Earlier this year several adults joined the St. Charles Park District for a mystery outing. They paid their nominal program fee, boarded the small bus with Lynne Yuill, supervisor for the Adult Activity Center. She planed the mystery day trip that included visit to a local dairy farm, lunch and a special dessert at The Milk House in Pingree Grove where participants even got a behind-the-scenes visit in the popular ice cream destination.
“I gave them a few hints, but they signed up and trusted that I would provide them a great day out,” Yuill said. “They had a blast and we discovered a local hidden treasure.”
Whether it’s daytrips or local lunches, educational programs or holiday parties, Yuill is always planning something worth adding to the calendar for the members and guests of the Adult Activity Center, which is dedicated for adults ages 50 and older.
Some know the AAC for its catalog of activities and events in the back of the seasonal park district catalog, but it also refers to the physical location inside the Pottawatomie Community Center where members and daily guests can drop in to use the computers, visit the library, join a lively card game or find a quiet place to sit and read. There are those who are regulars for a game of pinnacle and those who visit with a friend to catch a program or special event. The center is open daily and membership is $15 per year for park district residents and $23 for non-residents and with membership is discounted rates for activities and programming.
Having a designated location makes it easier to host programming. Yuill keeps calendar of activities, trying her best to find something to for everyone’s interest, which can be a challenge when you have such a wide age range. While she said most participants are in their 70s and 80s, there are active members in their early 90s as well as younger members in their 50s.
“We have those who are newly retired and someone who just celebrated her 92nd birthday,” Yuill said. “Some drop in to watch Jeopardy together, some hang out with friends engaging in drop in programs while others just like the change of scenery to come in and read the newspaper.”
And she’s always trying something new. This summer she hosted a chair volleyball match that was full of laughs, and a few bumps and serves.
Along with events and programs at the center, she also coordinates off-site activities, including monthly lunches around town, musical and theater shows, and daytrips. Even before the trees began to change colors with the season she had filled most of her daytrips on the fall calendar. Pat Reding said she likes how Yuill uses a scale of 1-3 to show how much walking is involved, so she can select which outings will work best.
“I use a walker so it’s helpful to me to see how much activity is involved,” said Reding, who took part in a daytrip to Milwaukee this summer adding it was a great trip.
Reding is also a member of the advisory board that meets with Yuill and lends input in the programming and events for the Adult Activity Center.
“They always give me great ideas,” Yuill said.
It was the advisory board that helped develop the program for Kindness Day, where members assembled small gift bags that included toiletries and treats that they distributed to residents of a local memory care center. While it was a small program, it had a big effect and participants encouraged Yuill to find another facility to partner with to repeat the program.
“Just because we are seniors doesn’t mean we can’t do things for others,” Reding said. “It makes you feel so good to give.”
Yuill is wrapping up details on one of the biggest events of the year, the holiday celebration, Jingle Bell Bash, featuring a lunch, live entertainment and dancing. This year the party returns to the Speakeasy at the Arcada Theatre. The event draws groups of friends, couples and she’s looking forward to the annual celebration.
“The Speakeasy has a 1920s vibe with the décor and feel, we even have a password for when you exit the elevator,” she added.
And she’s already planning another mystery trip for the winter season, researching different venues and activities, so even on a day with gray clouds and chilly temps, there’s a great reason to get out and be with friends. For more details, visit stcparks.org/aac