Pa. seniors gather for fun

May 22, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Seniors from all around Franklin County gathered at Wilson College Thursday to meet old friends, make a few new ones and generally have a good time.

It was the first Senior Fun Day sponsored by the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging. The event attracted several hundred seniors to the college campus.

Fun Day was a replacement for the once popular Senior Olympics, attendance at which has been dwindling in recent years, said Barbara Bream, director of the county's seven senior centers.


"We did a survey and people told us they didn't want to compete anymore," Bream said. "They just want to have fun."

And fun they had. The seniors learned about computers, healthy cooking and weaving. Outside under the campus's spreading beech trees they played bocce, miniature golf and horseshoes. They flung Frisbees and bean bags on Wilson's lush green lawns. Inside, they played cards and ping pong and ate a chicken lunch.

And, in keeping with their stage in life, they signed up for stroke screening and blood pressure checks.

"I just love it out here in the sun," said Anna Stockslager, 76, of Fayetteville, Pa. "I try to get in all the games. It gets the blood moving. And it's a good way to see people I haven't seen for a while."

Stockslager was standing near the bocce court with Mary Hays, 87 of Chambersburg. She likes the card games, especially 500, she said. Hays said she lost her husband, Roy, in March and doesn't get out as much anymore. "I don't drive," she said.

Behind the two women a row of lawn chairs lined the sidewalk on its way to the dining hall. People sat, talked and soaked up the sun. They looked too content to bother with the games that were going on all around them.

In a classroom across the campus a dozen seniors were bent over computer screens listening intently as Phil Wolgemuth, the instructor, walked them through basic commands.

"This is the first time most of these people have ever touched a computer," Wolgemuth said.

Vera Lensbower, 72, of Chambersburg, said she always wanted to learn how to run a computer. "My son has one at the house and if I can learn something about it I'll be able to use it," she said.

Dorothy Barnhart, 70, also of Chambersburg, said she knows enough about computers to play games on them. "Maybe I can learn a few things."

A. Gruen, 77, a retired Franklin County veterinarian who now lives at Menno Haven, a complex for the elderly, was also taking the computer class. "I have my own computer at home, but I have a lot to learn," he said. "I'm hoping to pick up a few pointers here."

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