By David Markham
Providing opportunities for area residents ages 50 and older to learn more about local businesses and to explore the world of wellness as it applies to them are goals of two annual special events planned by JCPRD’s 50 Plus Department during September.
The events are Live Well Age Well, which will again be presented as a free virtual event on the mornings of Sept. 14 and 15, and Step Into Wellness, which will be an in-person event on Sept. 28 at Meadowbrook Park. Special Event Chili Bingo is another 50 Plus event, which will close out the month on Sept. 30 at the Roeland Park Community Center. All three events require advance registration.
Now in its eleventh year, Live Well Age Well will feature local experts who will engage on topics meant to provide tips, resources, and take-aways that are available online or right here in our community. The event is free to all attendees and will feature educational sessions over the course of two days, online resources, demonstrations, and door prizes.
“We just hope it’s a morning full of learning that’s engaging and interesting,” said 50 Plus Manager Michelle Alexander. “We have a keynote speaker this year which is exciting. His name is Brian Rife. He’s a life coach consultant, a professional speaker, and he is full of energy! He’ll be giving us tips and tricks to break down barriers, be brave, and continue to live our best life every day. We’ve also partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association this year which is a really awesome addition. We look forward to a continued partnership with that group. Of course I’m always impressed with our fellow county agencies which provide education and we’ll get to hear from many of them this year again. It’s hard to pick a favorite because we’ve carefully selected a really great line up!”
This will be the second year this event is presented virtually.
“We’ve made a few adjustments here and there based on feedback we received from last year’s participant surveys, but it’s relatively the same,” Alexander said. “We have added a Virtual Prize Wheel in place of Bingo for our door prizes. It’s an easier way for all participants to join in on the fun and possibly win a prize!”
Live Well Age Wells sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 on Tuesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 15. To see an agenda for this year’s presentations, go to jcprd.com/livewellagewell which is being updated regularly with session descriptions and speaker biographies. On the days of the event, a page will also be available for health screening resources and vendor resources.
Even though this program is virtual and free, preregistration is required and space is limited. Participants who register by Sept. 8 will receive an event bag full of important program details, resources, and a bit of “swag” too, which they can pick up on Monday, Sept. 13, at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, Roeland Park Community Center, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, New Century Fieldhouse, and Antioch Park. Additional pick-up details will be communicated via email to registered participants.
The 26th installment of an annual special event called Step Into Wellness (previously In Step and In Shape), will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Meadowbrook Park and Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village. Social distancing and COVID-19 safe practices will be encouraged during this program.
“We would like participants to come and have a fun, active morning in our park with activities geared towards 50 Plus,” said 50 Plus Special Events and Travel Specialist Kari Baesel. “Participants will learn how to incorporate different wellness activities into their daily life for a positive effect on different aspects of their body. These activities include a upbeat fitness class, brain activities and a low intensely chair workout.”
This year’s event will begin at 9 a.m. Participants will sample a variety of exercise classes with instructor demo’s, wellness activities, and visiting with local businesses. There will also be an energizing walk through Meadowbrook Park with two different walking options measuring one and one-and-one-half available to suit varying fitness levels.
The cost for this two-and-one-half-hour event is $5 per person for Johnson County residents or $6 per person for nonresidents, and includes breakfast.
Special Event Chili Bingo is meant as an opportunity to celebrate the changing of the seasons, and to meet new friends over a mild chili, salad, and cinnamon roll dinner. It’s a Kansas thing! A dozen games of bingo are included. Bingo prizes can range from gift cards to gift baskets. Everyone who participates will receive a special fall-themed gift.
This program will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park. The cost for one two-and-one-half session is $15 per person for Johnson County residents or $16 per person for nonresidents. Cost of admission covers food and staff time to administer the bingo program. No additional charge for bingo. Please register by Sept. 23.
While JCPRD’s 50 Plus programs are primarily for people who are age 50 or older, interested parties who have not yet reached that magic age may still be able to attend. Persons 18 and older who are interested in a 50 Plus class are invited to call the 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-2975 for space availability.
JCPRD’s 50 Plus Department is about two thirds through its golden anniversary year, and has received many positive reactions to its celebration efforts so far.
“Our participants have loved all the effort we’ve put forth to educate them about our anniversary,” said Alexander. “We’ve split the year up to celebrate the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s and themed a variety of events around those decades. They are also surprised we’ve been providing recreation opportunities for older adults in our county for so long! It’s a tradition of excellence as staff strive to maintain this momentum and intend to pass along this tradition to generations to come. “
Since 1971, JCPRD’s 50 Plus Department has provided tools, resources, and outlets to help older adults of Johnson County and beyond live and age well. This takes the form of hundreds of programs and special events offered each year, and an extended travel program that has taken people all over the US and around the world for the past 48 years. To explore current 50 Plus offerings, visit https://jcprd.com/170/50-Plus.