GALION — Offering everything from bingo, exercise classes and day trips, Galion’s Golden Age Club is a place where area senior citizens can socialize with each other, while also giving back to the community.
“We provide a family-like environment for approximately 80 members,” said Jenni Leuthold, operations manager at the club. ” Some of these members would have no other place to go for community and social engagement. Some members have no family near them and have adopted the club as their family.”
The Golden Age Club has been around since 1953 and board president Judy Gibson said it started out as part of the Trouble Clinic. “And then it split off from that and the United Way was started because of us and the Trouble Clinic,” she said. “Back then there was a lot of big businesses and they supported us. Well, they’re all gone.”
And she noted funding will also be down this year because the United Way decided not to contribute to the Golden Age Club.
Treasurer Sandra Lane said the building is on the Ohio Historical registry and they are trying to get on the national registry because that will open up other funding opportunities.
“Most of the grants we get are moving away from giving us operating money,” she said. “Like everybody else we have bills for heating, electric, property taxes, stuff like that.” She said the basic monthly bills at the Golden Age Club are around $2,500.
“The main purpose (of the Golden Age Club) is to keep the elderly people in Galion from sitting at home … to get them active,” Gibson said.
“To keep them active, social and engaged,” added Leuthold.
“What happens when you sit at home? You get depressed, when you get depressed you get sick and when you get sick, you die,” Gibson said. “We’re trying to keep people from dying.”
Gibson pointed out the Council on Aging has buses and will transport seniors to the Golden Age Club.
Another attribute of the club is that the Meals on Wheels program offers lunch at the building, located at 301 South Market St., five days a week.
“They come in here and have lunch and can interact with each other. That gets them out five days a week. Some of them are members here and they stay and do things with us” Gibson noted.
“We cut up in here. We have fun,” Gibson said. “Some of the things we’ve been doing the last year are fundraisers. And we get some grants.” She said many of the grants provide funding for day trips and several members went on day trips this year to Put-In-Bay and Pleasant Hill. “We’re doing things like that that don’t cost lots, and I think everybody is happy that we can do some of these things,” she added.
The Golden Age Club offers a plethora of activities and events. They have craft days on Mondays, euchre on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, monthly birthday parties for members, holiday parties and dinners, bingo, live music the last Thursday of the month – which is open to the public. They also have a Alzheimer’s Association speaker ever few months, game day on Thursday, and Grub Club once a month where members gather at a restaurant to each lunch.
There is also movie and popcorn on the last Friday of each month, chair yoga and chair fitness and ‘Fit with Jen’ where Leuthold holds fitness instruction on the second floor gym where there is all types of workout equipment, along with weights.
Leuthold noted this space is also rented by Judge Shane Leuthold and Municipal Court of Crawford County for the reinvention program and they are the ones who purchased all the equipment in the room. Jenni said the reinvention program is where people with misdemeanor offenses — with jail time over their heads — are released to a sober house and come to workout at the center once per day.
“They only use the space during the evenings and we can use the space during the day,” Jenni said. She noted Golden Age Club members can use the gym between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
Jenni said a monthly calendar goes out to members where activities and events are announced. She also said people can access their Facebook page at facebook.com/galiongoldenage.
Besides catering to members, the Golden Age Club also gives back to the community. They offer space to Douce Dance for children once a week, adopt a child for Christmas with Crawford County Children Services, and they also set up a table at the Third Friday events. Flu shot clinics are offered twice in the fall at the club and hearing testing is also offered. “We also support the Community Action Center…give them clothing and things like that,” Gibson said. “So we are active, and we are out doing things.”
Lane said anyone wanting to donate to the Golden Age Club can do do so at any time. “We just sent out a mailing and got a generous contribution from somebody,” she noted.
Gibson said the club also holds fundraisers to help offset the costs, as well as dinners, bake sales, fall and spring rummage and craft sales, bazaars, thrift store sales, raffles and cookouts.
To become a member of the Golden Age Club, people need to be 50 years old or older and pay a $25 a year membership fee. For more information, \call 419-468-5152
Jenni Leuthold, operations manager at Galions Golden Age Club, shows off some of the exercise equipment members are welcome to use.
Galion’s Golden Age Club has plenty of available space to use for bake sales, dinners, parties, craft shows and bazaars. The club is open to anyone over the age of 50 and offers senior citizens a chance to socialize with others.
Located in the old armory at the corner of South Market and Walnut streets, the building occupied by the Galion Golden Age Club is on the Ohio Historical registry and they are trying to get on the national registry because that will open up more funding opportunities.