27 October . 2020
How Elyson kept the fun rolling, even amid social distancing
Since Elyson opened four years ago, resident events such as Movies on the Lawn, Story Time and Tails & Ales have become an important part of community life, keeping neighbors connected and helping newcomers meet new friends quickly.
When the pandemic put public gatherings on indefinite hold earlier this year, Elyson’s events never went away; they just evolved to meet the moment.
Kelly, Elyson’s lifestyle director since 2017, adapted quickly to keep Elyson’s events and activities going as quarantine took hold.
“We knew we needed to get creative to help keep everyone’s spirits up, especially right after the schools closed,” she said. “We decided that one of the best things we could do was to build on the community spirit we had so carefully nurtured over Elyson’s first years.”
Starting around Easter, Kelly rolled out a nonstop parade of virtual and socially distanced events that helped to keep Elyson residents engaged and entertained during the spring, summer and into the fall.
Activities included an Easter parade, a virtual Jump into Summer event, a Fourth of July parade, virtual Trivia Night, a National Night Out parade, and many more.
There was also an Easter egg hunt, where residents were encouraged to place drawings of Easter eggs in their windows, and other residents made their way through the community to see how many eggs they could find. Residents were invited to take part in a number of contests, including cutest dog and cat photos.
Food trucks visited Elyson one or two times a week during the spring and summer.
Elyson also maintained its growing tradition of giving back during the pandemic, with events including the Walk to End Alzheimer's, a contactless clothing drive benefitting Clothed by Faith, and a by-appointment blood drive.
Now that Elyson is set to resume in-person resident events this fall – with a number of social distancing and other safety measures in place – many residents look back fondly on the way the community came together earlier this year.
“The activities helped to keep our spirits up,” said Erin Brown. “I feel like most of us spent a few months this year wondering if anything would be normal, especially in the spring. Elyson did a great job making our amazing community feel normal.”
The Brown family’s favorite event was Family Game Night, held over Zoom in August. “Our 15- and 18-year-olds participated, and they had a blast,” Erin said. “We just took part in Trunk or Treat at Elyson House, and that was also a lot of fun.”
The Jackson family also loved Game Night.
“Our whole family had an absolute blast, it was like a whole Elyson event on a computer screen,” said Michael T. Jackson. “There was music, dancing, corny jokes – everything. Our kids got into the competitive spirit with answering questions, and I enjoyed having to actually exercise my brain. The event was a nice complement to the cursory ‘hellos’ you give people when you pass them on the paths. It was nice to actually be able to interact with our neighbors.”
Michael added that Elyson’s parks, trails and amenities helped his family maintain a sense of normalcy this year.
“We have been very thankful to live in Elyson during the spring and summer,” he said. “We did go stir-crazy a bit at the beginning, but with the number of open spaces throughout Elyson, it was easy for be able to get out as a family and still be socially distant. The walking trail around the lake has practically become our second home. I can't imagine going without that during a time when we were supposed to stay home as much as possible.”
Michael credits Kelly and the Elyson HOA for helping his family and others keep their spirits up during the pandemic.
“We have a community that goes out of its way to create a welcoming environment, even during a pandemic,” he said. “That’s truly out of the ordinary, and it’s a big part of what makes Elyson the outstanding community it is.”
Beth and Scott Henderson, among the first families to move to Elyson, have also enjoyed many events this year.
“When quarantine first started, Scott and I would take our dogs on walks in the neighborhood,” Beth said. “A lot of other neighbors also got out and took advantage of our neighborhood sidewalks and path around the lake, so we would run into them a lot and catch up. We have enjoyed the food trucks that have been coming during the week to the Elyson Center Parking lot, it has been fun trying new foods.”
See photos from past Elyson events – the kinds of events we look forward to getting back to as soon as safely possible.
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