Presbyterian Village North (PVN) recently held Camp PVN, a summer camp held in partnership with Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and NorthPark Presbyterian Church. This camp was not only a time for light-hearted intergenerational activities among children and seniors – it was also a time for learning and sharing special gifts. During Camp PVN, children and seniors spent time together during “gift hours,” where residents imparted special knowledge of hobbies, interests or activities with participating children. A group of residents at the senior living community who cleverly dub themselves the “Knit Wits,” feel that knitting and crocheting is a lost art for today’s younger generations, as they are growing up in a time of busy schedules with other forms of entertainment. As a result, members of PVN’s Knit Wits group used some of the camp’s gift hours to teach children how to do French knitting with handheld spools. This activity was meaningful to the senior residents because they learned how to knit and crochet at around the same ages as the children in the camp. Other residents and interest groups participated as well.
“My mother taught me how to knit when I was 10 years old,” said Judy Morris, a resident of PVN and member of the Knit Wits group. “I watched her do it all during my childhood, so when the day came for me to learn I was not surprised. Many other children were beginning to learn from their mothers, and we just expected that we would all acquire the skill at some point. Though today’s parents do not pass down this talent to their children the way they used to, I feel it is making a comeback with young adults who are eager to experience something new. It is extremely therapeutic and can be both stress relieving and create social opportunities. We were excited to see the joy that radiated from the children’s faces as they created something unique.”
The Knits Wits spent four days working with the children, helping them to make flowers, headbands and other creative items. After hosting this series of activities, they are contemplating hosting other tutorials down the road during school breaks and on weekends. They experienced much joy in passing down their family knowledge of knitting and crocheting. Among all 12 members, it is estimated the group has a combined 500 years of experience, as many were taught at a young age and have been doing it all their lives.
“I love making scarves for people, as it is very personalized and doesn’t take too long to complete,” said Morris. “We have discussed using our talents to make items like scarves, hats and lap blankets for people in need, such as soldiers, the homeless and hospitalized children. Our group started just a few months ago, so we are still discussing how to use knitting to help others. Overall, I enjoy being a part of it because it’s fun to keep your hands busy with these projects, and it’s a nice activity to do with other people. It’s engaging for the brain in multiple respects.”
The Knit Wits meet every Wednesday at 2:00 in the Fun and Games room to work on their own knitting and crochet projects, making a variety of items such as pot holders, dish clothes, baby hats, blankets, scarves and more. People share their patterns, yarn, advice and weekly stories during each session. All agree it is a wonderful time for catching up, relaxing and socializing.
“Camp PVN is a time for generations of families to come together and learn from each other,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Our goal is for residents to have the opportunity to share meaningful talents, hobbies and knowledge with their grandchildren and the grandchildren of other residents. They have a wealth of wisdom and stories to tell, and creating these family friendly events and programs provides opportunities for them to connect with the children. It’s equally beneficial, as the children come to love and respect residents from a different generation even more. In return, the residents are uplifted when they see the children exploring the world – taking in their advice and communicating their own fun stories and knowledge with them. We are lucky to have such enthusiastic residents who initiate and lead groups such as the Knit Wits, and then set aside time to be a positive influence on children. We are all a ministry of people serving people.”