Who says it’s downhill once people become senior citizens? Not so, at least not for members of the Woodland Park Senior Organization, a gathering spot for exercise classes, field trips, games and luncheons.

Over the years, the organization has had a variety of activity directors, each dedicated to enhancing the lives of people in the later years. And with the resignation of the most recent director, a volunteer stepped in, Rose Banzhaf, the vice president. As a result, the board has more money to provide more experiences, field trips, for instance.

This summer’s expeditions include a Rocky Mountain Vibes baseball game in Colorado Springs, a walk and boat ride at the Arkansas River Walk in Pueblo, and a visit to the planetarium at the Air Force Academy. Teller Senior Coalition provides transportation.

“People want to get out and do these things,” Banzhaf said.

There’s even help for the aches and pains associated with aging, with classes sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation. “Balance and strength training are considered anti-depressants,” said Bev Jones, who leads the group.

Along with the strength training, the organization hosts exercise classes four days a week.

Then there’s the Dominos gang. “The fellas come in every morning to sit at the ‘liars’ table,’” she said. “They are usually the first ones here in the morning.”

For those who do crafts, often alone at home, the center remains open on Tuesday afternoons to enhance the social aspect of crafting.

The senior center thrives on volunteerism and the attendant reciprocal benefits. In addition to Banzhaf’s services, Debra Greenwood hosts a series of art classes, including watercolors, acrylics and clay. For seniors who want a little more action, Bonnie and Lee Timmons started line-dancing classes June 11.

“Bonnie said she and her husband want to be part of the community,” Banzhaf said.

Banzhaf, too, is reaping the rewards of serving. “I’m part of the community and I care,” she said. “There are some people who come in and just sit and smile. They need a place to go. They can’t just sit at home because they need social interaction, need a reason to get up in the morning.”

In a county where one-third of the population is 55 or older, the senior center is a resource. “That means there are a whole lot of people who aren’t coming in here who should,” she said. “I don’t know why they’re not but if it has anything to do with financial need, we’ll scholarship them in.”

Along with the city’s contribution of the building, the center receives in-kind donations of baked goods from Joanie’s Deli and supplies for the pancake breakfasts from the Smokehouse.

“We’re trying to reach out to the community so that people are aware that there are things going on here, that we are an active and viable organization keeping our seniors active and moving,” Banzhaf said.

Next up is the annual High Tea co-hosted by the senor organization and Gold Camp Victorian Society. The tea, which features “The Harvey Girls” and music by the Altitooters, is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for members of two organizations and $15 for non-members. The tea is at the senior center at 321 N. Pine St. in Woodland Park. For information, call 686-3877.

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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