Whether you’re a local senior searching for some new friends or a snowbird looking for an exciting, Florida-style adventure, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale offers an excellent social outlet for seniors. Meeting Thursdays at the church’s Adult Activity Center (AAC), located next to a large, scenic park and canal, seniors 65-100+ can get a taste of food, fun and fellowship weekly and and sign up for monthly outings.
Not only does the Adult Activity Center offer incredible events and trips but according to one of the regular attendees, Fran Shaw, it provides an excellent diverse social opportunity. Alice Averill, said she has found AAC to be a very welcoming place, with no religious requirements or expectations. She said it’s a peaceful way to enjoy fellowship, and you leave “feeling great that you’ve met people.”
George Shipper would agree. After attending one of the meetings, Shipper remarked, “It’s days like these that take the edge of loneliness.”
Every month AAC takes seniors on an adventure to near-by concerts, plays, museums, and much more. Last month 50 seniors boarded a bus to Islamorada in the Keys. They had lunch was at Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill restaurant featuring ‘American eats at a beachfront complex’ and visited Theatre by the Sea, “an excellent place to get up close and personal with many varieties of animals.”
The next trip AAC is taking is to Stuart on Tuesday, March 24th. The cost is $62 dollars to dine at Dolphin Bar & Shrimp House “a charming café that overhangs Indian River.” They will also take a tour of the recently renovated Elliott Museum, which features many unique exhibits ranging from historical artifacts to photography and art.
In April AAC will be attending the Wick Theatre & Costume Museum in Boca Raton, featuring “an astounding exhibit of the finest costumes ever brought to the Broadway stage” includes costumes from over 35 Broadway productions. The tour will be followed by a showing of the Broadway classic, Oklahoma!
Bill McAnish, a senior who has taken two trips with AAC, said, “It’s absolutely amazing, and a wonderful outlet that really moved me beyond my comfort zone in a safe and pleasurable manner.”
Regular Thursday meetings at the AAC help keep seniors connected. Each week’s entertainment varies and includes musicians, educational speakers and dramatic entertainment, such as an Elvis impersonator or a solo singer/guitarist. A scrumptious hot meal cooked by Chef Paul is served and afternoon activities follow. Afternoon events often include recent movies, line dancing, or wii bowling.
The AAC’s Thursday meetings are practical fun for only $9 a meeting. They begin at 10:30 a.m. with a morning stretch and blood pressure screening available in the lobby. During this time the Humane Society will also often bring companion dogs to be loved on. Entertainment starts at 11:15.
A long history
The AAC was founded thirty years ago by the senior pastor First Presbyterian at that time, Dr. Crombie. Its original intent was to provide fellowship, activities, entertainment, education and support for the local seniors of the community. Thirty years later those same founding principles continue to be carried out by Tricia Young, the current director of AAC. Young began working with the AAC about five years ago and claims that the rewarding feeling she receives from it makes it feel as if it weren’t a job at all.
According to one of the members she’s selfless and radiant. “That Trisha, I can’t say enough about her…she has this quality about her, she views everyone as special.”
Looking to volunteer?
Not only is AAC a terrific social outlet for seniors, it’s a fabulous organization to volunteer for as well. To volunteer, simply arrive at First Presbyterian, 401 Southeast 15th Ave, around 9:30 to10 a.m. Volunteers typically help in the kitchen with set-up and serving food. Those who volunteer are not required to stay the whole day.
Sissy Lindsey, chair of AAC’s board, said that since she has been working with the Adult Activity Center it has “added purpose to my life. They are my heart.” She said the best part about volunteering is the rewarding feeling she gets from it. “We feed their bodies and their souls.”
Gabriella Morris is a home-school student and a Good News Intern. She can be reached at [email protected].