Le Mars Senior Center is hub of activity
LE MARS — Senior citizens in the area don’t have to look far for a place to gather, enjoy the company of friends, and participate in activities.
The Le Mars Senior Center offers this and more.
Located at 40 1/2 Central Ave. S.E., behind city hall, the Le Mars Senior Center will host a winter open house from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19. Entrance to the center is from the parking lot at the rear of Le Mars City Hall.
“We’re showing everything that we have going on at the senior sometime during that day,” said center volunteer Betty Dutcher.
The senior center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Fridays and also serves as a congregate meal site.
The center is also open at 6:30 p.m., on Thursdays for line dancing.
Membership at senior center is $10 a year, and allows members to participate in all activities offered.
“The only extra cost is if we have a craft item that we do, there is a cost for the materials,” Dutcher said.
One must be 50 years old or older to join the senior center.
“If not, you can pay $2 for each time to want to join in an activity,” Dutcher said.
Those wishing to take part in the congregate meal site option must fill out paperwork, she said. The cost to eat is $5 for the meal.
Dutcher said the activities to be showcased at the open house include general exercise from 9:30-10:15 a.m.; Rummikub at 10:15 a.m.; and corn hole and golf at 10:30 a.m.
The meal site lunch is served from 11:30 to noon.
Cards, including euchre, pinochle, pitch and sticks, is played from 1 to 4 p.m.; with a Make a Snowflake craft from 4-5 p.m. for a $1 charge.
There will be a scrapbooking talk and display by Jeanna Morgan a 5 p.m.
A music jam and line dancing will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., to conclude the day’s activities.
Dutcher hopes the open house will bring in more participants and boost membership.
“So far this year we have 60 members. Some are renewals and some are new members,” she said. “Last year we had 163 members. I’m shooting for 200 members this year.”
One only has to look to the center’s mission statement to see what it means to the community: “To reinvent and enrich the lives of maturing individuals within the community, by providing diverse programs of enjoyment with activities that support health, well-being and socialization.”
Dutcher said people join for the socialization and to be with other people.
“They want to be able to talk to people and not be home alone,” she said.
While there are couples that are members, many of the members are singles.
“They say they like just to be here and have the company of other people and be able to do something. They can enjoy whatever they like to do and be here to visit with people,” Dutcher said.
Some just come for coffee.
“We have coffee on every morning, if you just want to come in and have a cup of coffee, you’re welcome to come,” she said.
“We have snowbirds who are gone right now, some of them will be back the first part of March, some don’t come back until the end of April, but they still join the senior center and participate when they’re here,” Dutcher said.
Gary Schroeder serves as the Le Mars Senior Center board’s president. Vice President is Pigeon Heuertz and secretary is Jan Mishler. Treasurer is Chuck Garvin and Nadine Binneboese serves as an at-large member.
Dutcher is the center’s dedicated volunteer and is at the center every day.
“I’m just here to keep the place open,” she said.
As it did for many things, the COVID period kept the center closed.
“I kept asking the board about getting it open again, and we weren’t moving forward, so I did an open house last year and had 32 people come and we were able to get it open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day,” Dutcher said. “That was my purpose, to get it open and keeping it open. I think It’s important to have set hours, especially as we get to be our age and we forget what day it is sometimes.”
Dutcher said card playing is a big favorite with members.
“It seems like the exercise group in the morning is another favorite. They really enjoy the exercising,” she said.
Another success is their monthly jam session on the second Sunday of the month with members of the Singer family, Terry Durr and Nancy Rodgers. It also includes a potluck meal.
“People like the music and we have really good attendance, and have increased our membership with it. We have people from Nebraska that have joined the senior center here because of the jam,” she said. “We encourage anyone who wants to participate to come. We don’t want to leave anybody out. Come and sing.”
There’s also an afternoon pinochle marathon the last Sunday of the month.
For those who like puzzles, there is always a puzzle available to work on.
The space is provided by the city of Le Mars and has a kitchen available for use. The center is also available to rent when not in use.
“There’s always a puzzle in progress, too. If interested in putting a puzzle together, come and join us,” Dutcher said.
Two groups that meet are the NA group on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the AA group which meets from 7-8 p.m., Wednesdays.
Dutcher added the senior center is an important place in the community.
“It’s important to have a place where people can be doing an activity to keep their brain going and going out and doing things. Once you sit at home and do nothing, it’s not good,” she said.
New ideas are always welcome. For information contact the Le Mars Senior Center at 546-6740 and leave a message.