Investing in senior center is for the future |

Investing in senior center is for the future

by Al Walker, guest columnist

Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor discussing the history of our Senior Center and the needs of the time. Before getting to the increased needs of today, I will include the next two paragraphs which are excerpts from that letter.

In 1974, a group of like minded seniors banded together to form the Young At Heart (YAH) Senior Citizens Club. They set forth the goals which remain the force behind that organization today. YAH strives to provide an opportunity for all seniors in Douglas County to join together for social activities and camaraderie to bring joy and self sufficiency to themselves and their neighbors in their “golden years”.

On September 25, 1975, YAH incorporated as a non profit organization in the State of Nevada and proceeded to make some dreams come true. The first goal was to build a Senior Center. Ground-breaking ceremonies at the current location were held on May 6,1976 and the Grand Opening was held on June 5, 1977. This was all accomplished without tax payer involvement but through the love and dedication of a community.

I have no estimate of the increase in the size of the Douglas County senior population since that lovely June day in 1977 but I do know that we can not keep up with the needs without asking for greater community support. Last week the board of the Young At Heart Senior Citizens Club authorized 2003 expenditures of $23,000 just for immediate repairs and replacement of equipment in our aging center and it will not be enough. To an organization which sees $100.00 or $200.00 as important fund raising activities, this is a significant commitment.

Our senior center was built and supported by community involvement for all of these years though the county has taken responsibility for most of the operations and accomplishes them with excellence. YAH has always maintained responsibility for most maintenance of the facility and funding for many senior activities. With the aging of the facility and growth in the senior population, we need an increase in community membership in our YAH organization.

There are a number of ways that individual citizens or businesses can participate in this effort. The first is to become a member of YAH. The annual dues is $3.00 and membership is limited to those who have reached the age of 55. The dollar amount may seem insignificant but demonstrates a basic commitment to the goals of the organization.

For the year 2003, we are seeking sponsorship for funding these goals. We have defined various levels of sponsors, each of which will receive an appropriate certificate or plaque for presentation in their home or business. For up to $100.00, the award will be for special appreciation. For increased participation of $100 – 250, a bronze award, $250 – 500 will be silver and over $500 a gold award. All who join the effort in 2003 will, forever, be recognized as Plank Holders (old Navy term) in this new effort to support senior activities in our county.

If there is any group, or any individual, who would like a presentation on the history and activities sponsored by YAH, I would be happy to oblige. Leave a message at the senior center (783-6455), call me at home or e-mail at We all greatly appreciate the many years of support and ask that you look to the future and….

Think about it.

— Al Walker is a Gardnerville resident and the President of Young At Heart.

491 Purshia Hills Rd