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Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear, for newer and richer experience”.  Two days ago, twenty Elders arrived in Panama City Beach for an adventure of which they could not imagine. Tomorrow they will leave with renewed spirits and zest for living.

All twenty of the Elders who attended the vacation this year experienced the richness of life in a different way. All those ways were beautiful and most importantly, meaningful to them as individuals.

Catherine had the opportunity to parasail with her granddaughters today. The beauty of those moments in which they were able to share together will be held deep within their hearts forever. Those memories can never be replaced.

It could have been  the experience of joy that Bret and Shirley felt as they danced the night away on the Betsy Ann boat tonight. Again, that spark of joy is something that leads us to recreate the moment in our memories over and over again. Each time as great as the first.

Of course there was Steve, who only wanted to eat at Hooters and ride a motorcycle! Luckily both of those dreams came true for him today! He said, ” I got to do everything I wanted and more”.

And perhaps the most remarkable thing has been seeing the utter glee that Darla has had. When she arrived, she rarely spoke.  However, after a few days at the beach, tonight she was driving the ship! She has transformed like a butterfly from a cocoon since being in Panama City Beach.

Life really is meant to be lived. It is meant to reveled, enjoyed, and used up until it can’t be anymore. The experiences the Elders have had this week in Panama City Beach will live with them forever. They cast aside fear and took bold leaps in new directions. The richness of this trip infiltrating their spirits and pushing them to fly higher. Their laughter has been overwhelming and their joy contagious. The adventure has only just begun for each of them.