Values Ignited at Foxdale Summits

Values Ignited
Foxdale Village Summits Reinvigorate Personal Connections to Core Values


Community. Inclusion. Engagement. Acceptance. Caring. Stewardship. Fulfillment. These are the seven core values of Foxdale Village Retirement Community in State College, PA.

But they aren’t just words printed on a plaque. In fact, it has become the mission of several Foxdale team members to put action to words and take measures to ensure their meaning is explored and carried through in the daily lives of employees.

“We wanted not to just tell employees what the values are, but to reestablish a personal connection to them—and get new hires excited about the work they would be doing,” says Allison Baxter, Staff Development and Training Coordinator. Baxter, along with colleagues Meg Clouser, Director of Health Services, and Adam Day, Director of Environmental Services, are responsible for the program’s development and implementation.

To accomplish that, earlier this year they hosted their first employee Values Summit, aimed at engaging each and every staff member in just how the values apply to the work they do with seniors each day.  Drawing inspiration from a member-wide Values Summit hosted by FSA in 2017, Baxter, Clouser and Day worked with FSA’s Marsha Wesley Coleman and consultant Nancy Aronson to create one specific to Foxdale. Four summits have been held, including the inaugural event this past March.  

“We try to have a mix of employees in each group—different departments and titles,” says Baxter. Each group stays connected through an app that helps them continue the conversations started in their session. Cohorts of 16 pass through the day-long program.

For some staff members, it’s their first time “digging in” to their workplace’s values and the behaviors that support them, and drawing attention to the policies and practices that are meant to reflect them.  An example of this might be introducing the value of Stewardship and recognizing the opportunities to recycle that are strewn around campus. Or, in exploring the value of Community, they may talk about specific ways residents and staff function as a whole. 

This is all accomplished through various activities, from card games to art projects. Finding interesting ways to engage employees is not new to Foxdale; it has long been known for its unique approaches to employee trainings—just ask staff about their compliance videos and the “Pickles,” or affirmations, they give one another to praise a job well done. The Values Summit is no exception. “If you aren’t engaged, you aren’t going to learn,” she says. 

Employees leave each Summit having discussed their unique talents and set intentions for new ways in which they can uphold the values in their work. 

So far, Baxter and her colleagues are pleased with how the Summit has been received. Employees who have already completed the program have expressed their gratitude for the chance to reconnect to why Foxdale is special. The plan is for every employee—approximately 230 staff members—to participate in a Values Summit. Says Baxter, “It will take a while (for everyone to complete the program), but in the end we hope employees reinvigorate not just that they love working here, but why.” 

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