Above photo: Family members visiting from as far as New York City and Tokyo spent the day playing carnival games with their loved ones at Banfield Pavilion.
From her wheelchair, a senior at Banfield Pavilion gets into position and takes aim with a nerf gun - her target a shooting gallery of paper plates marked with red paint. The result? A bullseye every time.
“I like this very much, and I’m having a really good time,” says Banfield resident Audrey Mogden, as cheers erupt after her victory. “I wonder what my prize is going to be?”
Welcome to the Banfield Pavilion Carnival, held August 10th for 154 long-term residents of various physical abilities, as well as their family members and staff. The 12 adaptive carnival games were built on volunteer time by Vancouver Coastal Health's Facilities Maintenance & Operations (FMO) team as a way to give back to the community.
“It’s really great to see a project plan from paper come alive, and this is what it looks like now,” says Shilpi Shah, Business Initiatives and Support Services (BISS) project manager. “The carnival wouldn’t have been possible without all the great people who volunteered their time and energy to make this a success for residents.”
After months of planning, building and painting, Banfield Pavilion was a colourful sight. The sounds of victory and laughter – and the smell of mini doughnuts – filled the courtyard as residents assembled together under hand-painted carnival signs for the festivities.
“This care home is fun!” says one boy who travelled all the way from New York City to visit his grandparents Yuk San Tam and Sing Tong Tam. “It’s really great here!”
Resident Daphne Sexton spent the morning playing games before taking a break to enjoy lemonade and caramel apple slices.
“This is an absolutely fantastic idea,” she says. “Everyone is out here and having a great time, and there are so many volunteers – it’s great!”
Joining the volunteers were retired FMO staff, eager to operate the games. Some FMO members even recruited their family to pitch in on the big day.
“Six months ago my dad was talking about [the carnival] when it was still just an idea,” says Cole Ford, who helped volunteer to paint the games in the FMO warehouse weeks before. “I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
While some residents were determined to win prize tickets, others took a break from the games to listen to live music, which ranged from Big Band jazz to folk music. Volunteer musicians included the Swing Shift band, recruited by a former FMO painter and his wife, as well as accordionist Allison Jenkins.
Nearby, Sodexo culinary manager Kyle Mason prepped the cotton candy machine, explaining how all food items – from the corn, caramel apples, potato salad and chicken drumsticks – would be pureed and minced for any residents with special diets.
Resident Huon Di Deng was handed a cone of freshly spun pink cotton candy, laughing with surprise at her first bite.
“I don’t think she’s ever had cotton candy before,” explains her granddaughter, smiling. “I think she likes it!”
Members of VCH’s Senior Executive team also came out to show their support for the carnival, thanking the FMO team, Sodexo, the Rotary Club, the BC Produce Marketing Association (BCPMA), and the staff and volunteers both at Banfield and across VCH.
“All the teams involved here have been amazing,” says Laura Case, chief operating officer for Vancouver Community. “It’s a whole pile of people coming together to do something great for the community, and I want to thank everybody involved.”
Darcia Pope, Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, says attending the carnival was a highlight of the summer.
“It was so touching to experience so much happiness and laughter with residents, families, staff and volunteers,” she says. “We hope to see this carnival go on the road to spread the joy to other VCH staff and residents!”
Jeff Smith, the FMO lead carpenter who helped spearhead the creation of the carnival, couldn’t agree more. “There are 20,000 people who work at VCH,” he says. “Together we can do something extraordinary.”
Part 1: ‘Our team was inspired to do more for residents’: Creating a carnival for Banfield Pavilion!
Part 2: Banfield Pavilion Carnival brings VCH community together