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Seniors enjoy summer picnic in Roberts

Senior Center picnic

St. Croix County's senior centers proved that they know how to have a good time on Friday afternoon.

The second annual Picnic Lunch in celebration of the senior centers drew about 175 guests, enough to fill the Roberts Park building.

Among the scheduled activities were a few welcoming speeches, musical entertainment by Bruce Libby on accordion, sing-a-longs, door prizes and a meal.

All food for the meal, which included hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, coleslaw, chips and ice cream sundaes, was donated by local businesses. The Doll House in Hammond prepared the meal.

Transportation was provided to those in need, added Aging and Disability Resource Center Manager Brad Beckman.

Monetary donations were taken at the door for those who wanted to give. All money given will be funneled back to the nutrition program of the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

Senior Centers are located in Baldwin, Deer Park, Woodville, Roberts, River Falls, Hammond, New Richmond, Glenwood City, Hudson and Somerset. Seniors aren't obligated to go to the center in their community.

"You go where you fit," said Tracy Davis, community services coordinator.

The county's senior centers are run under the non-profit Senior Center Board Coalition of St. Croix County. The board is composed of one representative from each of the 10 centers.

Anyone age 60 or older can be involved in the activities. Although participants used to be more of the older seniors, younger seniors have started attending in larger numbers, Davis said. The Baby Boomer generation will flood the centers around 2015.

"It's really starting to grow," she said. At least 300 people or more visit the county's senior centers each week.

Activities come in a wide-range.

A recent day trip to the Science Museum in St. Paul took about 36 people to the Titanic exhibit. Another trip is planned to meet the Amish in Augusta, Davis said.

"We've seen a real increase in health promotion activities," Davis added.

Speakers about nutrition, depression and grief have visited centers along with active classes like line dancing and Wii games.

Computer classes and scrapbooking are also making surges in popularity.

Volunteers at each of the sites plan the activities, meaning each has its own flavor.

"We go for the Bingo games," said Frances Vandenberg, with a smile. Since she and her roommate Donna Gerhardt live across the street from the Baldwin Senior Center, it's not often that they miss a Bingo Day.

"Bingo is ginormously popular," Davis said with a laugh.

Meals are prepared and provided by the county's staff for seniors who wish to participate. Meals are prepared at the three cooking sites (Woodville, Deer Park and Glenwood City) or two catering sites and then delivered to each of the centers.

Seniors can also sign up for home-delivered meals. An estimated 100 people have delivered meals each week.

"The meals are great," said Mary Lou Pabst.

Since the menus are printed a month in advance, seniors can plan their week around it, said Pete Vrieze.

"You can pick what you like. If it's lasagna, you stay home and eat," Vrieze joked.

Being around other people is another draw, seniors said.

"Just the people. The atmosphere is really great," said Donna Zacharias, Glenwood City site manager.

Getting out of their homes, having a good meal and socializing are more than some seniors get on a daily basis without the senior centers.

For more information about the senior centers, call Tracy Davis at 715-381-4360.