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The Poets of Springfield

Nicole Fite, Activities Director at The Gardens in Springfield, MO discusses the start of the poetry group and the evolution of “The Gardens Gazette.”

In August 2013, Bob Mantle, a resident at The Gardens Independent Living apartments in Springfield, MO, approached Activity Director, Nicole Fite, to ask if some residents could start a “writing/poetry group.” Within a few days, Nicole sent a flyer to the residents asking if they wanted to be a part of this kind of group. Several residents turned out that first day and soon a monthly newsletter was born—”The Gardens Gazette.”

From the beginning, “The Gardens Gazette” has been a product of the residents themselves, with guidance and encouragement from Nicole. All stories are sent to Nicole and put in a layout for all the staff of the “The Gardens Gazette” to approve.

The group is dynamic and continues to evolve with the addition of new faces. Bob enjoys writing poetry. Lee Beer studied journalism in college. Carole Woodall-Joslin once worked as a proofreader for a newspaper. George Joslin has experience in writing, editing and publishing. Betty Horzich enjoys socializing with her fellow residents and often comes up with fun stories during her conversations. Nicole uses her photography background for the images and layout. Each staff member interviews and writes stories about their fellow residents. “The Gardens Gazette” is for the residents, by the residents!

The first issue, dated September 2013, was black and white. By March 2014 it had graduated to full color. Phoenix Home Care kindly provides the paper. The four-page newsletter is focused on the residents of The Gardens, their activities and their personalities. Original poems by residents have been included several times. Nicole makes the claim that it may be the only newsletter of its kind. Other independent living groups have newsletters, but they are primarily the work of the staff. “I encourage the residents and stay out of the way,” laughs Nicole.

If you are interested in learning more about The Gardens Independent & Assisted Living in Springfield, MO please call (417) 889-7600, visit the Facebook page or visit the community website page.

If you are curious about one of our other 19 communities nationwide, visit our Find A Community page.

Nicole Fite says being Activity Director is perfect for her. It allows her to explore her creative and artistic side, but also allows her to use her marketing and advertising skills to help The Gardens grow and be seen by the public. Nicole has three children: Lauren, Tracie and Jordan, and one grandchild, Lola, who can be seen helping “Nana” here on special occasions.

Throughout her time as Activity Director, Nicole has not turned down a chance to try something new for an activity. She has taken on quilting, exercise instruction, writing groups, painting, pottery, book clubbing, gardening and even knitting. She is always looking for new, wild and fun ideas for activities that will enhance life at The Gardens.