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Active Adults Find Fun at Community Center

George Coniglio is the director of the senior citizen department at the Theodore D. Young Community Center.

When people visit the Theodore D. Young Community Center's Senior Citizen Program, they are often surprised that it is not only their parents who can attend the variety of programs and activities that are offered. The programs are offered to all over the age of 50.

Back in 1998, I wanted to expand our audience to include those not traditionally considered seniors, but those who were beyond middle-age. Like most of us, I thought of being "over 50" as a long way off, and being a "senior" even farther away.

Well, now it's 2011 and I qualified for the "50+ Dance Social" four years ago. But now I have a different prospective – perhaps more as a future participant than as a "program planner." I've come to embrace the upcoming stages of life. When you think about it, we are children for 12 years, teenagers for seven years, and (if we are blessed to live a healthy and long life) we are considered "senior citizens" for the majority of our lives.

Back in September 1994, when I first started working at the Community Center, there were many aspects of the senior program that went beyond a traditional senior center. We have a fleet of department buses used not only to transport seniors Monday through Friday, but also for taking over 150 trips each year. Our drivers are excellent. No accidents; just two fender benders in 17 years.

Started in 1972 were "senior citizen escorts." The escorts provide an extra measure of service for participants, like helping them get on and off buses, complete activity forms, calling those who haven't attended programs in a while, serving meals "restaurant style" – and generally increasing the enjoyment of activities. We have a terrific team of Dolores Bennet, Lisa Sharp, Rob Ricketts, Barbara McCrae and Justina Porter.

Our town administration has greatly supported its older adults and seniors. For only $6 per year, residents aged 62 years and older can get a one-year membership. Lunch is served weekdays at 11:30 a.m., and is $3 for those over 60, and $6 for those under 60. Trips are included in the membership. There are many activities to participate in including yoga, bridge play, drawing, painting, aquatic classes, monthly special events, live music every Friday, and BBQs in the summer.

Several years ago, an 87-year-old man asked why I was giving him a flyer, listing programs that started the following month. I said that it would give him time to plan which he would like to attend. He responded: "George, at my age, I don't buy green bananas!" The message? Live each day to the fullest!

Interested in joining? Call George Coniglio at 914-989-3622 or email to receive a Coniglio-guided building tour and plus a warm welcome by staff and fellow participants.

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