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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Fruita Community Center: Creating new friendships and saving lives

Dec 30, 2019 04:03PM ● By Melinda Mawdsley

Linda Young is just one senior who credits the Fruita Community Center (FCC) Senior Center with saving her life.

Since opening its doors in 2011, the FCC at 324 N. Coulson St. has embraced seniors in the Grand Valley through events such as the Senior Potluck Lunch hosted every Thursday or the scheduled hikes and picnics held at various destinations throughout the area.

Fruita’s Senior Center

These activities are just a small sample of the offerings Senior Services Supervisor Jacqui Foster and her team plan for local seniors. Their goal is to keep them active and engaged throughout their more mature years.

Although the Fruita Senior Center, which is housed inside the FCC, doesn’t host or plan all events, it typically serves as a meeting point, giving seniors a dedicated spot to gather for coffee, play a game of pool or have a casual conversation.

It’s that sense of belonging that Young and her friend Ruben Salas, also of Fruita, attribute to saving their lives. Especially when Salas lost his wife 10 years ago.

“There I was, not knowing anybody,” Salas said. “[My wife and I] used to do everything together.”

Eventually, he was invited to the Senior Potluck Lunch, which costs $3 unless you bring a dish. He found himself welcomed and befriended by other seniors. It was a wonderful feeling, he said. He was eager to learn about all the other senior programs offered through the City of Fruita.

The Senior Center is free for seniors to utilize. It’s located to the immediate right of the community center’s front desk. Seniors need not live in Fruita to attend.

“When they come into the Senior Center, they’re looking for some social aspect of how they can get more involved,” said Foster. “Most people have moved here because their children live here and their husband or wife have just passed, but their children have told them they need to get out and about.”

That’s where the center’s many activities come in.

Activities galore

The Senior Center hosts educational classes, game nights, lunches and themed-parties such as the Super Bowl Party and Winter Blues Dance. Off-site programs include free day-hikes as part of the Fruita Fossils Hiking Club and longer overnight trips such as the 2 Below Sleigh Ride (February 25-26) or the Lehi Tulip Festival (April 21-23).

“What we do here in this program for seniors is we envelop them in kindness and try to help them—the best we can—find their way with volunteering, inclusion or whatever agencies they need,” Foster said.

The organized hikes was what initially drew Young to the senior programs. Before the physical Senior Center opened in 2011, Young said the programs were fun, but having a dedicated Senior Center has allowed Foster to expand offerings so Young can get involved at a whole other level.

“The center has saved my life as far as I’m concerned—the social outlet, things to do, meeting a lot of people,” Young said.

Young found her best friend, MaryLee Bowen, after meeting through Fruita’s Parks and Recreation senior programs. They finish each other’s sentences and sport sparkly visors and tennis shoes they bought together. That need for friendship and a sense of belonging doesn’t wane as a person ages.

“We are a community,” Foster said. “Seniors still want that in their lives.”

Seniors can also utilize the FCC’s fitness area, swimming pool and gymnasium, which costs admission via membership. However, Foster noted seniors may qualify for a free membership through some supplemental health insurances.

Ready to start having fun?

Drop by the Fruita Community Center for a tour and meet and greet with seniors like you!

A complete list of activities with pricing, dates and registration information can be found in the Winter & Spring 2020 Activity Guide available at the FCC.

324 N. Coulson St., Fruita

Call 858-0360