Mar. 31, 2011
It's that time of year again when members of the Golden Bears at Shawnee State University sign up for another year.
More than 600 Scioto County seniors are members of the Golden Bears at SSU and each member, both old and new, must sign up each year by filling out a new application.
The kickoff for signing up begins Monday, April 11 at the Warsaw Natatorium in the James A. Rhodes Athletic Center and anytime after that throughout the year.
In order to join the Golden Bears, a person must be a Scioto County resident 60 years of age or older and have proof of age at sign-up. Membership is free.
If a person is already a member, they must complete a new application and update ID cards with any new medical information including medications. This includes Golden Bears who are ushers at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
Applications are at the front desk of the Rhodes Athletic Center on the SSU campus. The entrance and parking is in the rear of the Athletic Center from the Front Street entrance.
The holistic program was formed to promote good health and encourage emotional and social wellbeing for individuals 60 years of age and older.
The benefits of membership include use of the swimming pool, cardio weight room, racquetball courts and gymnasium for walking.
Exercise programs, educational activities on healthy living, social events, assisting with special projects sponsored by the university and attending university classes for free are a few opportunities for Golden Bears.
One room at the Warsaw Natatorium is the Golden Bears Lounge where people meet and socialize. Three days a week several Golden Bears play euchre.
The pool is reserved for Golden Bears from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. All other areas of the Natatorium are open for use by all members and students. Dance instructor Lynsi Eason teaches zumba twice a week.
Some of the social events are parties, trips and dinners. Every month a birthday cake is provided to celebrate the birthdays of everyone born in that month.
In May, the Golden Bears participate in a Hospice Walk that raised more than $3,500 last year. From September to May, the Golden Bears go bowling. Sometimes they volunteer to usher for events at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. This past year, the library had special computer classes for them.
Heartland of Portsmouth provides free health screenings once a month for the Golden Bears at the Athletic Center.
"Our Golden Bears are a very healthy group because of their exercising and socializing on a regular basis," said Barbara Pratt, coordinator of the Golden Bears program. "I know people in other surrounding counties and Kentucky residents would love to be a part of the program, but because of the guidelines of the grant, we cannot include them."
All athletic events are free to members also with a special seating section at the basketball games. About 60 Golden Bears usually attend each game.
The Golden Bears holistic program is available through a grant sponsored by the Scioto County commissioners.