A new beginning at Senior Center
By Kathryn LeBrasseur - Senior Center President
The Alexandria Senior Community Center has a new board of directors and a new format that is resulting in a new beginning for this building!
The building was built by the senior citizens of the area and, uniquely, is owned by the seniors of the area. However, programming and services changed, along with other things in life, and use of the facility decreased greatly.
Realizing what a gift the people of this area have in owning, debt free, such a place with an ideal downtown location, there is much effort being put forth to develop recreation and fitness opportunities desired by all ages 50 or older. This is coupled with the desire to reinstate it as the place to go for education and services for older folks.
All change takes time, but tremendous strides have been made in just a month. The hours of the center have been changed to 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday for regular activities. Hours will be extended as needed to welcome more programming.
It was economically necessary to eliminate staff. Thus, staffing of programs and services is provided by volunteers. Numerous fundraisers are being held, and although emphasis on raising money is not the goal of the board, it is essential at this point and support has been terrific. There have been several donations, large and small, and benefit attendance has been great.
There is an effort to stabilize and equalize usage fees. It will be necessary to have at least one benefit a month to pay the utilities alone. WiFi has been implemented for members and for programs.
Like many groups, paid memberships are the life blood of the budget. Annual memberships are $12 per person or $20 per couple. Benefits include a monthly newsletter and discounts on rentals and events.
The response has been great! New memberships have been received and several groups that rented space previously have returned.
There is much on the horizon. The board is trying to take things slowly so as to provide the greatest possible support and growth to existing programs while responding to the ideas of the public for new programming.
In the planning stages are Sunday “jam sessions” for musicians and appreciative listeners and dancers, bike clubs, pool tournaments, craft classes and fitness programs. There are requests for theatrical performances, music events, travelogues, art classes… all are possible!
Volunteers like Mark Luke and Blaine Gulbranson just seem to appear and bathrooms get painted, fixtures renovated and pipes polished! The woodworking room will hopefully be restored and equipped.
The American flag will again fly proudly as soon as the snow enables the troops to determine if there is a spotlight and if the ropes work.
Extraordinary have been the efforts to improve the physical aspects of the center.