by Linda Heistman
The Senior Health Activities and Recreation Program (SHARP) had a great first year. Before SHARP, the need for some type of program for the growing senior population had been talked about within the community for a long time.
After being elected as a Town of Webb Councilwoman, Mary Brophy-Moore began talking to the town board about the possibility of a program for seniors.
She understood the void first-hand having helped to care for her own aging parents in Old Forge.
In 2014, she presented a plan for a one-day per week program and the creation of a part-time program coordinator position as a way to begin to fill the perceived need.
The board included the funding in the budget for the new position and decided to see how the program would develop before committing more taxpayer funds to it.
I had the privilege to be hired by the board to fill the position and Niccolls Church agreed to provide the venue for the program. On February 4, 2015, we had our first program day.
When the program first started, we were simply called the Town of Webb Senior Program.
From the beginning, the seniors were and are encouraged to be the voice of the program.
I believe it’s important to listen to their wants and needs and design the program around what they want to do.
Early on, we held a brain-storming session to create a vision of what they would like the program to look like and be like.
From that session, one of the senior citizens took notes and turned them into a Mission Statement for our group.
Over the following weeks we held a contest among the participants to come up with a name for our new program and a slogan that would describe who we are in one sentence.
The seniors came up with the wonderful name, SHARP, a logo and the slogan, “The older we get the sharper we get.”
On Wednesday, February 3 we celebrated the program’s first anniversary.
We enjoyed homemade goodies, fruit, coffee and tea while watching and talking about a slide show of pictures of some our 2015 activities.
During our first year together we enjoyed many types of activities.
Guest speakers were invited in to educate and answer questions on topics of interest to the participants.
We exercised by doing chair yoga with volunteer instructor, Kathy Queen, and learned easy-to-do exercises that the seniors can also do at home.
We tried to connect to others in the community by sending cards to those who were sick or disabled, were involved in reading programs with the school, and we sent Christmas gifts to seniors in a nursing home.
We played cards and games and watched movies together.
We had a sing-along at Christmas time with Marie Adams providing the music and the words.
We enjoyed outings around town, including to the Goodsell Museum, to the Old Forge Fitness Center, a ride up McCauley Mountain on the chairlift in the fall, picnics in the summer including one at Nick’s Lake.
We attended the symphony in Inlet, and took a cruise on the Fulton Chain of Lakes with the Old Forge Lake Cruises, and much more.
Most important of all, whether inside or out, we socialized. That is what our seniors seem to like the best.
Overall, I feel it has truly been one SHARP year!
The Town of Webb Town Board added additional funds for this year’s program and I am very grateful for their appreciation of its importance to our community.
We look forward to more fun and diverse activities this coming year and we hope more seniors will come and try out our friendly, free program.
SHARP is a free program offered to all independent senior citizens from Woodgate to Raquette Lake.
We meet at Niccolls Memorial Church in Old Forge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday.
Lunch during our regular Wednesday sessions is provided by the Community Health & Wellness Fund (formerly the Town of Webb Health Center Fund.)
For more information, call or text (315) 225-7553, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check our Facebook page anytime for updates. Search: SHARP