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Oconomowoc Area Senior Center celebrates 25 years

Center approaches 500th member

Jan. 2, 2013

City of Oconomowoc - It's only fitting that the Oconomowoc Area Senior Center (OASC) should be showing some signs of silver, as the organization readies to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Executive Director Mary Sheridan said in a recent interview they are anticipating the center's 500th member.

"We're at 498 members and hoping to get two more by the end of the day. We're getting real excited about it," she said last week. The Center was formally incorporated in 1988 and will be recognizing this milestone by various activities throughout the entire year.

"We're getting a committee together to plan for our silver anniversary," Sheridan said.

The history of the Senior Center began in February 1986 when then-Mayor Florence Whalen appointed an "Older Adults Priorities Committee" to study programming needs and priorities for senior citizens in the Oconomowoc area.

According to the OASC newsletter, at the time the federal government was discussing programming cuts that directly, or indirectly, affected senior citizens.

It was expected that local municipalities would need to compensate for some of the cuts.

"It was an era of austerity," Whalen said.

A committee was established to assess and prioritize the needs of seniors.

The committee's unanimous choice for the number-one priority was a senior center.

Tim Thiele, executive director of Lutheran Homes of Oconomowoc, visited with Whalen and explained what they were doing at Shorehaven with a construction project.

"We worked out a deal and for a number of years, the senior center was out there," before moving in the former St. Jerome School site it currently occupies.

Whalen said it came out of a desire for seniors wanting a place to play cards "where they did not have to leave when the ballet kids came in," she said in reference to the old rec center.

"But it grew into an understanding of multiple needs of senior citizens and offers all sorts of programs.

"I never expected there would be that many members or how much it would mean to so many people," Whalen said.

"I've been impressed with how it's grown into a multipurpose place for seniors to learn and meet each other," she added.

Sheridan said the center offers more than two dozen programs for people ages 50 and up.

"In January we are adding four more (new programs). It's getting to be a real challenge to schedule them all," she said.

Sheridan said younger seniors should give the center a chance.

"People have to get over the stigma of it being for 'old people'. What makes people old is sitting at home and hibernating," she said.

She countered that participation at the senior center provides opportunity to meets your physical, social and mental needs through their programming.

"We don't sit around and we're not old people," Sheridan emphasized.

Whalen agreed.

"It's really an important element in the city," she said.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Spring Seedling Sale & Greenhouse Open House: 10 a.m. May 23, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. A variety of organic veggie and herb seedlings to plant in your home or community garden this spring will be for sale. All plant sale profits will benefit the Giving Garden initiative.

Memorial Honor Celebration: 8 a.m. May 23, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson, 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive, Oconomowoc. Daylong event begins with reveille and breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by color guard and the national anthem. The event also includes military and veterans organizations, interactive displays and vehicles, food and beverages and entertainment. Evening showing of “Honor Flight: One Last Mission.” on a big, outdoor screen.

"Small Space Container Gardens" Seminar: 11 a.m. May 23, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, W1795 Fox Road, Ixonia. Free educational seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers. Melinda, who will also be available to answer gardening questions. Enter to win a $500 Ebert’s shopping spree with Melinda.

Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. May 23, Lapham Peak State Park, W329 N846, Delafield. Children and their families will hike with a guide and a representative of the Delafield Library will share books, songs and a craft to enhance the experience. Meet at the Lapham Peak Tower. State park sticker is required.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

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