Senior Center celebrates 25 years


By Amantha Garpiel - [email protected]



The Senior Center hosted Coffee with a Cop earlier this year. Participating were, left to right, Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Gebhart and Sidney Police Chief Will Balling.

The Senior Center hosted Coffee with a Cop earlier this year. Participating were, left to right, Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Gebhart and Sidney Police Chief Will Balling.


Courtesy photo

Sidney High School seniors and Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County chair volleyball participants.


Courtesy photo

SIDNEY—The Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County has been a large part of the community since its doors opened on Sept. 2, 1997. Originally, the Senior Center shared the building with the Gateway Arts Council, until 2005, and with only 131 members when the doors opened, the center started out small. After only six months, their membership grew to 500-plus members.

“Membership numbers have gone up and down over the years but have reached over 1,000-plus members 12 years out of 25! The most was in 2001 with 1,390. That is amazing considering that the first year we were open it was only 131,” said Rachel Hale, executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County.

The former Senior Citizens Cub merged with the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County and used their building funds to purchase activities for the Center such as, a pool table, a ping pong table, a TV and exercise equipment. Since the beginning, members of the Center have been directly involved in planning and fundraising to create a Center they are proud to be a part of.

As a non-profit organization funds for the Senior Center come from grants, donations, monthly dues paid by members, fundraisers such as the Spring Card Party with a raffle of donated prizes and paid advertisements in their bi-monthly newsletter. The Center’s newsletter is published every two months to update members on different events like public dances or health seminars.

Starting at only $5 per year in 1997, the Center has tried to keep the cost of their yearly dues down. By 2012, dues were $20 and continued to increase gradually. In 2017, dues reached $30 per year and by 2023 they will increase again to $35 per year for Shelby County citizens. Out of county members pay an extra $5 per month in dues.

In more recent years, the Center has undergone multiple changes. Since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, the Center has added more events, activities and seminars for both members and non-members. Events such as Friday Fun Nights with trivia or karaoke, the Lunch and Learn program and mini health fairs with Wilson Health.

One of the purposes of the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County is to help its members understand potential health complications. By partnering with Wilson Health, the Center will now be able to provide small health fairs that are dedicated to a specific health issue such as, stroke prevention, women’s health with mammogram scheduling available during the event and heart health. The Center was also recently approved as a seminar site for the Health U programs from Area Agency on Aging from Sept. 16 to Oct. 28.

The Center is not solely focused on helping its members stay healthy and active, they also focus on keeping them connected with the community.

During the previous school year, staff members and seniors from Sidney High School visited the Center frequently. The students played chair volleyball with the members, learned how to play Euchre and helped members with puzzles and other activities. Even more events are being planned for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

Community involvement also increased through the start of different programs with the fire and police departments. Coffee with a Cop is one of the many events coming back after the pandemic. Local police visit the Center to allow community members to join them in an open discussion. The goal of Coffee with a Cop is to allow citizens to express concerns and ask questions without judgement. Even more events with the local emergency response departments are being planned.

The Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County will be hosting a 25th anniversary gala on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Center.

Hale said, “We will be honoring the ‘Originals.’ These hard working and dedicated people who worked diligently to take a dream of a Senior Center and make it a reality!”

The gala costs $10 to attend and begins at 5:30 p.m. with time to socialize, dinner will be served at 6 p.m. followed by a program. The event will also include a “walk down memory lane” full of pictures and news clippings from the last 25 years.

The Senior Center hosted Coffee with a Cop earlier this year. Participating were, left to right, Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Gebhart and Sidney Police Chief Will Balling.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/08/web1_2022coffee-with-cop-2.jpgThe Senior Center hosted Coffee with a Cop earlier this year. Participating were, left to right, Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Gebhart and Sidney Police Chief Will Balling. Courtesy photo

Sidney High School seniors and Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County chair volleyball participants.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/08/web1_2022-SHS-volleyball-2.jpgSidney High School seniors and Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County chair volleyball participants. Courtesy photo

By Amantha Garpiel

[email protected]