The 'Big Reveal' is coming to Webster Township this weekend
The Webster Township Historical Society is inviting the community to an event called the Big Reveal, which is part ice cream social and part information session, specifically the info gleaned from the surveys sent out to the community a few months ago.
The reveal is being held from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Historic Webster Village, 5583 Webster Church Road.
At 1 p.m. an hour of music from Mr. B’s piano boogie-woogie will be happening, and local Brownie Troop 40698, led by Laura Preston, and other Dexter Girl Scouts will begin serving ice cream with locally-grown strawberries or chocolate sauce under the big tent.
The information session will be the revealing of the results of the surveys that were completed by community members.
The Historical Society said they received over 500 responses to the surveys.
This all stems from the Webster Township Historical Society (WTHS) looking for ways to more fully utilize “our Historic Webster Village by offering services and activities that will engage the community and benefit everyone especially older adults who may be experiencing isolation, transportation difficulties or other challenges associated with aging in place in a rural community.”
Late last year, WTHS board member, Erica Perry, applied for and received a substantial grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation to research ways to develop our historic village into a Hub for Healthy and Productive Aging.
The WTHS said, “Erica has successfully applied for other grants for the WTHS and Historic Webster Village. These have been from the Kiwanis for improvements to our blacksmith shop and related children’s programs; a grant from the Dexter Wellness Coalition, a division of the Five Healthy Towns Foundation used to buy our own event tent; another from the Dexter Wellness Coalition to use towards a new entrance sign for Historic Webster Village; and, most recently, a grant from 100 Women Who Care to purchase items like park benches to enhance the village and to provide start-up money for planned projects and activities.”
WTHS said the money it received from the grant allowed them to build an office in their Crossroads Community Center, establish internet connections in Crossroads and the village, purchase office and audio-visual equipment, and engage the services of a consultant – Dr. Addie Weaver, a Webster resident and associate professor at the U of M School of Social Work, whose research focuses on the needs of older adults in rural communities.
“With Addie’s guidance, we spent the first quarter of the year reaching out to the community to assess their needs, and approaching possible partner organizations like local churches, libraries, senior centers, historical societies and service organizations to discuss ways in which we can collaborate to serve the community,” WTHS said.
Weaver helped them create targeted surveys that they mailed to Webster residents and posted on online platforms available to folks in the Dexter area.
The surveys asked if people “were already familiar with Historic Webster Village, what services and activities they would like to see offered at the village, and how likely they to utilize these services were?”
Alex Gilbert and a team of students from the National Honor Society at Dexter High School uploaded the results of the surveys into a database. From there, WTHS said Weaver analyzed the data and created a power point presentation to share with the AAACF, possible partner organizations and the Webster and surrounding communities.
The surveys, according to the WTHS, showed that 75 percent of the respondents would utilize programs and services at Historic Webster Village if they were offered in the future. And specifically, older adults requested farmers markets, walking paths, indoor / outdoor concerts, food and beverage tastings, and exercise classes while other age groups wanted intergenerational activities like outdoor movie nights, community gardens, and seasonal events and concerts.
As part of the grant, they are required to share these findings with the community.
There is where the Big Reveal Ice Cream Social event comes in.
The event is free and open to everyone, especially folks from the Dexter, Webster and Northfield communities.
During the event, all of the buildings will be open to the public and at each building they will post a list of activities that they hope to implement in the future.