If you’ve taken part in a club or event here at Kissing Tree, chances are good you’ve met our amazing Lifestyle Director, Kevin Wilson. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Kevin is the guy who keeps our Tribes and activities running—even when we’re all staying home! Recently, Kevin agreed to sit down and give us the inside story on everything from where he grew up and how he gets ideas to which Tribe is his favorite! Read on for the full scoop.
KT: Let’s start with the basics. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Pensacola, Florida. I served time in the Air Force, and then I got a master’s degree in sports administration from Mississippi State. My first job was as a recreation director at a college in San Antonio, about 22 years ago. I always tell people I’m one-third Texan, because I’ve been here for almost (not quite) a third of my life.
KT: Do you live at Kissing Tree?
No, we moved to New Braunfels about 4 years ago.
KT: Are you married? Do you have kids? Pets?
Let’s see—I’ve got three dogs, one cat, two graduating seniors (twins—one boy and one girl), and one wife.
KT: What do you love best about your job?
It’s always the residents. I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the residents! I’m doing it for the people who live in our community. It’s all about coming up with creative ideas—ideas that entertain everyone and keep residents active and fit.
KT: How do you get ideas for all the awesome activities?
This will sound funny, but I was an only child. Growing up, I was creative in how I made things up. I had to play games by myself, and I always put that angle on it when I’m trying to think of activities. I’m not afraid to make up my own rules! Sometimes, ideas will come to me out of the blue. I’ll be home riding my bike, and I’ll think, we should do this! I soak things up as much as possible. Sometimes if you take something and put an angle on it, it makes it more fun.
KT: I know you can’t say if you have a favorite Tribe, but…
Actually, I DO have a favorite.
KT: Wait, what?!
Obviously, Champs are about games and sports. But I’d say that the broad descriptions of a Champ is someone that loves doing what they do, no matter what that is. People who are Voyagers and Foodies and Creators are all Champs, too. We’re all Champs!
[ Have you found your Tribe yet? Take the quiz! ]
KT: Do you play any sports?
I’ve been known to play a couple sports. My main sports flag football—I’m very competitive. I also play golf and disc golf. I also like fitness activities—hiking, biking, bike riding, swimming, and fitness classes.
KT: Is there a disc golf course at Kissing Tree?
Not officially, but we do have 3 disc golf baskets in the model home area. We scattered them around, and there are nine numbered painted rocks to mark the course. When everything is open, you can check out discs from the activity center and go around.
KT: What are some of your most memorable adventures with the Kissing Tree community?
Oooh, that’s hard to pick. Some of the major pickleball tournaments have been really good. We had the Elvis Presley ultimate tribute artist—he was awesome, and we had 250 people come out for that. We had a great Mardi Gras parade, where residents decorated their bikes and golf carts. Last year on my birthday, a bunch of residents surprised me. It was so humbling.
KT: I remember hearing about a pool party with bull riding!
That was one of the craziest parties, and we’re going to have great pool parties once we get started! One thing we always do—I don’t know if I made it up—but we always try to set the Kissing Tree world record for the most people in the pool. It’s our own record—we’re going to set it and break it every year. If some people just want to sit on the edge and put their feet in, that’s fine, that counts too. Oh, and our live music series is really good.
KT: Do you book the live music?
I do! I go out and listen to live music, and I get on Facebook and listen. We try to keep it interesting with a lot of different genres: 60s and 70s, classic rock, rockabilly, jazz—we throw in all kinds of fun stuff. We were supposed to have 22 concerts this summer—next week would have been the second one. That’s on pause for a while.
KT: Are there any upcoming events right now?
You bet! Next Friday we’re doing a drive by concert. You might say, ‘What the heck does that mean?’ but we’re going to put a band on trailer and drive them through the neighborhood about four times really slow. Residents can dress up and dance in their own driveways and hear some live music. The band we have is called Cactus Flats—two of the members are local residents, and they play a little bit of everything; they’re pretty dynamic.
KT: That’s great! What else is in the works?
We’re working on some creative instructional videos, and I’m putting together a Kissing Tree Trivia Quiz via Kahoot. We were going to have the Wacky Olympics in May, and that’s on hold, but it’s still going to happen. We’ve got all the games ready, so it’s just a matter of time.
We also have our online bocce ball bracket—we had 40 teams signed up for our tournament, and since we couldn’t play in real life, we’re doing a fantasy virtual draw to see who “wins” each match, just for fun. At some point when all this is over, we’ll keep our same bracket set up and play the real games, fantasy bocce versus reality. It will be like March Madness!
KT: How have things been lately? Do you miss your office?
I like to say that right now, we’ve got a little more time for planning the rest of the year. Normally we’re running at 100 miles a minute, and now we’re going at like 10 miles a minute. I’ve been here Mondays and Wednesdays at Kissing Tree—we have a very limited crew up here at Independence Hall. Usually there’s one of the front desk staff here from 8 to 5 to take in shipments and answer phones. We’re still keeping stuff clean and working on a few small projects.
KT: What are you and your family doing to stay active during this time?
We’re not as active as we usually are; nobody is. We’re trying to maintain sanity and some sense of normalcy, just trying to stay safe, healthy, happy, and positive. Those are the four words we’re focused on right now, and faith, too. This is just a temporary thing, and it’s going to pass.
KT: Aww! How has the Kissing Tree community been during this time?
These residents are amazing. Everyone is always keeping an eye open for each other. In other communities, they often have a group called the Sunshine Group or something like that where people look out for each other, like if someone is not doing well or needs assistance with something, or has a passing in their family. We don’t have a formal group like that yet because we haven’t had a need for it—our residents are already doing that stuff for each other every day. We didn’t have to form one to make it formal.
KT: Anything else about the secret life of Kevin we should add?
Hmm…let’s see. I would love to have been in Jimmy Buffet’s band, the Coral Reefers. It would have been fun to live that tropical lifestyle.
KT: Holy cow! I never would have guessed that one! Do you play an instrument!?
No, but I sing a lot in the shower and the car!
KT: Kevin, this has been awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to be interviewed and for all you do for the community.
Sure! We’ve got so much more to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg—our community is only 10% in, and we’re just getting started!
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity.