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A podcast about positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin

Senior Citizens Activities, Inc. with Paula Hader

15MWF - Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz podcast cover art for Season 3, Episode 33 titled ‘Senior Citizen Activities, Inc., w/ Paula Hader.’ The background includes names of various locations within Washington County, emphasizing the local focus of the podcast. A photo of Paula Hader, smiling and wearing glasses, a black jacket with floral embroidery, and a necklace, is placed in the center.

Staying active and social are the keys to staying physically and mentally healthy into your later years. Paula Hader joins me this week to talk about Senior Citizens Activities, Inc. and their upcoming Fun & Fit Games for 50+ers event, which is coming up starting May 20th through June 7th, 2024.

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  • Transcript
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    [00:00:00] Fuzz Martin: Hello and welcome to my show called Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz, which is rarely 15 minutes, but is always with Fuzz. My name is Fuzz Martin. Yes, I am the guy who used to be on the radio. Yes, it was 13 years ago this year. Yes, that means you and I are both getting old, but don’t worry about it. You look great. I hope you feel great too.

    This show is about positive things happening in and around Washington County, and this week we feature an organization that is doing a lot of positive things around Washington County for those who are 50 plus. Paula Hader, the executive director for Senior Citizens Activities, Inc., joins me this week to talk about their organization, their mission, who they serve, and their upcoming fun and fit games for 50 Plusers event, which is coming up in May.

    With that, here are 15 minutes on Senior Citizens Activities, Inc. With Paula Hader on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

    Paula, thank you for joining me today. I appreciate you coming to the studio.

    [00:01:17] Paula Hader: Thanks, Fuzz.

    [00:01:18] Fuzz Martin: So let’s start with a little game of what it is and what it isn’t. So what is Senior Citizens Activities, Inc., and what is Fuzz? A common misconception about it.

    [00:01:28] Paula Hader: Yes. Excellent question. Thank you for that. Senior Citizens Activities is a nonprofit organization that was born, born or came to be back in 1969.

    We were incorporated and it was as a result of Nancy Merring, who was President of the Junior Women’s Club at that time and her and her other friends in the community had noticed that there was a need for seniors and something for them to do. And so it was because of her inspiration and her wisdom and her leadership that we came to be.

    So it was incorporated, as I said, in 1969. And it’s, It did its thing over the years, and so all of a sudden here we are, 2024, and I’m realizing it’s 57 years old, so a lot of things going on, it really served its purpose, it used to be located in the Washington Street building, which is now no longer there.

    No longer in existence and we were fortunate from the history I understand is that, uh, the county didn’t charge us anything for the space over there and they actually printed our newsletters for us besides. So that was a nice plus.

    [00:02:42] Fuzz Martin: So, you’ve kind of begun to change the, the perception of what the Senior Citizens Activities, Inc.

    is from kind of that, I forgot how you put it in the email, but really to, to become more for those who are active, right? So, can you tell me? What is your mission and who are you aiming to accommodate in the community?

    [00:03:08] Paula Hader: Certainly, yes. Our mission is to enrich the lives of anyone 50 years old and older.

    And whether that’s through wellness, fitness, education, social interaction, recreation, and community involvement, civic involvement. So, last week was a big deal with the Volunteer Center and all of our services. Volunteers who had contributed to an awesome year in 2023.

    [00:03:34] Fuzz Martin: So you had a lot of visits in 2023.

    Tell us about that. You hadn’t. Yes. How many people attended your activities?

    [00:03:42] Paula Hader: Yes. We, we do track how people come to the center and for what. And so we had 20, 000 visits in 2023 alone, which is amazing considering we have a very lean staff. It’s myself. and a part time person. And so, it’s, incredible.

    We’re, you know, we’re dealing with Arts and souls and human beings, not something, like pieces of paper we’re pushing around or whatever. So it’s, it takes that extra special touch when people come to be able to have conversations with them and meaningful conversations.

    [00:04:16] Fuzz Martin: So, doing some research on Senior Citizens Activities and just simply going to your website and looking at, one of your, your, PowerPoint presentations that you had, you had made, your Senior Citizens Activities is reaching people who are not needing active care, right?

    It’s, it’s meant for people who are, you know, wanting to stay social and fit in the community and things like that. Or is that, that’s, am I right in saying that?

