Who’s the leader of the club
That’s made for you and me?
Boomers sometimes become nostalgic when they hear the Mickey Mouse Club March, written by Jimmie Dodd, heart and soul of the renowned original TV show from the 1950s.
The leader of today's largest Boomer club is AARP, marching ahead of 25,000 Boomers and older adults who have decided to take a road trip to Orlando, September 30 through October 2. The celebration is called Orlando@50+.
This interesting use of the @sign is AARP’s way of branding. So they have conceived Life@50+ and Orlando@50+. I’m Brent@50+, but I’m not yet an AARP brand.
The second line of Mickey’s song points to three days of AARP-conceived demonstrations, diversions and drama, destined to make club members feel more fulfilled about Life@57 or Life@102.
Eleven musical letters are why, in fact, Orlando today is a lot more than a fruit stand surrounded by Florida swamp. Walt Disney World Resort transformed the area in 1971 beyond wildest imagination. Most AARP conference activities occur at the Orange County Convention Center, but the evening field trip will be at Universal Orlando, which is not Disney owned and operated, which won’t be a problem except perhaps for Disney executives. But Disney World assuredly can expect @50+ spillovers.
Hey, there! Hi, there! Ho,there!
Similar upbeat interjections will be repeated four-septillion times as 25,000 conference attendees encounter each other at exhibits, concerts, entertainment venues, speeches, and special lecture sessions.
You're as welcome as can be!
You’re welcome, with a couple of qualifiers: 1) if you can type your name and @50+ without hesitation; and, 2) if you’re a member of AARP, which costs the equivalent of three Mocha Lattes.
So, other than having AARP membership in common, what could make this three-day happening rich with psychic connections among so many strangers?
The joy of Life@50+ includes the road behind: the knowledge and insights Boomers’ journeys have taught. This generation shares history, and that makes Boomers more than an age cohort or merely far-flung members of a 50+ club.
This generation shared shining moments of John Kennedy’s Camelot. Screamed at The Beatles during their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. Witnessed Neil Armstrong etch boot prints on the dusty moon surface. Wondered at the improbability of Woodstock. And considered The Berlin Wall crumbling under percussion from freedom’s ring.
Shared history is context. That’s what thousands bring to Orlando@50+. That makes attendees more than merely members, but also a tribe with its roots in time.
And the past is often prologue. AARP-qualifed generations have new opportunities to focus experiences and insights toward improving the future of aging. Of purpose. Of legacies. Of due diligence for future generations.
More explorers and seekers are traveling to Orlando@50+ than all the Mouseketeers ever awarded mouse ear hats. This is the AARP convention, and Annette Funicello, the most popular member of the Mickey Mouse Club, is being replaced by contemporary celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg; Larry King; his brother, B.B. King; Judy Collins; and Richie Havens.
Crosby, Stills and Nash, three melodious @classic rockers, headline music entertainment. Their lyrics for Teach Your Children propose a quixotic idea that those who travel should seek authentic moments of true spirit.
You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye
Today, the past is more than just a good-bye to those who have traveled together for six and more decades. Orlando@50+ is another chance to learn and teach, to feed dreams in a place where young and old become as one. The way Walt intended it.