Bainbridge Island Senior Center – A place for everyone!
Learning and writing about our wonderful community is a constantly evolving experience where I often find one interview leads to another—and that’s exactly what happened with the Senior Center. A few months back, I wrote an article about the various annual events sponsored by the Historical Museum and noted that they work with the Senior Center, and as a volunteer at the Chamber of Commerce, I frequently see the Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center (BISCC) flyers announcing their various events, classes, etc., all of which encouraged me to learn more about what they do.
BISCC was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1983 and programs were managed and operated by the BI Metro Parks & Recreation District to provide services, programs, activities, social interaction, and recreation for our senior population. In February of 2017, the center successfully transitioned to self-management, remaining at its location at Waterfront Park, a property owned by COBI, and leased to the center for the next 30+ years. This transition has allowed the BISCC to take over management and operations and expand their partnerships and cooperative work with other agencies to serve the community in a variety of ways.
Many people probably associate the words “senior center” as a place for an exclusive group, 55 years of age or older, and while that is true in most cases, here on BI, it is so much more than that! The BISCC is a “community center” and they collaborate with many other entities here on the island to provide an assortment of programs for all ages—those programs, activities and events are available to everyone, however they encourage membership, as membership dues are only $20.00 per year, and greatly assist the center in its day-to-day operations.
BISCC partners with the BI Historical Museum to present Early Bainbridge, a live discussion given by long-time islanders about life on the island during the early and mid-twentieth century; educational programs are provided by Bainbridge Island Arts & Crafts; the Waterfront Book Group is sponsored by the BI Library; technology tutoring provided by Bainbridge Youth Service volunteers; coffee and chats with BI Police Community Resources Officer, Carla Sias; as well as forums and discussions with elected officials and school representatives.
If you’re looking for a bit more fun, below is a run-down of the many activities offered by the BISCC (this is only a partial list, for complete information, click on each category):
Art, Music & Language: art lectures, photography club, knitting and crocheting, memoir writing, singing, karaoke, arts & crafts, liberation laughter, astrology, French, German and Spanish clubs, Shakespeare, and a tarot interest group.
Cards & Games: Skip-Bo, pinochle, bridge, cribbage, bingo, Mah-jongg, and chess.
Classes & Events: technology tutoring, AARP driver safety, lectures, adventures in travel, gardening, collecting, Peaceful Peace Café, mediation groups, dance, quilting, bird walks, cooking, book group, Out-To Lunch Bunch (a social lunch experience at local restaurants), and Friday Night at the Movies (free movie and popcorn on the 2nd and 3rd Friday of each month).
Fitness, Dance & Sports: exercise and stretching, T’ai Chi Chih, yoga, line dancing, table tennis, bicycle trips, and chair massage.
Trips & Travel: Mariners Games, Leavenworth–Sound of Music, cross-cultural tour of Bainbridge, Mystery Trip, Hurricane Ridge, Christmas Lights tour, and San Juan Cruise.
“We strive to meet the needs of the senior community and provide programs, services and resources in a welcoming atmosphere of kindness, courtesy and acceptance.”
Of course, it’s not just about educational and active enrichment for our community, BISCC is focused on assisting those that cannot necessarily do everything for themselves and they are honored to work with Island Volunteer Caregivers, Helpline House, and Meals on Wheels-Kitsap, to provide resources such as information on medical care, insurance and Medicare questions, internet safety, meal delivery, veterans’ assistance, mental and grief support, home-related assistance, and transportation to doctors, shopping, and social activities. In addition, they have an in-house Resource Navigator available to discuss and assist with your needs.
“to empower and enhance the quality of life of people in our community as they age”
The BISCC depends on the support of our community to keep things going, and rely heavily on volunteers (to date, they have 120 volunteers, but they’re always happy for more) and fundraising events throughout the year, such as their Chili Feed at the end of the Chilly Hilly Ride, the Jumble Sale at the end of the summer, the Christmas Holiday Sale, and Winter Wonderland (with the Park District). Their “gem” of a store, Waterfront Thrift, offers a variety of men, women and children’s vintage and current clothing, as well as a wide array of small household appliances, decorative items, books, CDs and DVDs—click here for more information. To learn about additional fundraising/donations, click here.
To keep up to date on all the BISCC has going on, drop by the center and pick up their Splash Newsletter, or download the PDF here.
I’d like to thank Reed Price, Executive Director at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center for taking the time to talk to me and give me a tour of the center.
*Images and logo provided by Reed Price / exterior photos by Margaret Millmore