    [00:04:44] Paula Hader: That’s a really excellent question. So we serve actually three different generations of seniors, so to speak. So. Some time ago, the bylaws were switched so we could accept those who were 50 plus.

    And I think that’s what made the huge difference as we built on that and gave us a window to expand and to grow. And so, That’s, that’s huge. But what we’re, we are looking for people to join us who are happy and healthy and independent. For example, those folks coming off of, retirement, whether it’s forced or chosen, they’re just looking to reinvent their life.

    And, they’re just not some, they’re not all. Just don’t know where to go, what to do, how to get engaged, how to get involved. And so we offer basically all levels of getting involvement and to the level that they want. But I always encourage folks to just come on in, check us out, see what we got. And, it, it all seems to go from there.

    [00:05:40] Fuzz Martin: So what kind of, you know, What activities or things do people do for that socializing, staying active, preventing those crises and that kind of stuff with the Senior Citizens Activities?

    [00:05:51] Paula Hader: That’s a perfect question. Thanks, Fuzz. We have all kinds of tabletop activities. Some people love sheepshed and games and whatnot, all that type of thing, but really, where we’re really expanding into is some pretty incredible painting classes, used glass classes, so much more and beyond that, the artsy, craftsy kinds of things that folks used to do.

    It’s so much more in that respect. And also, some of these tabletop games is, Mahjong, which is really supposed to be, you know, West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Noelle Braun, West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Noelle Braun, We also have a floor yoga for the folks who still want to get down on the floor and can get up and do that.

    We have pickleball, we have ping pong, we have so much going on, a big, I mean so much of it is popular, the pickleball of course, but the line dancing. Has been incredible. The amount of people wanting to line dance and our ladies who instruct are so very good that on a Friday morning, they’ll tell people, Hey, come 15 minutes ahead of time, we’re happy to work with you just to get you comfortable so you can join in with the class, do a little bit of a refresher here or there as well.

    [00:07:11] Fuzz Martin: So, for those who weren’t in attendance at the Volunteer Center of Washington County’s Champions of Change event, there was the beginning line dance group there that danced and say, how many women were there? It was probably 15 or so? Yes,

    [00:07:24] Paula Hader: I’m going to guess 12 to 15.

    [00:07:26] Fuzz Martin: And they had so much fun and they were so much fun to watch and they, they looked like they were just very passionate about what they were doing.

    So it was, it was really cool to see.

    Yes. How involved with that they were. And that’s all through the senior citizen’s activities, right?

    [00:07:41] Paula Hader: Exactly. Exactly. So.

    [00:07:43] Fuzz Martin: And to your point, the instructors were also very proud and very engaged with them. So can you share a success story or? Steve Harris, I know a testimonial for someone who has, you know, benefited or told you about how their experience with your organization has helped them in our community?

    [00:08:04] Paula Hader: Certainly, certainly. There’s a gentleman that comes to my mind. I won’t name any names. However, he had sought out our senior center probably, five, seven years ago. I’m going on eight years now at the senior center. And I remember seeing that gentleman and you know, And, we talked one day and he said that he thought this was going to be the end of him, meaning this is the age he’s at, and he thought, this is going to be it.

    I can’t do anything anymore. Well, he really got involved here at the center doing, you know, YMCA led classes, this and that. He’s got involved in chair yoga and floor yoga, and he’s just, he’s been such a model to people of. What can be when you think, just when you think, I can’t even ride a bike anymore.

    He’s doing that now and he’s, he’s built up his balance and his health and to me he’s always been so inspirational. That really thought, you know, way back when he thought he had to just hang it up. And so,

    [00:09:01] Fuzz Martin: sure. And then, you know, those kind of things help prevent him from, you know, Ending up in a hospital or running, you know, having those expenses and helps keep him healthy and stronger both mentally and physically longer, right?

    [00:09:13] Paula Hader: Yes. And it was, yeah, it’s movement key. I can’t say it enough that movement is really key. And at one point in time, this gentleman was being approached by other Folks at the center saying, are you sure you’re not doing too much? Because he wanted to go and go and go and go. And he just, you know, he had to do it his way.

    And then he came to the point where he realized, yeah, you’re right. You know, I don’t need to, do everything. It’s finding the balance, which is what we also stress. You know, make sure you have balance in the social life, physical, all those things that we need to keep that balance going on.

