September is National Senior Center Month, an observance first celebrated in 2007 when the National Institute of Senior Centers designated the month to give local centers an opportunity to showcase their programs and promote a positive image of aging.
Bryan County is fortunate to have two senior centers to serve the community’s older residents – the Pembroke Senior Center at 24 W. Bacon St. and the Richmond Hill Senior Center at 9930 Ford Ave.
The facilities are open to senior citizens, ages 60 and older, who enjoy outings, picnics, arts and crafts, bingo and fellowship. They participate in bake sales, quilt raffles and local festivals and events, where they can sell their homemade goods.
To commemorate the September observance, Bryan County Senior Programs Director Sally Shuman is planning a Bryan County Senior Centers Carnival Spectacular from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.
Patrons from both the Pembroke and Richmond Hill senior centers will gather for a day of fun that will include games, music, food and socializing.
While Shuman welcomes the special month of recognition and is confident her seniors will enjoy the carnival event, she is quick to stress that the county is committed all year long to helping seniors live longer, healthier lives. “We engage them in their communities and emphasize the importance of giving back to others to maintain physical and emotional health,” she said.
“Our Senior Centers provide opportunities to enrich the lives of older citizens by promoting and engaging in activity, wellness, and social inclusion, with things such as board and card games, tournaments, painting, crafting and sewing. Our newest recreational program is the Trike Program, where the members can go to the park and ride the low-impact adult trikes around the park. We have medical, wellness and safety instructions from different specialty fields within our communities and ensure that our members maintain their annual health assessments and appointments,” Shuman said.
“Our social aspect goal is to have a place and events for seniors, so they do not have to be alone. We encourage them to socialize by bringing the two centers together once a month for a Birthday Bash, taking group day trips together, and providing them with schedules of community events that they can attend.”
In addition, both senior centers offer weekly exercise and fitness programs, giving their visitors access to nearby recreational programs and parks, where they walk and play tennis. Technology options are available to seniors who are interested in becoming computer savvy or for casual web browsing.
According to Shuman, community members of all ages benefit from the contributions and experiences of older adults. Thanks to the school system, Bryan County Senior Centers have begun sharing events with younger generations, regularly attending Head Start holiday functions, and hosting the JROTC and BETA Clubs for center activities. “This has led to valuable friendships and learning experiences,” Shuman said.
“We urge public officials, businesses, neighborhood organizations, volunteers, and all people of Bryan County to take time this month to recognize the senior citizens of Bryan County as powerful and vital contributors to our community,” Shuman said. “We’re proud to have these top-notch centers to serve our visitors and to demonstrate our gratitude for them.”
For more information on the Bryan County Senior Centers and programs, please visit bryancountyga.org.