Seniors look for after-hours programming in Centre County

Seniors in Bellefonte have requested evening social events such as card clubs.
Seniors in Bellefonte have requested evening social events such as card clubs. CDT file photo

From morning to late afternoon, the trip to the local senior center is part of many senior citizens’ daily routines.

Centers, which often operate from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., provide services to the seniors — games, classes, usually a meal — before wrapping for the day and sending their patrons on their way. But some seniors and their centers want to break from the routine and go beyond the normal time frame.

Day trips and evening events are becoming more common in the county, especially for centers that may now have extra funding and new locations, giving them the opportunity to test some new programs.

At the Bellefonte Senior Resource Center, a move down the street — to 203 N. Spring St. — has brought numerous new after-hours activity opportunities.

Thanks to grant funding, center manager Vickey Confer said, they have been able to purchase about $13,000 in new equipment for the center and various outdoor activities the seniors are offered. These include evening kayaking at Bald Eagle and Black Moshannon state parks, hiking through Mount Nittany and fishing trips as well.

The center was also able to purchase a large projection television, allowing them to host a movie night once or twice a month, she said. The center has its license to screen the films, and seniors will be encouraged to bring their grandchildren to enjoy an evening movie.

Seniors have also requested evening social events, she said, such as a card club or social mixer.

“These are the things that we’re exploring having at the center,” Confer said. “And if there’s an interest in people coming, we can do it.”

Confer invited area seniors to see the new center during a tentative Oct. 26 open house. During that time, if anyone wants to suggest an activity, they can do so on the sign up sheet. Some new activities that have been suggested include after-hours bridge games or Scrabble tournaments.

At the Centre Region Senior Center, located in the Nittany Mall, the move to a new space is opening up the opportunity for new programs at later hours.

“We’re going to integrate and stay as active as we can in the evening,” center supervisor Cindy Stahlman said. “We’d like to expand and grow to the mall hours.”

A move to an empty store outside of Sears will give the center the room it needs, she said. Seniors have been requesting more late afternoon activities because their mornings are often booked.

“Once we expand, we do want to offer some yoga or Zumba,” she said. “People have been requesting that, but it’s not private enough.”

The center can still offer group art classes that run until 3:30 p.m., she said. Tai chi classes also run in Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Through their partnership with Centre Region Parks and Recreation, they can offer different classes in the early evening as well, such as knitting.

Working with CRPR interns, the center has been able to offer different events in the past, she said, like a Halloween carnival and a murder mystery luncheon. In November, the center is looking to do a fashion show with help from the mall and department stores.

The center does two to three bus trips per year as well, Stahlman said. It’s hoping to do a casino trip in March.