You’ve probably walked or driven by 220 Jefferson Street South, the building nestled between The Uptown and Commercial Apartments, hundreds of times, and if you are like me, you didn’t notice or give it a second thought. One day while shaking things up, I took a different route back to the office from the post office. Instead of taking my usual boring alley route, I returned via Jefferson Street, admired the murals and window shopped.
Then I saw it, the yellow Wadena Senior Center sign displayed above the door. Their display window had a bunch of different crafts neatly displayed. There were quilts, potholders, fancy dish towels, baby blankets, wooden objects and clothing made for American Girl dolls. I got back to the office and asked if anyone knew about the Senior Center and no one really did. We knew they offer a casino bus trip once a month and that is about it. I asked our manager, Cordell, if we could do something to help promote them and get the word out there on everything that they offer.
I put together the Community Calendar section of the paper. Every month I’d get the center’s monthly calendar of events to incorporate into the master calendar that gets published weekly. For the first two months I’d mindlessly type their activities under the appropriate date and move along with my day.
It’s no secret that Wadena is an aging community and it’s something we need to focus on. We set up a meeting with Helen and Archie Coson to fill us in and to see how we could partner up. During that meeting we talked about all the activities and services that they offer, learned the center was opened in June of 1969 and decided to start a monthly feature in the paper called “Senior Happenings” in addition to putting their events in the Community Calendar.
The Wadena Senior Center literally offers something for everyone. They play card games (31, Smear, Farkel, Bridge and Pinochle just to name a few), have a pool league (they have two new pool tables in the basement that they bought with money from a grant), a monthly birthday party, blood pressure checks, income tax help, exercise class, a wood carving group, special speakers (estate planning, medical topics, and insurance) and so much more.
To me, the most important service that they offer is the opportunity to socialize and an overall sense of community. Anyone over the age of 50 can join, however, you cannot vote until you are 55 years old. Helen figures there are about 80 members right now and said that there is always room for more. Membership dues are $25 per year. That money is used for utilities, maintenance, supplies and general expenses.
The building is owned by the City of Wadena but The Wadena Senior Center is responsible for upkeep. They sometimes get grants from various sources but due to budget cuts, things are tight or the money is allocated to different groups or programs. In addition to membership dues and grants, they raise money from their monthly casino trips, the rent from the two upstairs apartments, the sale of crafts and food, and their annual pancake brunch. The pancake brunch is this Saturday from 8 a.m.to 12 noon. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee and milk. Adults are $5, kids 6 to 12 are $3 and kids 5 and younger are free. The Modern Woodmen of America Chapter 3253 are going to match funds. Stop on down and have breakfast! You can see what they are all about and help keep this important group going.