Bartow County Senior Center to celebrate 20th anniversary Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Apr 13, 2011 | 3594 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hope Hancock, left, is shown how to make a purse by beginners crochet instructor Beverly Smith at the Bartow County Senior Center Zena Drive location. 
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Hope Hancock, left, is shown how to make a purse by beginners crochet instructor Beverly Smith at the Bartow County Senior Center Zena Drive location. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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As the former director of Bartow County Senior Services, Dian Green is looking forward to re-connecting with old friends at the Senior Center's 20th anniversary reception on Friday.

"It's awesome," she said. "It's exciting. It's fun. It's walking down memory lane. I know we shouldn't live in the past, we should move on. But a walk down memory lane from time to time is an awesome experience. I think it will be great fun for those of us that are still around and for the new folks."

Green, who joined the organization in 1991 as the Beavers Drive branch's program coordinator, said it was rewarding to watch its membership grow to nearly 2000 in 2005.

"When we opened our doors April 14, 1991, the community looked at us with great curiosity of 'what in the world is this building?' We said, 'This is a place where senior members can come and enjoy senior adult recreation and their retirement time -- their free time when they had it," Green said. "It was going to be a place of respectable hugs and caring and a home away from home. And whatever they wanted to do with their leisure time, we were going to try to provide that.

"And from there, people started to come and find out that it was a good place. It was a warm and friendly, caring place and a place for information as well as activities. Then we just grew and created programs within the center, and seniors wanted to do a lot of traveling so we did that. And then we wanted to give back to the community, so the seniors did that. They formed a club, Bartow County Seniors, and they would go out and help with the tutoring in the schools [and] they rang the bell for The Salvation Army. You name it, they would try it."

On Friday from 2 to 4 p.m., present and former staff members and the senior community are invited to attend the reception at the Beavers Drive site. Along with refreshments, Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown will present a proclamation declaring April 15, 2011, Bartow County Senior Center Day and representatives from the facilities' programs -- ranging from canasta to dance groups -- will provide an overview of their offerings.

"[This milestone] means dedication by the community and the county for continuing to after 20 years have good programs and keep our facilities open for all of our seniors to come and just enjoy things, enjoy the festivities we have ... Some of the seniors that I've talked to say they don't want to come up there and just sit," said Andy Findley, director of Bartow County Senior Services. "But no one just comes up here and sits. They're doing something all of the time, whether it's dancing or it's the card games or pool, [crocheting] and [activities] like that."

Some of the Senior Center's most popular programming are bingo, the line dancing group Bartow County Bootscooters, canasta, bridge and Gala Fridays, a monthly offering where speakers from the community discuss senior-related issues. Although day trips continue to be a favored activity among members, one of Findley's goals is to increase the attendance levels at programs held at the two Cartersville senior facilities: 33 Beavers Drive and 102 Zena Drive.

"We've tried to incorporate more parties here or dance groups here like tomorrow we're having [an event to] beautify the picnic shelter out back," Findley said Tuesday. "We're just trying to do more things to get people here -- not just come here and let's go on trips. And some of our trips [we take] here in Bartow County to keep as much business local.

"[Some of our goals are] we still want to continue to increase our participation and our seniors coming out to each center. And we just want to continue to strive to make the Senior Center a welcome place for all seniors."

Along with providing a source of recreation for senior adults, the center often becomes an extended family for its members. For Joyce Mays, program coordinator for Bartow County Senior Services, it is inspirational to watch seniors grow and form new friendships.

"[By participating in] the programs that we have here at the Senior Center, I have seen so many different changes in the seniors," Mays said. "Some of them [say] 'I don't know what I would do without the Senior Center because other than that I would be sitting at home probably doing nothing. But now I have something to actually wake up to, just like if I were going to work. I've got something to look forward to through the week. I've got a calendar of events that I can attend as often as I want to,' and they just love it.

"And once they get here it's like, 'Oh, thank you so much, I needed this. We, as seniors, need this to make sure that our quality of life and thinking is just wonderful.' So [that] is inspiring within itself."

For more information about the Bartow County Senior Center, call 770-387-5134 or 770-387-5166 or visit www.bartowga.org. There is no charge to join, but members must be 50 or older and reside in Bartow County.