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Activities Abound at Montpelier Senior Activity Center

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Volunteers Ghazi Ben Rhaim and Jeanne Felmly in the Montpelier Senior Activity Center Kitchen preparing swiss chard. Photo by Janna Clar.

By Janna Clar

Where do older adults in Central Vermont turn for expert-led art lessons, engaging humanities offerings, and health-enhancing movement? Each year, hundreds of them — even in COVID-19 times — attend Montpelier Senior Activity Center’s over four dozen weekly offerings. Many are surprised to discover the variety of options that include — but go far beyond — tabletop games.   

Some of the center’s most popular online and in-person classes include yoga (a dozen options), Pilates Express, creative writing, a film and music appreciation series, painting, and “bone builders” at six different weekday and evening times. Free drop-in groups range from tai chi to crafting, walking, and playing the ukulele. 

In the center’s 2021 annual survey, 71 percent of respondents reported that because they began Senior Activity Center activities, they’re getting more exercise, 59 percent have more options for how to spend time, and 57 percent are learning new things. One respondent wrote, “I’m SO grateful MSAC was able to offer classes virtually. It has been a lifesaver during the pandemic…I’ve really appreciated the ease of taking yoga and bone builders without leaving my house, especially during winter.” 

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The center follows national trends in increasing intergenerational opportunities, such as opening activities to all ages. As a cutting-edge “senior center without walls,” they’ve held classes in multiple towns at restaurants, theaters, and town halls. Well before COVID-19, MSAC was providing technology training, and now they’ve added dozens of online offerings; they’re even developing a smart-device lending library. 

To learn more, go to montpelier-vt.org/304/Newsletter or email msac@montpelier-vt.org. Find regularly updated announcements and events at montpelier-vt.org/1128/Special-Events. Call the office with questions at 223-2518 or stop by 58 Barre Street to talk with a staff member. 

Janna Clar is the Communications & Development Coordinator for Montpelier Community Services Department (Montpelier Senior Activity Center, Parks & Trees, Recreation Divisions).