Seeking seniorsThe Alexandria Senior Center is at a pivotal point. Ann Esterberg, the center’s executive director, said they need new members to join in order for the site to thrive.
By: Amy Chaffins, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria Senior Center is at a pivotal point.
Ann Esterberg, the center’s executive director, said they need new members to join in order for the site to thrive.
“We want [the senior center] to stay alive in 2013. We just don’t get new members. The days of a lot of seniors becoming members of the senior center seem to be gone. The average age of our members is probably 80,” she said.
Senior Center Board President Joyce Martinson added, “I think some baby boomers coming up don’t want to belong to anything. Most of them worked their whole lives and didn’t have time to join things, but now is their chance.”
So how did things get to the point where the senior center may face closing?
Esterberg said there have been funding cuts, but she also wonders if it’s that people just don’t know what’s available at the senior center.
“I think people would be amazed at how much we do offer here,” Esterberg said.
The Alexandria Senior Center offers space for computer and fitness classes, card tournaments, pool games, a library, craft space, meeting space for local organizations and a kitchen and dining area.
Although they are actively seeking new members, Esterberg said, “We also stress that you don’t have to be a member to come here and enjoy our services and facility.”
BECOME A MEMBER
A senior center membership is $12 per year per person or $20 per couple. The only requirement to join is that you must be 55 years or older. Esterberg said, “People think if they join they have to do something, but if you join here you don’t have to do anything.
“I think it’s like that with a lot of organizations, we have certain people come in to do certain things,” she said.
“I would encourage people to walk in to the senior center and see what we do. A lot of people are amazed at our building and they say it’s a nice facility.”
Martinson said after she retired to Alexandria, the senior center helped her stave off loneliness. “Well, I thought it would get me in town at least once a week. I don’t know what I’d do without the senior center because I would be terribly lonesome and wouldn’t have friends outside of my neighbors, but they’re younger than I am, everybody’s younger than I am,” she laughed. “I really feel the senior center has helped me a lot and I think anyone who is lonesome might want to join.”
SEEKING BOARD MEMBERS
The Alexandria Senior Center also needs board members. The annual meeting is set for Thursday, January 17 at 1 p.m. in the center’s meeting room. The requirements of a board member include senior center membership, attending one meeting per month and have a desire to belong to an organization that enriches the lives of area seniors. Board members serve a three-year term.
“Each new board member starts with a clean slate and they learn as they go. They can be as active as they want to,” Esterberg said.
Call the Alexandria Senior Center at (320) 762-2087 to learn more.