What is involved in setting up and sustaining an ILI chapter?

Here are some of the key components in developing and sustaining ILI chapters over time.
  • Determine the “anchor organization” for the ILI chapter: This is the organization that formally serves as its primary base of operations. Could be a university-based center or institute, an organization that runs lifelong learning or senior volunteer programs, a multiservice community center.
  • Determine key partners: Could be local universities, aging service agencies, senior centers, retirement communities, youth organizations, schools, religious institutions, community development groups/ organizations, cultural institutions such as museums, local library, etc.
  • Figure out program logistics: Includes figuring out location(s) for holding training and project planning sessions, determiner who will serve in the roles of ILI “chapter coordinator” and ILI “short course instructor.”
  • Recruit ILI chapter participants (10-15 older adults per cohort)
  • Plan and conduct the Short Course (16 contact hours) which is designed to provide ILI participants with a foundational background in intergenerational practice: The ILI short course instructor provides ILI participants with a workbook, eight training modules, and interactive time to begin designing intergenerational programs in their areas of interest. Toward the end of the short course, participants may form project teams.
  • Hold monthly Application Sessions: This is where ILI participants operationalize their intergenerational program ideas. ILI participants and program partners update, share, and provide feedback on each other’s program development efforts. The application sessions also provide ILI participants with a peer group setting for expanding their community engagement skills and interests.
  • Plan additional training and professional development activities to extend past, present, and future ILI participants’ intergenerational programming and community leadership skills. This might include group trips to intergenerational conferences and intergenerational site visits.
  • Recognize ILI participants who have completed the requirements (all three components) of the ILI certificate program: A formal “graduation” event is a good way to celebrate the accomplishments of ILI participants and signify their transition from ILI “participants” to ILI “Fellows.” [Here is the press release for the graduation event held in 2017 for the ILI - State College, PA chapter.
  • Seek community-wide impact: Continually ask the question, “How might the ILI chapter best serve to promote values and pathways for Intergenerational Community Living? Consider holding events and meetings (perhaps even an annual retreat) to generate discussion, debate, and collaborative planning efforts aimed at addressing priority needs via innovative and effective intergenerational programming.
  • Join the ILI Chapters Network, a support network consisting of professionals from universities and organizations in locations that have established ILI chapters. This is a good vehicle for promoting cross-chapter sharing of information, project ideas and training opportunities. As the number of ILI chapters grows, so will the potential of the ILI Chapters Network to set up mechanisms for launching new ILI chapters, supporting existing chapters, and organizing national and international signature projects.