The Block Island Times

Looking for a snazzy name for older-adult activities

Activities to start next month; get in touch with Mitchell with ideas
By Pippa Jack | Sep 25, 2012

The Senior Advisory Committee met this week and heard from new activities coordinator Kathleen Mitchell, who’s been busy organizing events — the first, a pizza night, is coming up soon — but has hit a stumbling block: what to call events?

The word “senior” is a turn off for many people, she said. “People just don’t want to be involved,” Mitchell explained. “They say that’s for old people.”

So after canvassing opinions in the community, she proposed bestowing a new name on activities aimed at older adults: “Islander’s Adventures.” So event listings might say “The Islanders will be hosting...” various activities.

But the word “islander” can sound exclusionary, worried members of the committee. So the group is seeking more input. See Mitchell’s letter below and this week’s poll on the Block Island Times website, or simply email with suggestions for what the group’s activities could be called.

The committee also discussed the Soup Group, which is going strong on Fridays, and has some new members. More are always welcome, said Gail Pearce; just come to the community center in Old Harbor Meadows (behind Aldo’s) at 12:30 p.m. any Friday.

Pearce said the group is also looking for people to sign up with Friends in Service Helping, or FISH, a group of volunteers who help people in the community do simple things like go grocery shopping. Some older people on the island use businesses like Visiting Angel, committee members said, but there’s a need to develop a formal pool of people for both paid and volunteer service positions that those in need can call in.

The committee also touched on other ongoing topics, such as the community bulletin board — it’s going strong — and the need for an emergency alert system, whether by automatic telephone service — Ann Henault’s been researching pricing — or something like the whistle that used to sound every day at noon. The committee is still exploring the best solution, and agreed to get information from the town about the cost of restoring the whistle to working order.

Mitchell was upbeat and inspiring as she talked about getting programs going. Here’s her open letter to the community, asking for input and laying out what to expect as her programs get rolling in the fall:

I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF A SENIOR CITIZEN EITHER! I am just like you, looking for something fun that I can share with other people on the island — those that I already know, and those that I would like to get to know.

So what do I have in store for you as the Senior Coordinator of the Senior Advisory Committee? (Who thought of those names anyway?) I have adventures in store for all of you! We are NOT the Senior Citizens! We are people of all ages and all talents and all backgrounds. We are collectively an incredible group and we have so much to offer each other and share with each other. So much, in fact, we could be busy every day of the year, but for now we are planning a few activities throughout the off season to see what interests you and to see what days and times work best for you.

Okay, now that we have that cleared up, lets move on to the nitty-gritty.

NAME OF OUR AGELESS, TIMELESS, PRICELESS GROUP: Well we are not completely sure yet. We want you to give us your thoughts! Please enter the poll online at or email Don’t worry, no one will think your suggestions are silly! It’s hard to come up with a good name but we want to capture a spirit of fun and inclusiveness, and I would really appreciate your help.

AGE RANGE: Approximately between 50 and 100 years of age. It’s that simple, it’s for those of us that are no longer busy running our lives or our children in a million directions and need an excuse to sneak out of the house. And, maybe, even an excuse to get off the couch, or to laugh a lot or lose a little weight or learn something new. (Yes, of course, some of these activities will include a nibble.)

SOLE PURPOSE OF GATHERING: For socialization and stimulation! Stay young at any age. Keep that body moving and keep that brain a’grooving. I don’t feel old, do you? Bring that young at heart person with you and let’s spend some time together.

TIMES: Right now I am scheduling activities at all different times, early morning, mid morning, noon time, afternoon, dinner and early evening. I need to learn which times are best for each activity. Don’t worry if you can’t make it one time, I will try to rotate times when possible. Also, many times will be dependent on who is hosting each adventure that I have in store for you.

LOCATION: Well the Community Center was created for the entire community to enjoy, so that is where many activities will be. It is a lovely building in the center of town with parking available. But many activities will take place elsewhere — so stay tuned. Some of our get togethers are being hosted at people’s homes and all of you are especially welcome. (See below.) Eventually, we will have some off island adventures as well.

Wait, don’t stop reading yet!

WHO IS WELCOME: Anyone and everyone. These activities are for you, especially for you! Even if you don’t get out and hang out, now is the time! There is no better time than now. Everyone is welcome. Please come. I am personally inviting each and every one of you. I am especially looking forward to spending time with those of you that I never have a chance to visit with. We always wave hello but we’ve never made a chance to get to know each other. This will be the perfect time for that.

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation is available. We are working hard to make it available to everyone, day or night, but we need to know in advance. We understand that driving can be difficult, especially in the evening, so please ask us so we can get you there and back.

COST: Well I am trying my hardest to keep as many activities as possible free. I have been asking your friends and neighbors to volunteer their time and expenses and as you know people are always so generous. That being said, I don’t want to be asking everyone for everything so if you are able to contribute or donate something, please do so. For example, we are going to be doing lots of cooking and eating, so stay tuned and maybe you can bring something on the shopping list to defray costs. IF NOT, NOT TO WORRY! We want you to come anyway! If there is a fee associated and you don’t have it, we have scholarships available, and it’s private. Period. So don’t let that stop you from joining us.

QUESTIONS: Call me at 466-5419 ext. #2 for Senior Coordinator, email me at, write to me at Box 220, Block Island, RI, or say hello when you see me.

***Our first gathering will be at the home of Tom and Pat Doyle. They are featuring “Tuscany Today” on Sunday, September 30 from 12-2. Join them for a sharing of authentic Tuscan recipes and a chance to make your own dough to bring home so you will always be prepared to serve your family and friends. Then join the Doyle’s in eating the delicious pizza that you will create! All you need to do is bring your own mixing bowl and a topping for the pizza (other than the cheese and sauce). More details are to come, but you should know that this gathering will be limited to 15 people so call 466-5419 and leave me your name and number so you too can be tasting a little of Tuscany!

Okay, so that’s enough for now. Stay tuned for details that can be found in the Block Island Times. See you in September!

P.S. Is there anyone out there that practices Tai Chi or meditation and would like to lead us, or would like to join us wanna-bes? If so, please let me know.

—Kathleen Mitchell


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