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Big night in Centerville

Membership drive, evening events target working seniors

January 20, 2011
By MIKE HUGHES, Prime Times

CENTERVILLE - Tonight is a big night for the Centerville Senior Center.

In the midst of its 2011 membership drive, the center is hosting its monthly evening of activities, starting at 6 p.m.

Centerville director Donna Steadman explained the center conducts a drive every January, but this year is different.

Evening events are planned once a month, aimed at attracting new members from the growing numbers of baby boomers who are entering their golden years.

The problem is, most of those early boomers are still working and considering the majority of senior center activities take place during the day, it's hard for the working seniors to feel part of the center.

''Once a month we try to schedule these,'' Steadman said.

''We're trying to bring in some of the 60-year-old, working people.

''These days, there are a lot of people still working well into their 60s.

''We initially started this to bring in new membership from the working folks.''

Steadman said there is usually music scheduled for the evening events but none was schedule for this month, likely because of the weather.

But the members favorite at the center, chair volleyball, will kick off tonight's festivities in the gymnasium.

A spaghetti dinner will follow the chair volleyball and afterward, the members will split up and play any number of games, including euchre, 42 domino and 31, a dice game.

The New Year's resolution for Steadman is to build a bigger and better senior center. And while the $2 membership fee may not seem like much, it will go a long way to helping offset the costs of activities and running the center.

''When we opened up, we had no money, other than what Belmont Senior Services furnishes us with,'' Steadman said.

''They provide a lot, but we do need a bit of side money to conduct some of the activities we'd like to do.

''Most people, even if they don't come on a weekly or monthly basis, still want to have a membership.''

Steadman isn't just looking for new members. She's also seeking members with a diverse range of interests.

Centerville seems to be the home of physical activities like chair volleyball, corn hole and hillbilly ball (hillbilly golf), but Steadman knows there are likely seniors in her area who would enjoy other activities.

''We are trying to find new activities and we want our members to give us input and let us know what they want,'' she said. ''We want to be able to offer everything.

''The majority of members here, they don't care too much about crafts. There are other centers that are nothing but crafts.

''I'd like to be able to pull in some of those folks because we might have someone sitting at home that would love to come in and do some crafts.''

On Jan. 24, Andy Tinkham from the Ohio Consumer Counsel will be at the center to speak on weatherization and other tips to help reduce heating bills.

To Steadman, speakers like Tinkham are invaluable because not everyone knows about the programs that are available to seniors that are able to assist.

''We try to have him every other month or so to speak on weatherization, how to save on your electric and gas bills, etc.,'' Steadman said. ''We try to advertise our speaker events so that the people that need the information can come and find out.''

For more information, contact Steadman at (740) 686-9832.

Hughes may be reached at



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