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Create the Good: a community walking program

The Ross Aragon Community Center gym was filled last Wednesday with our people completing forms, quizzing our dietician, getting their blood pressure taken, learning about the File for Life, hearing about the Create the Good walking program, getting their pedometers and doing laps.

A surprising 118 people showed up.

What is the party, you ask? It is the Fox Trot Challenge, a 10-week walking program, sponsored by the AARP Walking Program and another AARP program entitled Create the Good.

Create the Good is a community walking program, and the AARP Walking Program is a pedometer, step-measured walking program.

Both programs are evidence-based, scientifically proven effective regimens. Research shows that walking is a gate-way sport. People who start walking are likely to venture into other athletic pursuits. Walking five times a week for 30 minutes a day has been proven to improve general health. And here’s the best part. Eighty-three percent of the people who participate in these programs report that they will continue walking. Boring facts maybe, yet 118 people signed up to make their lives better with nothing but their shoes and a plan.

The Fox Trot Challenge Kickoff included several community organizations. The Emergency Medical Technicians from the Upper San Juan Hospital District, Carrie Trumble and Debbie Calavan graciously took people’s blood pressure and distributed Files for Life. Too many people discovered they had high blood pressure. Files for Life are magnetized health records that people put on their refrigerators for ambulance crews to find in case of an emergency.

Jennie Pritchard, our registered dietician, came over from Durango to give solicited advice and samples.

Several good-hearted county employees volunteered their time to assist with forms and pedometer training.

The community center allowed us use of the gym.

Our people’s goals are as varied as their levels of fitness. Sammy Martinez wants to do as many steps as possible with the use of his cane. Betty Reynolds wants to be able to climb the Eiffel Tower at the end of her 10 weeks. John Egan wants to complete a 5K for his birthday. One sweet lady, homebound and on oxygen, just wants to do a little more each day around her house.

After only a day, I see evidence of a difference. Bruce, instead of drinking coffee on his break from driving the Mountain Express bus, was walking around outside. The Foxy Ladies were doing laps and planning walking outings. Teams formed for competition, complete with creative trash talk. New residents hooked up with dining room regulars for walking partners. Walk leaders were cooking up motivational strategies. The good has begun and I can’t wait to see how it plays out over the next 10 weeks.

If you missed the opportunity to sign up for the Fox Trot Challenge, don’t miss the opportunity to Create the Good for yourself and your friends by walking. I have the Walking Group Tool Kit in my office and would be delighted to give you a copy. Come to the Silver Foxes Den at 451 Hot Springs Blvd., on the opposite end of the building from the community center office.

Texas Hold ’Em poker

Most every Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m., a group of five to 10 people gather to play poker. And most every Wednesday the laughter is so loud I have to leave my desk to hear for myself what was so funny, or what the yelling was about or what was the naughty thing Kurt said. Our own Eddie Bennett deals and gives sage advice for holding ‘em or folding ‘em. The players take turns bringing root beer and ice cream. Every player is at a different level and some people just come for the root beer floats. You are welcome to play a few hands or stay until they quit — usually about two hours.

Fox Trot speakers

Game On! The Fox Trot Challenge has begun! Our guest speakers this month are: Judge Greg Lyman — May 3; Lindsey Kurt Mason — May 14; Ming Steen — May 19;Nancy Dickhoff — May 25.

Judge Lyman was an Olympic speedskater, Lindsey Kurt Mason does calisthenics from the roof of the elementary school in tights (and coaches high school soccer), Ming Steen is a super athlete and manager of the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, and our own Nancy Dickhoff, chef extraordinaire, is also a secret athlete. Speakers begin at 12:45 p.m.

Art in the afternoon

Join us at Serenity Trail Gallery Wednesday, May 5, at 1:30 p.m. at Talisman and Village drives (behind the City Market) for art and cookies. This third exhibit entitled “Spring Awakening” features the transformative quilts created by artist Alison Goss, and the Gemstone Angels of our own Lynnzie Sutton. Accompanying their work will be Wild Flower Photo Art by Jim Plant and Connie Giffin.

Thank you

Thank you to the Hot Springs Resort for our free day at the springs.

Thank you to Cristin Robertson for letting us use the community center gym for our Fox Trot Challenge.

Thank you to my fellow beloved county employees Joanna Bila, Jennifer Barter, Steve Dinsenbacher, Mitzi Bowman and Chris Scarpa for manning the tables at the Fox Trot kickoff. You guys are wonderful.

Thank you to Jenny Pritchard, our registered dietician, EMT Carrie Trumble and EMT Debbie Calavan for bringing us nutritious samples and recipes, taking our blood pressure and bringing us the Files for Life.

Craft and jewelry sale

On Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we are having a craft and jewelry sale in our dining room. Booths will be $25. Now is the time to make things and look through your current jewelry that you don’t need. We will also be selling refreshments, including cinnamon rolls. Yummmm. Interested? Space is limited, so please sign up early. Call me, 264-2167.

Meals service

Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals on Thursdays. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities

Friday, April 30 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Book Club 10:30 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m. Birthday lunch.

Monday, May 3 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Judge Greg Lyman 12:45 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 4 — Blood pressure checks 11 a.m., Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.; Healthy Living Class 1 p.m.

Wednesday, May 5 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; poker 1 p.m.; Writing for Generations 1 p.m., Art in the Afternoon 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 6 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, May 7 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; book club 10:30 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Parkinson’s support group 1 p.m.

Medical expenses

The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses.? Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care.?Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2010 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, April 30 — Barbecue ribs, corn on the cob, seasoned greens, potato salad, watermelon.

Monday, May 3 — Meat lasagna, herb green beans, seasoned cabbage, banana, Italian bread.

Tuesday, May 4 — Roast pork, whipped potatoes, parslied carrots, strawberry Jell-O, roll.

Wednesday, May 5 — Thai chicken, fettuccine, green beans, peaches, roll.

Thursday, May 6 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, May 7 — Oven fried chicken, spinach mandarin salad, potato salad, peaches, cornbread.