For many decades, Marion Elio, a resident at Crosby Commons, has wanted to go on a camping trip. She joined the Girl Scouts as a young lady, and her troop planned a camp out in 1939 at the Ninety Acres campground in Bridgeport.

As Elio and her fellow troops were setting up camp, Elio got injured. She was filling her glass bottle with water from the well, she fell, and the glass bottle broke and cut her hand. Her injury required stitches, so she was unable to participate in the camp out. Elio often thinks back to that day and missing that fun night.

Her “Journey of Dreams” came true when staff came together to recreate a camping experience for her.

“It made me think of the past and it took me back to my young, young life,” said Elio.

Kelly Coppola, activities director at Crosby, wanted to create a special camp out for Elio to enjoy and relive that moment from 80 years ago that she missed.

“Being able to recreate this memory for Marion filled my heart with pure happiness,” said Coppola. “She and I have developed a nice friendship here at Crosby.”

The evening was described as beautiful, with a clear sky. Residents gathered around a fire pit on the back patio, with s’mores, ice cream and other delicious treats, said a press release that recounted the event. “There was a wonderful guitar performance as residents sat under the stars and enjoyed the bonfire, and they were joined by Shelton Daisy Troop 60481. The girls shared their stories and a special bond with Elio over the campfire and sweet treats.”

“The Girl Scouts were fun to watch,” said Elio, “and they had a great time dancing around the fire.”

These special moments make Crosby’s Journey of Dreams program so meaningful, the press release said. “Our residents experience outings and unique life instances that help them live out ambitions they never thought they could achieve.”

“One of the best parts of my job is sharing and listening to the residents’ life stories,” said Coppola. “Even on our busiest of days, we must take time to listen. Something as simple as a missed camping trip. It was a sad fact she had thought about her whole life. I am blessed to have been able to flip that sad memory and put a smile on her face and in her heart.”

The Wesley Village Campus is located at 580 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton and includes Crosby Commons Independent/Assisted Living Community, Wesley Heights Independent/Assisted Living Community, Lifestyle Transitions Assisted Living/Memory Support Community, and Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center. The campus is owned and operated by UMH, a local, mission-based, not-for-profit organization.