, while Gerart Vierstraete watched the action from close by.

“We’ve been doing this community pride project for awhile,” Roxanne Boerboom said. “They’re doing good. They like playing games with the residents and I think the residents enjoy it as well.”

Roxanne Boerboom splits 4-H leadership duties with her sister, Coreen Boerboom.

“I think it’s good for them to communicate with elders and to just spend time with them,” Roxanne Boerboom said. “A lot of people don’t have family around here, so this is a way they can talk with young ones. After the games, the residents will eat with us — we made refreshments. Then we’ll have a meeting. The residents are welcome to stay and watch us have our meeting if they want to.”

4-H leader Coreen Boerboom said she also thought the experience went well.

“I think the kids usually have fun playing games with the residents,” she said. “They get to meet and talk with the elderly men and women and they get to visit and talk with the younger kids. One year, my son talked with some of the older gentlemen and realized he was related to one of them. It can be a small world sometimes.”

At another table on Sunday, 4-Hers Lindsey Olson, Kaitlin Lingbeek and Natalie Noble played various games, including Spoons and Tenzi, with a trio of Hill Street residents.

“Everybody just brings different games to play,” Coreen Boerboom said. “I think it’s going really well.”

Boerboom said the 4-Hers have done other community service projects, such as recycling cards for St. Jude’s and gathering food for the local food shelf, but the multi-generational service project has been a mainstay over the past few years.

“This one we do every year,” she said.