Greencastle Senior Center welcomes new coordinator

Shawn Hardy
Vickie Burgee, right, the new Greencastle Senior Activity Center coordinator, talks with Sandra Bollinger, who volunteers and participates in activities at the center on Antrim Church Road. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

There's a new coordinator with new ideas for new activities who wants to get more people involved in the Greencastle Senior Activity Center.

She is joined by a new community services director for the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging, who has similar aspirations for the county's eight senior centers.

Vickie Burgee came to the Greencastle center at 10615 Antrim Church Road on Oct. 3, replacing Christine Emory who now works at the Waynesboro center. Sandra Bollinger assumed her county post in May.

Burgee is new to Greencastle, but not new to working with older folks. She has more than 17 years of experience in nearly every capacity in adult services and housing in Frederick, Md.

"I like working with the elderly, it's a passion. I love hearing their stories," said Burgee, who lives in Jefferson, Md., with her husband, Wade, and has three children, ages 26, 13 and 11, and one grandson.

"One day, we're all going to be there and I hope someone will be there to help me," Burgee continued.

"This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Burgee said, noting it doesn't take her much longer to get to Greencastle than it did to Frederick because of traffic and she considers the commute "me time."

Thirty to 50 people visit the Greencastle Senior Activity Center every day. Some come just for activities, some come just for lunch, some come for both and some come for the whole day.

Seventy-five to 80 meals are served each day, including 44 home-delivered meals.

For activities, seniors can choose from bingo to knitting and cards to group study.

Tai chi is offered twice a week (Mondays and Fridays) and the Strong Seniors exercise program on Wednesdays averages 15 participants. Jam Nite brings about 70 to the center two Thursdays a month.

Burgee is always looking for new activities and programs. Home-schoolers are practicing their public speaking skills with presentations followed by Q&A beginning at 11:20 a.m. on Tuesdays, Nov. 5 and 12, and the Franklin County 4-H Seeing Eye Puppy Club will be paying a visit at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19. Pastor Darwin Goshorn is on the schedule with the talk about "Friendly Gestures" at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and Mike Vaughn leads a new painting class every Monday at 1 p.m.

"I want to bring in speakers on important topics ... I am always looking for guest speakers and I want seniors to leave here having learned at least on thing from the guest speaker," Burgee said. Some ideas for other programs include winter fire safety, especially for those who use space heaters; mature driving and winter driving; and holiday centerpieces.

"Vickie has hit the ground running," Bollinger said.

"The seniors have been very welcoming to me," Burgee said. "I have an open door policy. I really want to engage and bring in more people and raise attendance."

"It's a goal for all eight centers to target active seniors who don't think the centers are for them," said Bollinger, who previously was a social worker with the Department of Aging in Frederick County, Md.

One move in that director is CWOW — or Centers Without Walls — bringing seniors from various parts of the county together. CWOW activities to date have included a concert at a Path Valley church, a paint day and a fall festival. A spring carnival during Older Americans Month in May is a future possibility.

The plan is to pay for four CWOW activities a year with fundraising bus trips, open to anyone. The next one is to Atlantic City on Dec. 8, the cost is $109 and information is available from Tonya Zeigler at the Fort Loudon Senior Activity Center, 717-369-2520.

"It's a work in progress," said Burgee.

"I dream big and I'm motivated. There's a huge part of this population that hasn't been tapped," said Bollinger, who also wants to do more services outreach to homebound seniors.

Volunteers also are welcome at the center. They can provide ideas, help with activities, get meals ready and serve as drivers or substitutes.

For more information, call Burgee at 717-597-2020.