North Delta’s Kennedy Seniors’ Recreation Centre is hosting four days of free activities next week as a way to try and attract new members.
From Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Friday, Sept. 8, the centre is hosting a plethora of free drop-in activities for adults aged 50 and over, including pickleball, contract bridge, photography, carpet bowling, watercolour painting and samba dancing.
Volunteers will also be giving tours of the air-conditioned facility — which includes a large banquet hall with sprung dance floor, a snooker room, a lounge with a fireplace, a wood shop, and a craft room with pottery kilns — while staff at Café Eighty-Ate cook up delicious meals for modest prices (typically between $5.50 and $7.50).
“We’re the best kept secret in Delta, and seriously it’s amazing how many people don’t know we’re here,” said Dave Quick, board member with the Kennedy Seniors’ Society and the centre’s director of travel and marketing.
“What we’re trying to do is get the information out there about all the different activities that we run.”
Other highlights for the week include free daily prize draws and a barbecue lunch served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, plus a wrap-up “pub night” at the centre Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring a cash bar, pizza and a 50/50 draw. Tickets for the lunch ($7.50) and pub night ($5) can be purchased in advance at the Kennedy’s front desk.
The full open house schedule is available online at delta.ca/kennedy.
“As a society, we’re geared towards providing age-limited activities and resources for seniors, whether they’re mobile or immobile,” Quick said, adding “we try to keep the costs down to the barest minimum.”
Annual memberships are $25 (free for those age 90 and over), and drop-in activities cost 35 cents a session. Bus tours, dinner-and-dance events and other such larger-scale outings typically cost $25-$30.
The centre also offers a free one-day guest pass that gives first-time visitors access to the Kennedy’s drop-in activities, and a $5 guest pass that lasts one week.
Beyond the dozens of regularly-scheduled drop-in activities on offer, the centre also boasts clubs and activity groups covering a range of interests, as well as regular classes, health seminars and clinics, “coffee with a cop” sessions, guest talks, social gatherings and monthly bus tours to destinations across the region.
Quick said other new activities are in the works, such as card games for members of the South Asian community and “walking soccer,” a program developed specifically for seniors that is big in Richmond.
“It’s a game where the ball goes no higher than the knees, and if you’ve got to go after [the ball], you’ve got to walk after it. It’s basically a passing game more than anything.”
The biggest challenge, he said, is finding time in the centre’s already packed schedule, as the Kennedy’s hours of operation aren’t quite what they were pre-COVID.
Membership is also down to roughly three-quarters of what is was before the pandemic, Quick said, but “we’re getting there.”
“There’s still a lot of people who are very leery about being out and about, especially seniors,” he said.
“We’re starting now to get [membership] built up, and this is where [the open house] comes in.”
The Kennedy Seniors’ Recreation Centre is located at 11760 88th Ave., and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. The centre is closed weekends.
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