Picture It. Boonsboro 2021. You and a friend need plans for Friday night. You decide to check social media for the latest happenings in your area. You see a listing for the Agriculture Fair and think that a night spent with tractor pulls and a local assortment of cows doesn’t sound half bad. As you two weave your way through the crowd of people, past the petting zoo and 4-H exhibits, you decide to head into the main pavilion to beat the heat and check out some of the local businesses in attendance. One booth catches your eye. It has bright colors, free pens (everyone’s favorite!) and photos of senior citizens living their best lives. While your plan is to simply chat them up in hopes that they will offer you candy, something stops you in your tracks. You begin to hear stories about the residents and the people that work there. You start to imagine what it must be like to live in a place like that, either independently or with assistance. You start to wonder if there is anything else they may need in order to keep living their best lives. And suddenly, you feel compelled to give….
Community. It’s a word that gets used a lot nowadays in that it can reference a number of things. An online community full of friends and “likes” and “retweets”. A specific college that preps those students who aren’t quite ready for life in a big university. The neighborhood where you live. A pretty awesome show that ran on NBC for a few years starring that guy who’s name sounded like some kind of weather.
Like we said, a lot of options.
But sometimes, community can be all of the above (minus NBC!). It can be the place where you live and work and learn but, it can also be the people that you live and work with. The magic of Fahrney Keedy lies within its community. An insular world filled with individuals from all different walks of life and parts of the world, who have had all different kinds of adventures, who came here with one common goal: to make the most out of the latest season of their lives. The same can be said for the people who work here. All different walks of life, all different geographic locations, all different skill sets. One common goal. To help, heal, and entertain our residents the best ways they know how. If that means breaking out the glue gun and making a hand made sympathy card for a family, then so be it!
But a community cannot thrive on its own. Sometimes, it needs a little help from the outside world. In order for that help to be received, the people in those surrounding communities need to be engaged. Facebook pages need to be updated constantly so the online community knows what events are happening. Mailings need to be sent out with accurate information. Special events like golf outings and gala dinners need to be held. Marketing events like fairs and festivals need to have a table with something eye-catching. Networking events need to be attended so community members can all come together. Grants need to be written, donations secured. While that sounds like a list long enough to fill the Grand Canyon, the task may actually be fun!
After all, when you’re the “face” of the facility, you have to be willing to get out there and you guessed it, ENGAGE! (Speaking of engage, scroll to the bottom for a different kind of engagement).
Every week, we will be highlighting a member of the Fahrney Keedy Family to learn a little bit more about their life and career. They will be offering a unique perspective on their role as well as advice for those considering a career in senior living.
This week, we get a snapshot into the life and career of Becky Musser, Director of Community Engagement.
Where did you go to school? What was your major? “I went to Smithsburg High School. I did not go to college and I do not have a degree – unless you count the degree of hard knocks!”
Do you have any other certifications? “I am a graduate of the Leadership of Washington County program, Class of 2020, Class #33.”
When did you know you wanted to work in fundraising and development? What drew you to your current position? ” Working in fundraising isn’t something you choose. Fundraising chooses you! From my time spent in retail sales, as a stay at home mom, an activities aide and volunteer coordinator, and now the Director of Community Engagement, I’ve realized this is the journey I had to take to develop a particular skill set which has helped me become a successful fund developer and even dabble in creative marketing! Customer service is huge! Building relationships, learning how to talk to people, confidence, organization-organization-organization, creativity, time management, strategizing, strong communication skills both verbal and written, determination, the ability to lead a team, seeing the big picture, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, the list goes on and on! You really need to be a jack of all trades and maybe the master of some.
When I came to Fahrney Keedy as an Activities aide, the former fund developer noticed my creativity and attention to detail, as did the former marketing director. As we are a non-profit, they asked me to start helping with fundraising events and marketing tasks. It became clear that I had found my niche. Quite quickly, I was promoted to director. The rest is history. I would also like to point out that, as an Activities aide, I had built a very strong and deep relationship with the folks that I was raising money for. They add fuel to my fire and passion to do well. I want to succeed for them!”
What brought you to Fahrney Keedy? “I worked under our current leadership team at another facility. I followed them to Fahrney Keedy because I was comfortable with them but, also, I felt I had a better opportunity for growth. Non-profit senior living was very appealing to me. It turns out, I was right about the growth!”
In honor of #tbt, we want to throw it back to your first day at Fahrney Keedy. What do you remember? “I came to Fahrney Keedy as an Activities aide/volunteer coordinator. I was excited to meet all of the new residents who I knew I would get to know and love. I was nervous because I was joining a team of ladies in the Activities Department who I had never met before but they welcomed me with open arms! We immediately hit it off and started having fun with residents!!”
What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your duties and responsibilities? ” Oh man, you should have saved this question for last! Every day is different and it depends on the project at hand. I could list out some of the things that I do but that list is never ending and sometimes I just can’t believe where the day will take me. From coming up with donation strategies, supporting the Fahrney Keedy culture, to deciding on strategies for creative marketing, you have to be able to go with the flow in this position and be ready for anything and everything. Staying connected with the greater community is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. I have many pots to be stirred, as each day is different. Time management is key. I couldn’t function without my planner!”
Do you have a favorite memory from your time spent working here that you would be willing to share? “When I was 15, I started my first job at Sander’s Cookie Jar Bakery in downtown Hagerstown. Marlene Manning was my bosses’ mother and Marlene taught me everything I needed to know about customer service. Fast forward nearly 20 years later, we were reunited here at Fahrney Keedy. She was admitted as a resident. She was a significant, impactful role model for me in an early chapter of my life. I was there for her in the last chapter of her life. So, my favorite memory was reuniting with her. #fullcircle”
This pandemic has been hard for everyone but especially for those individuals working in healthcare. How did you personally get through it? ” Keeping the perspective that brighter days are ahead and having friends, family, and co-workers to lean on and talk to.”
Oscar Wilde once said “with age comes wisdom. What advice would you give to your younger self? “YOU are the author of your story, no one else. Have fun, do your best, find the humor in everything, do everything with a good heart, and KNOW that you are good enough.”
What advice would you give to someone interested in working in Fundraising and Development? “First, find an organization that you are TRULY passionate about. The passion and devotion you commit to your organization will significantly impact your success. Second, make friends everywhere you go. Lastly, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Why should someone choose to join the Fahrney Keedy team? “As a person who coined the hashtag #FahrneyKeedyPROUD, you will not find an organization with more heart! I truly am so proud to work here and will be an ambassador for this community for as long as it is in existence. Our leadership is kind, empathetic, and respectful. They truly do care about their employees and how they handle situations and make decisions that reflect that. Working for this organization, I feel like I have over one hundred grandparents, folks who love me just as much as I love them. It’s an honor and a privilege to work here.”
WHO YOU GONNA CALL???!
We asked Becky five rapid fire questions to get to know her a little better:
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Movie: All Brat Pack Movies! Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles
Favorite Disney Character: Too hard! So, Favorite Animal : Sloth
Favorite Superhero: The Ghostbusters
Favorite Actor, Age 65 and over: Betty White (Doesn’t everyone have the same answer? – Becky)
1Fun Fact: Becky is getting married on April Fools Day, 2022 (Because Jesse ain’t no fool!)
Thank you so much to Becky Musser for sharing! Stay tuned next week when we add another photo to our Family Album!