Seniors came out to celebrate the themed parties, weekly lunches, bingo and a host of other activities offered by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.
The crowd of more than 100 people gathered on April 1 for a special luncheon at the Irwin Center to mark the occasion with a celebratory cake and a 50th anniversary trivia quiz to jog the guests’ memories: What year did Irons Oaks open? (1972) What year did Patriots Park open? (2001) How many national Gold Medals has the park district won? (3).
“For me it’s been a wonderful 23 years of fun, participation and socialization,” said Judi Polo Sinclair of Homewood who helps organize a number of programs, including the “Let’s Do Lunch” series each Wednesday and the park’s adult bowling league.
She congratulated the H-F park district board and staff for their continued interest in programs geared toward seniors. Programs are as varied as drawing and painting classes, line dancing, chair yoga and age 50 and over co-rec volleyball. And of course, the lunches and day trips.
“The 55+ Program is great. The party luncheons are awesome, providing a fun day out close to home, reasonably priced, with delicious meals, great entertainment and engaging conversation,” she said.
Barbara Ballantine of Homewood joined the program in 1990 so she could develop a new group of friends before she retired.
“You know all the people from the parties and I take the day trips. It’s a good group,” Ballantine said. When she first joined, she volunteered for the Starry Nights program, and over the years she was a regular volunteer for park programs.
Homewood’s Mary Cantway, 104 years old, remembers volunteering for Starry Nights and sitting out on the lawn with Marie and Richard Irwin, whose gift made the Irwin Center possible. She was a volunteer on the Senior Living Committee and has been enjoying the lunches for many years.
When Elaine Smith moved to Homewood, it was her daughter-in-law who encouraged her to join the 55+ Program lunch crowd. She and her friend, Mary Gregori, said they have a good time.
“We’ve been coming for more than five years,” Gregori said. “We go on the trips. I’ve done Wii bowling and we play bingo too, after the Wednesday luncheons. It’s a nice organization.”