Danielle Henry leaves senior center for new direction

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
After eight years guiding the Greencastle Senior Center, Danielle Henry has said goodbye to those attending the activities there.

Danielle Henry thought she could quietly slip away after her last day as Greencastle Senior Center manager. However, the participants at Franklin County’s most well-attended senior facility had other ideas, and a large crowd gathered for a goodbye lunch on March 14.

Henry, 46, spent the past eight years in Greencastle, and the previous eight in Mont Alto. She decided to take some time off to focus on grandparenting duties, to babysit for her only grandchild, a baby girl.

Her career directing the daily activities of senior centers, and managing the data necessary for the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging, and Pennsylvania Department of Aging, flew by fast. She was in charge of the daily schedule in Greencastle, with 200 people per month visiting for socialization, classes, recreational opportunities and meals. The most popular offering was the exercise classes. Jam nights twice a month drew a good crowd of music lovers. People also got to dabble in oil painting, Spanish lessons, knitting, Bingo, computers and other ventures. They will all continue with a new manager.

Henry enjoyed her role, which brought her into contact with so many people age 60 and over.

“I heard some really neat stories of how they grew up,” she said, “and just learned a lot from them.”

The work kept her busy as she strove to keep the participants busy at the center.

“I tried to keep the calender full,” Henry said.

The most difficult part of her job was when someone passed away, or she had to smooth over disagreements from people with strong personalities. Otherwise, serving as manager was rewarding, and she could watch everything going on from her glass-walled office.

Traci Kline, director of the Franklin County aging office, hopes to have a replacement for Henry as soon as possible. Current staff member John Shindledecker will oversee operations until the Civil Service job is filled.

“We want a person who can jump right in and continue what Danielle started,” Kline said.