Taneytown Senior Center offers fun, fellowship and education

NEIGHBORS

January 19, 1995|By JUDY REILLY

Being over 60 doesn't mean being over the hill at the Taneytown Senior Center.

The center, at 220 Roberts Mill Road, offers food, fellowship, and recreation and intellectual stimulation to participants who linger over lunch and cards, go on trips and enroll in classes.

It's this last item that's bringing people in these days, according to Kitty Marble, site director.

"We're not focusing on the meal program," she said. "We're offering more opportunities for seniors to participate, and to bring in new folks."

Since the people who come to the Taneytown Senior Center are geographically oriented more toward Frederick or Gettysburg, they don't always want to drive to Westminster for activities or to pursue new interests. The Taneytown center is becoming a hub of activity.

A class in Contemporary Issues, led by retiree Ed MacKenzie, is a big hit. The outgoing and outspoken teacher enlivens a weekday morning by challenging people's notions about what's going on the world.

And possible classes this spring include an Exploration of World Cultures, Music Appreciation of Broadway Show Tunes and World War II music, and Yoga. Prices of classes vary; some registrations are less than $12 for an entire course.

Another current and popular activity is Dolly Gilmore's art class. Ms. Gilmore has been teaching Drawing and Painting, and, most recently, Architectural Drawing. Her students are rendering architectural drawings of their own homes, and with sweet success.

If crafts are your thing, Kitty says that the center will offer two day-long craft classes a month that cost less than $5. These sound like fun -- making paper in the kitchen blender and crafting a basket out of a dime store cookie tin.

The center is also looking for a few good billiards players to form a team. The county's senior centers are planning a billiards league tournament and Taneytown already has a place for the trophy it could bring home. If you're interested, a $5 registration fee includes a T-shirt and banquet.

The biggest misconception about the center, Ms. Marble said, is that it's a residence.

"It's a drop-in center," she says. "Things are happening here."

The Taneytown Senior Citizen Center, a modern, light-filled building, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Information: 751-1656.

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During the spring-like weather we had last weekend, my son, age 9, used his days off by shooting hoops, swinging a bat and playing catch with his dad. Those healthy activities are also promoted by the New Windsor Recreation Council; its nine-member Board of Commissioners works tirelessly to provide athletic activities and promote good sportsmanship to young athletes of all abilities.

If you don't have kids who are on a basketball, baseball or softball team, go and check out some games anyway. At my son's basketball games, it doesn't matter who scores -- everyone cheers. The volunteer coaches truly like kids, and nurture their skills and personal development through sports activities.

Kevin Null, president of the council, has been involved for six years and stays active even though his kids have aged out of the program.

"I enjoy it, and I like working with the kids," he says. "We're up to 140 boys and girls in basketball in grades one through eight, and last year we had more than 300 kids on the baseball and softball teams."

What does it take to run this kind of program?

Money to buy uniforms, pay baseball umpires, maintain playing fields and purchase and maintain equipment for one thing.

The council gets some help from the county, which has helped pay for dirt for the baseball diamonds, and it has also received a donation from the Lehigh Cement Company for basketball uniforms. All other expenses are met through registration fees and sales of items like candy bars and Christmas wreathes.

Although the perennial favorites of basketball, baseball and softball form the backbone of the program other programs could be started.

"If we have enough interest in a sport, and can find someone to coach it, then we'll consider offering it," says Mr. Null.

The New Windsor Recreation Council meets the last Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the New Windsor Middle School; the next meeting is Jan. 30. "We'd certainly love to have more participation," says Kevin.

Information: 635-2916.

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March may seem a long time away for most of us, but for Vickie Mastalerz of Union Bridge, it's just around the corner. Vickie is chairwoman of the Elmer Wolfe Elementary School's Spring Fling, to be held March 25 at the school.

Spring Flings around the county are noted for fun and games, and they provide a welcomed breather after the long winter months. Last year's Elmer Wolfe event raised more than $4,700 to help purchase computers for the classrooms at the school.

The goal, says Vickie, is to put a new Macintosh computer in each classroom. The county has no funds for this, so parents and community members are raising money for the educational cause. Each computer costs $2,350, and there are 18 classes at Elmer Wolfe.

In addition to the fund-raisers at the fling -- games, crafts and a book swap for the kids, an auction for adults, and food, plants and entertainment for all -- Vickie is soliciting corporate sponsors.

The event is open to students, parents, community and alumni. Information: 775-7638.

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