    [00:09:51] Fuzz Martin: Certainly.

    So. You have an upcoming event for Senior Citizens Activities. It’s called Fun and Fit Games for 50 plussers. Can you tell us about the event, because it sounds like a lot of fun, and it sounds like you’ve got a lot of different things planned for this.

    [00:10:06] Paula Hader: Yes, I’m so excited about this. It’s Yeah, Fun and Fit Games for 50 plussers.

    It’s our first time ever, I believe, in Washington County that this is happening, and so we are, it’s a two, it’s a three week, excuse me, three week long event from May 20th to June 7th, and we’re having all kinds of activities that people within the community, you do not have to be a participant, it’s you can come from far and wide.

    Again, we are all inclusive. We don’t exclude other counties, but there’s going to be opportunities for people to, uh, play pickleball. Whether on their own or at a structured place, uh, there’s gonna be a swimming relay, a sheepshed tournament, of course, have to have that. A cornhole is gonna be over at Kingpin Bowling, disc golf, bowling, mahjong, ping pong.

    Some of those things are gonna be held at our, Center as well. But the idea is people sign up, they get themselves a t shirt, a swag bag, and they also get a wonderful, fun looking scorecard. So we’re going to be looking to them to be honest on their scorecard.

    [00:11:10] Fuzz Martin: Oh, it’s like golf here, isn’t it? Right.

    [00:11:13] Paula Hader: Right. Here we go. So we’ll look forward to having them keeping their scores and then the very last day of the event, which is Friday. Again, a three week long event will be at Cedar Community. Cedar Ridge has a campus, the Independent Living Campus, and they have a swimming pool. So, there’ll be swimming laps, swimming relays that afternoon, and then the closing ceremony will also be at Cedar Ridge in their Grand Hall because for the closing ceremony, we’re going to have food and celebration and awards and things like that.

    [00:11:44] Fuzz Martin: So, awesome. I was curious about where all these events are because I didn’t think everybody was going to be swimming in. at Regner Park in May. Right, right. Not yet. But, so, obviously this kind of coincides with the Olympics happening this year, but this is the first year of this happening?

    [00:12:00] Paula Hader: Yes, this is the first year and I had heard that Ozaukee County is going on their 28th I thought, why is West Bend not doing one?

    So, I put my plea out to the West Bend Chamber with their leadership group, and we presented our project as something some of the leaders could grab and run with. And so they joined forces with us, and its gonna happen.

    [00:12:23] Fuzz Martin: All right. And they just graduated from their, Yes. Their leadership class. Yes.

    Right? So. Yes.

    [00:12:30] Paula Hader: and all those.

    I’m really excited, and then I’m also on the AARP Steering Committee here, now that West Bend is AARP affiliated, and our committee had agreed to carry the torch, if you will, moving forward, uh, because this is a lot for our community. One employee and a halftime employee to pull off every year. So we’re looking forward to getting that extra support and we think a lot more people are going to jump in the ring and help us make it bigger and better all the time.

    So I look forward to the year when I can hear that West Bend is in it for 28 years.

    [00:13:04] Fuzz Martin: So how does someone become a part or take part in this event? Do they have to sign up on your website or how do they get registered?

    [00:13:12] Paula Hader: That’s a really good question, Fuzz. Thanks so much. We’ve got a variety of different ways people can.

    Simply come to the Senior Center, and we’re located, by the way, across the parking lot from Steingarden Center, right within Kettlebrook Church, and we have sign up sheets there, and basically you pay 10, which is going to entitle you to a size of, your size of a t shirt, which has got the logo on it, as well as a swag bag, and then also your scorecard.

    People can go to our website. West Seniorcitizensactivities. org and also find a form they could download and send and mail in and that. There’s different ways, probably on Facebook there’s something as well. The other one I would say is that evening of, so Monday, May 20th. If people, it says the games, opens up at five o’clock.

    Really, we’ll have tables there to take late registrations, and that’s when people would get their additional items as well. And right then and there that night, there’s a 5k walk and run. So either way, they’re off and running, whatever works, we’re happy to help them get started.

    [00:14:20] Fuzz Martin: So it all starts on May 20th.

