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Seniors still having fun at Senior Connection

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

Reaching the age of 55 may or may not mark retirement in this day and age. Many people work past that mark.

At any rate, hitting the 55 milestone certainly does not mean that life is over or fun cannot be had.

Just ask the members of Senior Connection in Clanton.

There is always something going on for members of the group, which recently became a city organization.

Senior Connection acts as a venue for multiple events throughout the year, including the Taste of Chilton and multiple cook-offs.

There are also many events held for members, such as seniors’ only dances, a sock hop, health clinics and more.

“(The age of) 55 is so young,” said Senior Connection director Vanessa McKinney. “People are just healthier now than they used to be. At 55 you can start your life over again. You can come in here, make new friends and do things. If you’re retired you could come every day.

“We have had people find lifetime companions in here; of course we’re not a dating service by any means. It has been great for a lot of people and a lifesaver for so many who have lost their spouses. This gives them a place to come. We have people who come here and stay all day long because they don’t want to be alone. It’s just a great place to be.”

Members take trips around once a month to locations outside of Chilton County.

The group will be taking a trip to Memphis in March. There is also an upcoming trip to a casino in Wetumpka and a journey to Scottsboro to visit Unclaimed Baggage Center.

“There’s a famous restaurant close to there called 50 Taters that we saw in Southern Living magazine, so we want to go check that out,” McKinney said.

Members of Senior Connection have been fundraising for a multi-passenger bus to take the group on trips such as these. However, becoming a city organization means that owning its own bus is now infeasible due to the liability the city would incur.

“We are going to use half of the funds that we raised for the bus, $20,000, to help pay for charter buses for our members,” McKinney said. “So that way members can go and only have to pay for their event tickets and meals.”

The other half of the funds will go towards putting on events.

The first seniors’ only dance of the year will be on Jan. 4. The fifth annual black-eyed pea luncheon will be on Jan. 23.

“That’s always good, and it’s just $7 for the lunch that day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” McKinney said. “It’s cooked at home, and our members bring it in.”

Senior Connection will host a reception for outgoing probate judge Bobby Martin from 1-3 p.m. on Jan. 13 followed the next day by a reception for new probate judge Jason Calhoun from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“We do our local lunch bunches every month,” McKinney said. “There are several local restaurants we participate with doing that. We have our health fair and chili cook-off on Feb. 2. We are asking for competitors to submit chili entries. To sponsor/enter one is $25. We will have health booths set up. We will ask all our local health sponsors to come out and participate. Admission will be $5 and will include all the chili you can eat while it lasts. All the booth things are free. That is open community wide.”

Local seniors are sure to find something they like at Senior Connection according to McKinney.

“If you don’t like one thing, there will be something coming up that you will enjoy,” she said. “The old saying is ‘if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it,’ and that’s the truth. If you are idle at home and you’re mind isn’t occupied, it won’t be long before it is not functioning properly. Keep everything moving and active.”