CANAJOHARIE - Dorothy Morrison said the reason the Canajoharie Senior Citizens Club has been able to thrive for 50 years is simple: The members enjoy the fellowship they get from being in the group.
"And, of course, all the things we do," she said with a laugh.
Morrison, the president of the club, was among the attendees at the club's annual picnic at the Arkell Center on Wednesday.
Members of the Canajoharie Senior Citizens Club get lunch during the group’s annual picnic at the Arkell?Center in Canajoharie on Wednesday.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor
Photos on display at the center show the club’s “Octoberfest” celebration.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor
The picnic was the latest event the club conducted to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In June, the Second Time Around Big Band performed in the Arkell Hall gardens, as well.
The club also had an "Octoberfest celebration with a polka band, a St. Patricks Day program with musician Gary Van Slyke performing, and others.
Morrison noted the club's mission statement: "To provide a broad range of human services, socialization, educational and leisure time activities for the senior citizens."
The club has been working to fulfill that statement since it began in 1960. Meetings were held in St. John's St. Mark's Lutheran Church, then the Episcopal Church and then the American Legion Hall.
In 1994, the club moved to the Arkell Center.
Morrison said the club is open to people older than age 55 who are residents of the Canajoharie or Fort Plain school districts.
Andrea Montanye, program director at Arkell Center, has been at the location since it opened in 1994, as well.
"[The club] is a great group of people," she said Wednesday.
In addition to her other duties, Montanye also serves on the club's board of trustees and helps develop programming for the group.
"We have everything," she said with a laugh.
In addition to the music programs and covered-dish luncheons- "[Luncheons] are always among the most popular programs," a grinning Morrison said - the programs for the club, and those at the center for any seniors, reflect the concerns seniors have and the issues they want to stay informed about.
For example, earlier this year, there was a program about how to stay protected against identity fraud. There also was a program last month about stroke prevention.
Montanye said over the years, the programs have changed to provide seniors with more information about health problems. Not only are seniors living longer, they have more avenues to get the information as well.
"Today's seniors are quite attuned to computers, and they stay on top of things," she said.
Morrison said the club's 69 members have many activities to get involved in. In addition to their meetings twice a month, the group has public-card parties after the meetings. The group does raffles at each meeting, and does a bi-monthly mystery gift fundraiser. The club is still collecting "military boxes," or care packages, for U.S. military members serving overseas, which it has been doing since 1994.
Then there are the approximately four bus trips the club offers every year. The club still has one left this year, on Sept. 27 to the Hu Ke Lau Restaurant and Dinner Theater in Longmeadow, Mass., for a Polynesian production.
Combine those with the programs offered at the center - ranging from yoga classes to blood-pressure testing - and there is plenty to keep seniors busy.
Montanye said a program is planned for the future about the caregiving services available for seniors in the local area.
It reflects the common theme of many of the programs, she said. It not only provides the seniors with a chance for socialization, it also gives them an opportunity to help one another.
Morrison, a club member since 1997, said while the club does fundraisers, the Community Chest and the Arkell Foundation provide a great deal of support. Then there is the help Montanye provides.
"We couldn't do this without Andrea's cooperation," Morrison said. "We really appreciate her."