Bainbridge: The Summit County Senior Center defies expectations
Ryan Summerlin July 29, 2014
When my husband and I retired and moved here in 2010 we started looking around about how to get connected to the community. There were the obvious avenues, church, neighbors, etc, and then someone brought up the Senior Center. My husband wouldn’t “hear of this.” His picture of a Senior Center, and mine, quite frankly, was defined by elderly folks drinking coffee, hanging over the newspaper while their loved ones ran an errand. Perhaps we could visualize a card game in a back room, but not much more than that. We thought of it as a holding place.
Little did we know that this picture is certainly not the Summit County Senior Center.
Our first formal participation was a Senior Bike Ride. The paper said the group would tackle Swan Mountain that day. We had been wanting to try this and decided we would show our stuff with the Seniors. I told my husband I wasn’t sure I could make it and I would go with the slow riders. After meeting all the riders, he came back to me and said, “We gotta do this ride!” “You gotta make the mountain!” At 63 we were the youngest riders and the only ones dressed like beginners in street clothes. Colorful spandex surrounded us. We were challenged now. We finished and we love to tell this story about how we got beat by our “Senior friends” and how a charming Senior gentlemen adopted me and coached me the whole way over the mountain. He was at least 10 years my senior.
We next volunteered at the annual rummage sale. What an organized production! Thousands of hours of volunteering go into this event with every penny of sales given back to the community. About $45,000 was distributed within one month of the event this first year we were involved. We met retired executives and professional volunteers from all walks of life anxious to do something through the senior center.
Since these initial experiences we have discovered hiking, dancing, the coed reading club, historical trips, concerts and weekly dinners. We haven’t started golf or bridge yet, but we understand these are two very popular and affordable well organized activities too. We have also taken advantage of some of the traditional Senior Center activities like Medicare counseling, and medical transportation.
There is fun and services abundant at the Summit County Senior Center and certainly no sleeping over a newspaper. The biggest question is how to fit in all that is offered!
Co President Summit County Seniors
Volunteer educator for the Colorado Alzheimer’s Association
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