    [00:14:22] Paula Hader: It all starts on May 20th, and just to be clear, a lot of people think, oh my gosh, I can’t do all those items. It’s like, no, you get to pick and choose what you want. Your points still rack up, but it’s a, Located, the activities are located a variety of different places in West Bend. As I mentioned, Kingpin Bowling is helping with bowling as well as cornhole.

    We’ve got, mini golf and golf happening. People can go to West Bend Lakes or to, now that it’s called Stingers, I’m looking forward to going there as well. Pickleball, that’s off site at Kwas Creek. We do have some things going on right at our Senior Center, obviously, to bring people in to see if they like what’s going on.

    They’re going to be, playing Mahjong. We’re going to have some ping pong going on, as well as some dominoes, serious dominoes.

    [00:15:08] Fuzz Martin: All right. Yes. Sounds intense.

    [00:15:09] Paula Hader: Yes.

    [00:15:10] Fuzz Martin: Well, this is all great. So now, you, you mentioned that people don’t have to be a member of Senior Citizens Activities to take part in this, but if somebody wanted to be a member of Senior Citizens Activities, how?

    Do they get involved with that? Is there a cost to it? How do they sign up?

    [00:15:24] Paula Hader: Really good question. Thanks, Fuzz. How it works is we do not have memberships, so there’s no membership fee. We have participants, and people, once they sign up as a participant, and it’s very simple information, basically, just so we know.

    Who to call for your emergency contact should something happen to you. It’s that simple to sign up. And so once we get that information, we input you in our system. No, no participant fees. Well, I shouldn’t say that. No membership fees, excuse me, but participants pay. We’re on a pay as you go system. And so that works really well.

    If somebody just wants to come and play their sheep’s head, it’s two bucks for every time they pay. And then the various classes and other things, you know, depending on supplies for classes.

    [00:16:10] Fuzz Martin: And it’s, yeah, because that stuff’s not free and it pays to keep that going and get punished.

    [00:16:15] Paula Hader: And what we do is we strive to be affordable.

    There’s so many things to do out there, but is it affordable? And that’s where we really want to ring true because we want to serve those people who are on fixed incomes and have situations where they just don’t have All the money in the world to go do what they want to do.

    [00:16:31] Fuzz Martin: Sure. And again, it’s seniorcitizensactivities.

    org. Yes. Right?

    [00:16:35] Paula Hader: Yes.

    [00:16:35] Fuzz Martin: And you’re located in the, across from Stein’s. That is

    [00:16:39] Paula Hader: correct. The parking lot from Stein Gardens, if you look right across.

    [00:16:42] Fuzz Martin: Yeah. Kettlebrook Church, right?

    [00:16:44] Paula Hader: Within Kettlebrook Church, yes.

    [00:16:46] Fuzz Martin: Okay. Very good. Well, Paula, Anything else you want people to know about Senior Citizens Activities?

    [00:16:52] Paula Hader: I would just say, yes, come on, check us out. We’ve got more. We, there’s no other organization like this in our entire region. So, just come on over, check it out. I love people’s new ideas and energies because it helps me to continue to grow our programming.

    [00:17:07] Fuzz Martin: Alright, very good. Well, Paula, thanks so much for what you do for the community, and thanks for coming in today.

    [00:17:11] Paula Hader: Thanks for having me, Fuzz.

    [00:17:12] Fuzz Martin: Thanks again to Paula Hader of Senior Citizens Activities, Inc. for joining me on this week’s edition of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. The Fun and Fit Games for 50 plusers event sounds awesome. In fact, I’m turning 46 later this year, and I’ve already started training for the 2029 Summer Games.

    So watch out, y’all. That said, I, I haven’t played Sheapshead since college, and I lost horribly to Noelle Isley. Every year in college, when playing sheep’s head, he was, I think he was cheating. If you ever have an idea for the show, reach out. FifteenWithFuzz at gmail. com. Spell out the word fifteen.

    FifteenWithFuzz at gmail. com. Or go to fuzz. cc slash guest. That is fuzz. cc slash guest. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube at FifteenWithFuzz. com or wherever you prefer to listen to these kinds of things. Hit the follow button and you’ll be notified on Tuesdays, because that’s when new episodes of this show comes out.

    And with that, we’ll talk to you next Tuesday, right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

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