2013-03-29 / Front Page

Scarborough seniors stay on the go

Community Services plans wide variety of trips for Senior WOW program
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Not having a place to call its own hasn’t stopped the Scarborough Senior WOW program, a facet of the town’s Community Services department, from offering social and cultural opportunities for seniors from all across Scarborough.

“It does prove to be a challenge, so we do a lot of trips. That’s proved to be a selling point,” said Hallie Hodge, Community Services’ senior program coordinator. “The seniors like to get out, even if it is just for lunch or a day trip.”

During the course of the next two months, the Senior WOW program has organized a series of trips and events for seniors age 55 and older. The program’s latest newsletter highlighting winter and spring programming was released earlier this month.

Bud Hanson, the chairman of the Senior Programs Advisory Board, a town committee aimed at planning, developing and implementing programming for Scarborough seniors, said one of the highlights of the winter/spring offerings is a day trip to Boston Monday, April 8.

The Community Services bus will drop off the seniors at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, from where the group is free to explore Boston on their own.

“It is a great place to go,” Hanson said. “There is a lot of history there.”

Boston is one of several trips planned for seniors this spring.

Trips are also planned to the Maine Historical Society in Portland Monday, April 15; a performance of the Bowdoin Chamber Orchestra in Brunswick Saturday, April 20; and the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland Monday, May 6.

Earlier this month the program organized trips to the Portland Flower Show in Portland, the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln, N.H., and Jillson’s Farm and Sugarhouse in Sabattus.

“(We offer) anything from educational trips to leisure trips,” Hodge said. “It is open to do what they want to do.”

Many of the suggestions for programming and events, she said, comes from a survey in the 55+ Programs newsletter, which is mailed directly to seniors throughout Scarborough.

“What we are trying to do is reach more people by offering different activities,” Hanson said.

The group also regularly attends select Thursday evening theater performances at Portland Players and Lyric Music Theater, community theater organizations both located in South Portland. Hodge said trips to summer theater venues such as the Arundel Barn Playhouse and the Ogunquit Playhouse have also been offered.

The program has also teamed up with Scarborough Middle School to offer senior breakfasts at the school, located on Quentin Drive. The breakfasts are offered Thursday, May 23 and Thursday, June 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Aside from the special breakfasts, a number of special luncheons are also available for seniors.

Next month the group will be going to Ocean Gardens in Gorham and in May they will dine at Chickadee in Lewiston. On Monday, April 22, a mystery lunch is planned at a restaurant that won’t be disclosed until the day of the trip.

Every Wednesday, the group gets together at Camp Ketcha on the corner of Black Point Road and Spurwink Road for a weekly lunch and lecture or performance event.

On Fridays, seniors come together from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Camp Ketcha for weekly bingo games. Hanson said like seniors all across the country, Scarborough seniors have embraced the weekly bingo event.

“Bingo is probably one of the most popular ongoing games in this country,” Hanson said.

Aside from the weekly lunch and bingo events, Campe Ketcha will host the senior program’s kick-off to summer Wednesday, May 29. The event, which takes places from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will feature a barbecue lunch and entertainment by Stevie Cee and the Mrs., a Maine-based country music act.

Many of the events offered by the Senior WOW program are seasonal, Hodge said. This past winter, the program offered trips to see the holiday lights and the Magic of Christmas in Portland and the Festival of Trees in Saco. In the summer months, seniors meet for ferry rides in Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, as well as for Portland Sea Dogs games or shopping trips. Fall events include apple picking and other seasonal activities.

Orchestrating such a schedule of events was made easier late last year when Community Services purchased a 28-seat bus to supplement the 14-seat bus the department already owned. This, Hodge said, has helped transporting seniors to the different programs and events throughout the year.

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