About a year ago, Andrea connected with another Andrea at an intergenerational event on Cape Cod. Through this meeting, Bridges Together has found another ardent supporter of intergenerational issues! Meet BT Advisory Council member Andrea Hutter, who is off to Smith College in September as an Ada Comstock Scholar. Andrea plans to major in Psychology and minor in Sociology, with a concentration in Community Engagement and Social Change.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a former artist and entrepreneur, currently recalibrating for a career in community engagement and service by returning to college to complete my bachelors. I believe that I’ll be eligible for Medicare shortly after graduation.
How did you first learn of Bridges Together?
Last fall, a committee began to look into the idea of an intergenerational program to create art to hang in the rafters of the Yarmouth Senior Center. It was there that I first heard about Bridges Together. In October, the Yarmouth Senior Center held an Intergenerational Model UN, where the adults were paired up to work with the local high school students. The energy and goodwill generated by this program were palpable!
Director Kathi Bailey introduced Andrea Fonte Weaver and Bridges Together as integral to the successful creation and launch of the event that day. Afterward, I spied Andrea leaving the parking lot and caught her attention. She invited me to attend a BT training session so that I could bring BT’s guidance and tools to our “Art in the Rafters” planning committee. There was no sense in reinventing the wheel, so I was happy to learn about your organization’s method and framework for creating successful intergenerational initiatives.
How are you connected to BT?
Andrea has been a great help in introducing me to what BT is doing and to others in the IG field. I recently joined Bridges Together’s Advisory Council and look forward to greater involvement.
What do you think makes the work that Bridges Together does unique?
In a fashion, this goes back to not reinventing the wheel. Andrea and her team enable community leaders and others to take their initial ideas and plans and then develop and actuate their ideas for IG programs. But Bridges Together’s work goes beyond that – the team offers support and guidance and will be a part of the collaborative, creative process with varying degrees of involvement, depending on the people involved. The BT team brings expertise and enthusiasm to the table. There is a sense of common purpose and heart at the center of what they do. There is a “magic” that happens in IG collaboration that exceeded my expectations.
Did you have any special intergenerational relationships or experiences in your childhood? What about currently?
Many in our family have been blessed with longevity; at any given moment, there are four generations of us. We were also fortunate that my grandparents had a place on Cape Cod where we gathered each summer. It was like camp, but with multiple generations of campers. We worked together on the property and played together. My father was the instigator of field days and evening road races and relays. One uncle played the piano, and we had talent shows, involving a lot of Broadway tunes and hilarity. My maternal grandmother was in the thick of it until her death at 101-and-a-half years old. Last summer there was a mob of 22 of us at Nauset Light Beach, from ages four to 86 and everyone went swimming.
There is a joy in these shared multigenerational experiences that is hard to describe.
I believe that intergenerational collaboration is a crucial ingredient in the support of family and community in this century.