The Ecole Steffie Woima School choir performing for seniors in the Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre on Dec. 19, 2018. File Photo.

Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre membership growing “tremendously”

The centre has activities planned every day of the week including games, exercise and meals

The Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre is looking forward to another year packed with programming.

At the end of the 2018 fiscal year, the centre saw 20,400 individuals participate in its programs to some capacity and with 400 members thus far, the Seniors Centre is on track to hit those numbers again.

Don MacKenzie, president of the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association, says the 2018 numbers are “phenomenal” compared to years in the past and membership as grown “tremendously” since moving to the NexSource Centre three years ago.

“We are very, very busy [and] very, very active and it’s a pleasure to be here and it’s great to see the people smiling and enjoying the building,” said MacKenzie.

There is programming running every day of the week with the pay-as-you-go events being kept to an affordable price.

The centre offers Wii bowling on Monday mornings, Scrabble, men’s yoga, exercise classes and stretching classes, as well as bridge, crib and bingo regularly.

There is also a weekly lunch on Wednesdays for only $8, as well as some dinners. Sometimes the meals include live music.

The Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre has occasional movies, art classes and paint programs, alongside a breakfast once a month.

A few times a year the centre will bring in the residents of Bethany and the Lodge to have tea together, and the Grade 1 and 2’s from around town stop by for snacks and games once in a while.

MacKenzie says no new programming will be added this year as they are “kind of sticking with what is good,” but they are open to change as their membership grows and new interests are discovered.

A yearly membership to the centre is $15 and gives you the ability to vote at meetings and attend special functions.

The special functions include a meals for the big holidays, including Easter and Christmas.

“Unfortunately we had to limit the numbers because we were getting too big,” explained MacKenzie, adding the Wednesday lunches and drop in events are open to non-members.

“It’s indicative that we are providing something that people want because they keep coming and the numbers keep growing,” said MacKenzie. “They want to come and they want to keep coming back, so it’s working.”

He explained the programming is important because it gets the seniors out of the house, gets them socializing, is good for their mental state, their physical state and keeps them out of the “dark corners.”

“Our vision statement is to provide healthy, nutritional and physical activities ti keep people going,” MacKenzie explained. “Everybody knows that if you can stay healthy and active and stay in your own home you’re gonna live longer and happier than if you’re not.”

MacKenzie added the centre gives seniors friends

“We’re not cliquey, that’s one of the things we make sure we’re not, everyone is welcome.”

Membership for the Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre costs $15 and is restricted to people age 55 and above.

“That’s the total criteria,” Mackenzie said. “Just tell me you’re 55 and I won’t even ask for your driver’s license to prove it.”

The centre, says MacKenzie, could not exist without its volunteers.

With only one paid position, majority of the work lands on the volunteers.

He added the centre has an “absolute phenomenal” relationship with the Town and the NexSource Centre staff which also helps with the centre’s success.

“I mean the things that they do for us… they’re there 100 per cent, they’re so great,” said MacKenzie.

June 3-7 is Seniors Week and the Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre is celebrating with a week full of events.

The celebrations will kick off Monday with the general meeting and desserts, followed by a roast beef super and entertainment by Tap 9 on Tuesday.

A downsizing and moving forward presentation will run May 5 before a soap making workshop.

On Thursday, there will be a bus trip to Red Deer and a $5 BBQ sponsored by Sobeys. Entertainment from Visions Country Gospel will close out the BBQ before bingo that evening.

Seniors Week ends with a pairs bridge tournament where card players will gather from Sylvan Lake and area.

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