Community and Connection Are Key at The Retreat

The Retreat, an OakwoodLife community, is Colorado Springs’ first active adult community, and it’s built to reignite an active, engaged lifestyle.

Colorado Springs has been on a roll of firsts and grand openings lately. While the biggest may be the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, another big but lesser-known milestone is the Springs’ first active adult community: The Retreat, an OakwoodLife Community. Located within the award-winning, master planned Banning Lewis Ranch community, The Retreat opened last year and has welcomed its first wave of members. When fully built, the community will hold 575 luxury, main floor-living homes starting in the $300s.

An active adult community is a private community for people 55+ who want mostly maintenance-free living, resort-like amenities and connections with others. The Retreat provides all that and more, by offering a lifestyle of activities and services to help members pursue their passions and interests, whatever those might be, in the second half of life. The Retreat’s location inside the greater Banning Lewis Ranch also makes it part of a multigenerational community. In fact, multiple Retreat residents enjoy the benefits of having their children and grandchildren living just down the road.

“Many people have spent their lives building their careers and raising their families. And now at 55+, they’re at a point where their kids are grown and out of the house and their career is at a different stage. We want to help them reignite a passion for the things they love but forgot about or had to set aside,” says Michael Fraley, OakwoodLife division president. “Living at The Retreat is meant to liberate them to do things they’ve always wanted to do that they haven’t had an opportunity to do.”

The Barn will be the epicenter of social gatherings and activities in The Retreat. The 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art amenity center will feature an outdoor beach-entry pool with lap lanes and lounging area, an outdoor spa, fitness studio, gaming room, entertaining kitchen, pickleball courts, bocce ball, event lawn and more. Access to the The Barn will be limited to residents of The Retreat and their guests. Construction is underway, with The Barn expected to open in late 2021.

“The Barn will become the heartbeat of the community, but the OakwoodLife lifestyle directors make the difference,” Fraley says. “Our lifestyle directors engage with members to help them create plans for how this stage of life is going to go from this point forward, whether that’s hiking the Grand Canyon or serving people in need.”

People doing yoga at The Retreat, an OakwoodLife community
Yoga and fitness classes are part of the lifestyle at The Retreat, and OakwoodLife community at Banning Lewis Ranch. Photo by Todd Eudailey.

Lifestyle director Rachael Schulte already plans activities for residents under three key pillars—pursing passions, health and wellness, and connections—with the goal of fulfilling body, mind and spirit. “Since we are in the early stages of development in The Retreat, our members are fully engaged, voicing what they want the programming to look like,” Schulte says. “My job is to keep the community members engaged and connected to each other to live a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Schulte and team survey members about their interests. Aside from activities she plans or hosts, such as bingo, trivia night, educational lectures and cooking classes, there are also resident clubs. The garden club maintains the community garden for the neighborhood, and anyone with a green thumb is invited to help plan and maintain the garden space. The orchestra club welcomes anyone with musical talent and plans to perform future community concerts. The book club meets to discuss a new book each month.

During the pandemic, Schulte helped residents set up Zoom meetings to stay connected, including a virtual wine tasting. A tasting kit was delivered to residents’ doorsteps; then they joined a sommelier on Zoom to learn about the wines they were drinking. “Despite the challenging times, we have had great success with our virtual activities and events,” Schulte says. “It even allows our future residents who are out of state to join in on the fun and have a sense of belonging even before they move into the community. Silver lining!”

“The Retreat is definitely a community where everyone gets involved and makes meaningful connections with their neighbors,” Schulte says. The amenities and staff simply help to facilitate those connections that ultimately create a vibrant active community.

“When we circle back and ask our residents, ‘What’s so great about the community?’ they say it’s the connections and friends that they create,” Fraley says.

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