Friday, March 1, 2024

Ten Questions with Cryst’l Scheer

(Cryst’l Scheer)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Cryst’l Scheer.

What is your job title and description?

I am the owner of Summit Care Partners. Summit Care Partners facilitates workshops, classes, and educational presentations for individuals and groups who are interested in exploring and preparing for the final stage of life.

Between Oregon and Virginia, and wearing multiple hats along the way, I was involved with
hospice for six years. During that time, it became evident that many people are overwhelmed and underprepared during these challenging moments in life. Confronting mortality is not fun. Having conversations about death can be arduous. Creating an individualized plan, getting organized, and documenting preferences before facing a medical crisis are key steps in mitigating some of the stress we face during that time.

Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?

I get to work with a lot of different people! My work is primarily based around making connections with community members. I work with individual clients (both terminal and non-terminal) as well as small private groups, community organizations, and businesses.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

Some days it will be a client with a terminal diagnosis or a chronic illness and we are either
creating or working through their individualized plan. These plans can vary from client to client and can include advance care planning, document preparation/notary service, respite for the caregivers, facilitating a legacy project, sitting vigil with someone who is actively dying, coordinating care and other resources, etc. Other days, it is giving educational presentations to community groups, hosting classes for people interested in guided autobiography and other forms of legacy writing, participating in or hosting death cafes, or creating partnerships with local groups and businesses.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

It’s always too early to plan until it’s too late. A lot of people think that working on their legacy project or creating an advance directive is for the old or the sick. A lot of people don’t think they can utilize the services Summit Care Partners provides because they don’t have a chronic illness or a terminal diagnosis. End-of-life education and advance care planning are thoughtful and proactive processes that all adults should consider. I would love to see more of our community engaged in various activities that foster a culture of open-minded communication around these difficult topics regardless of participants’ age or health history.

How do you define success?

I have dealt with varying degrees of imposter syndrome throughout the years, which can
sometimes make my accomplishments or success hard for me to describe. Setting that aside for the moment, I believe my success is defined by the people that I help. It is reaffirming for me to hear from people that the information, resources, and services I provide are helping them walk through complex stages of life, prepare them for the future, and/or start important conversations with their friends and family.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

I think that my most successful accomplishment is just a handful of smaller accomplishments put together that have brought me to where I am now. Addressing the needs of the community and creating an action plan, serving clients at various stages of planning, and networking with other organizations all lead toward the ultimate goal of adequately preparing humans for the final stage of life while de-stigmatizing conversations around death and dying.

How long have you lived in the Historic Triangle?

I moved here during the summer of 2014

What is your favorite part of living here?
This area offers a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities. A healthy selection of local events promotes community involvement and keeps us all connected. The county and state parks nearby are great ways to explore the outdoors. I like being centrally located near the mountains, beach, and a wide range of historical landmarks.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

Now that it is getting closer to fall, I’ll be spending my downtime decorating for the holidays. Halloween is my favorite, but we get pretty festive for Christmas, too. I also enjoy spending time in the garden, hiking, crafting, and binging documentaries.

What is the next step in your journey?

Summit Care Partners just received a small grant that is being used to kickstart an educational series this fall on advance care planning and providing individual services to the community. I am currently gearing up to connect with organizations, businesses, or other local groups that would be interested in hosting a presentation. If anyone is interested in learning more or scheduling a presentation for their group, feel free to reach out!

If you would like to learn more about different educational presentations, workshops, or wellness programs, or if you are interested in participating in the advance care planning education series, visit Summit Care Partners or call 757-561-0785.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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