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Island Seniors — 820 members strong

By Staff | Dec 20, 2017

Lifetime Members (back row) Yolande Welch, Will Schlosser, Jack Kohn, Nancy Venuto, Marguerite Arnold, Goldie Cohen and Michel Fliegler. (front row) Barbara Babcock, Anne Bresslau and Jean Heuer. All of these members are 90 years or older. MEGHAN MCCOY

Members of Island Seniors gathered at the Sanibel Recreation Center Friday, Dec. 8, for their annual meeting, complete with recognizing Lifetime Members, lunch and entertainment by the Sanibel Community Chorus.

Center 4 Life Program Manager Trish Phillips said as of Dec. 1 the membership is 820 strong.

This year the fitness classes at the Center 4 Life had a large showing with 7,236 members attending Happy Hour, Essential Total Fitness and Power Hour. The yoga classes, gentle and chair yoga, had 3,823 in attendance. From December 2016 through November 2017, the 15 fitness classes held a week attracted 11,059 participants.

“You guys are active,” Phillips said.

The kayaking program also increased when it expanded to two days with 479 participants.

Other activities also had a strong attendance with 1,297 members keeping their brains active with bridge, 546 members playing Mahjongg and 191 participating in Hand & Foot. New this year, Rummikub attracted 64 members and hearts attracted 183.

Page Turners, a monthly book discussion, which now meets year round, grew to 138 participants.

Multiple trips were also taken to such places as Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Florida Repertory Theater, the Edison Winter Estates, Morikami Museum in Del Ray Beach and overnight trips to Mt. Dora in St. Augustine and Charleston, South Carolina.

The seniors also kept active while hosting the annual Justine Smith Charity Bridge Tournament, which raises money for P.A.W.S., the Arts & Crafts Fair and Trash & Treasures. The Health Fair is also held at the Center 4 Life building.

Phillips asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they have volunteered for the various activities, or are, or were, board members who provide their time.

“Most everybody in this room has helped out at some point or another and that is what keeps this Island Seniors, as always going strong. I really want to say thank you because you are the lifeline for the staff and the center. Thank you very much,” Phillips said.

Other activities include Hot Dog Wednesdays, Sunset Socials and Island Seniors Got Talent.

Phillips concluded her manager’s report by saying, “We want to be the best part of your day and your first choice for health, fitness and fun.”

Island Seniors Vice President Shirley Schultz recognized the Lifetime Members at the meeting by giving them a personalized coffee mug with the logo of Island Seniors.

“A lifetime member is an Island Senior’s person who has reached the wonderful age of 90. A lifetime membership means it is free to Island Seniors. Our lifetime members continue to inspire us with their level of engagement and passion of living well,” Schultz said.

Two outgoing board members who were not in attendance, Sally Enis and Tommy Williams, were provided with gift cards for their service. With those members leaving the board, Mary Ann Gilhooley, Secretary Katie Reid and Ann Moeder accepted their invitation to fill vacant seats.

Other board members include Presi-dent Lynn Quigley, Shultz, Treasurer Bud Reinhold, Tom Ledgerwood, Anita Force Marshall and Judie Sharbaugh.

The meeting also included an update about the Center 4 Life building.

“Last year at this time we were part of the Civic Core project and we were looking at two referendums coming up for vote in March. In January, City Council decided to do away with the Civic Core. BIG ARTS is now looking at how they can remodel their buildings. The Center 4 Life is working with the city to see what we can do,” Reid said.

In January, she shared that a request by the mayor was made to have a new needs assessment study done to replace the first one done in 2010.

“The one that was done in April was a little more down to earth,” she said, adding that the two things they needed were a larger multi-purpose room and better parking.

The assessment came back with five options: to do nothing, remodel the current building, move CHR out and remodel the current building, build a new building in the same place and build offsite.

“It was determined that the two things they would look at was building currently onsite where we are now and build offsite if they could purchase land,” Reid said.

A meeting was schedule for Sept. 19 to discuss those two options, which was postponed because of Hurricane Irma.

“Hopefully sometime in January we will finally get our meeting,” Reid said. “This has been going on for seven years now. I would really like to see something come to conclusion. We just got to be patient.”

Reid also spoke about Hurricane Irma.

“I want you to know that City Council, the city manager and her staff, the Recreation Center and the Center 4 Life were our God send,” she said. “The City Council gave the blessing to the city manager to keep us updated. We knew what was going on before, during and after the storm and we knew what was going on with debris pickup.”

The Center 4 Life staff worked 12 hour days, Reid said so they could charge their batteries, get cool and receive free water.

“We had socialization. It was absolutely marvelous,” she said.