Snohomish Senior Center is attracting a growing crowd

More and more, the seniors that Kris Yeagley sees joining the Snohomish Senior Center are getting younger and younger.

Yeagley, the center’s interim director, says it’s a sign of the economic times.

People 55 to 60 who have lost their jobs and are “retired and don’t know it” are now tr

ying to figure out what’s next for them, she said.

“There’s no market out there for them and so they are looking to be involved and seeing what’s out there,” Yeagley said. “And thinking about that next phase, and getting a feel for what this is going to be like.”

The Snohomish Senior Center is quickly working to address the needs of this new membership demographic.

In the fall, the center has plans to host “A Taste of Retirement,” inviting a large variety of vendors and presenters to introduce members to their next phase of life.

For those not inclined to start that phase yet, the center has a bank of fast wireless computers so members can update their skills and continue their job searches.

The center also has started classes for the Latin-inspired exercise craze Zumba. Members are also in the process of kicking off a biking club, which couldn’t start at a better time.

This month, ground is expected to broken on an extension of the popular hiking and biking path known as the Centennial Trail that will pass right in front of the senior center, connecting the trail with the Snohomish Riverfront Trail, Yeagley said.

Though the extension is swallowing up about 20 parking spaces for seniors, the center is trying to compensate for that loss with a bus system to shuttle seniors.

Extending the trail might prove beneficial for some seniors who could use it to get to the center. Active seniors will be able to walk out the center’s front door and go for a hike or bike ride.

These new programs have been heaped onto the standard fare of card games, bingo, ping pong and enhanced fitness classes the Snohomish Senor Center already offers.

The senior center opened in 2009 on city property. There are 642 members with upward of 10 new people wanting to join every week, Yeagley said.

“It’s a wonderful place, very friendly,” Yeagley said. “Snohomish has a strong community oriented feel.”

It was this strong community feel that helped create the center at its modern building on Fourth Street.

The center has been a presence in Snohomish since 1988, when a group of friends who wanted a place to play cards founded the organization.

The volunteer-run group moved out of a VFW Hall and into a series of temporary homes. They wanted a permanent one, but getting one was not easy.

They almost broke ground on Cypress Avenue in 2005, but the land was on the site of a pioneer graveyard. They operated at St. Michael’s Catholic Church for four years as their search continued.

Eventually, the center found land at Fourth Street and Maple Avenue. The $850,000 facility opened in March 2009, after a fundraising effort that included a combination of golf tournaments, bazaars, grants, donations and a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale.

Today, the center, run by a 15-member board, is in a colonial-style structure that fits into the historic Snohomish architecture. It has airy rooms, a large exercise area that allows in lots of natural light, a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, with Nancy Keith as facility and food coordinator, and a cozy library with comfy chairs, muted colors and warmth from a stunning stucco fireplace.

The Snohomish Senior Center is interviewing candidates in search of a new director. A qualified candidate is going to have to be able to take the center into its next phase of growth.

“The senior population is growing at a rapid rate,” Yeagley said. “The seniors that step out into the community, they do a lot better. But there are other people we want to reach so that they know the senior center is a great way to get to the next chapter in their lives.”

Get involved
This is the second in a series of profiles of senior centers throughout Snohomish and Island counties.

The Snohomish Senior Center
506 Fourth St., Snohomish 360-568-0934, www.snohomishcenter.org.

Flea market
The Snohomish Senior Center will host a flea market, rummage sale and bake sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 16.

The center’s Cottage Cafe will be open all day for meals, snacks and beverages.

The senior center will share the date with the Boys & Girls Club, 402 Second St., Snohomish, so there will be double the amount of cool stuff for sale. A shuttle will run between the two sites.

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