Time to be a senior. Scottville senior center’s Visscher moves into retirement.
By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
SCOTTVILLE — Marcia Visscher has been at the helm of the Scottville Area Senior Center for nearly five years. Next week, she will step down as director and move into the role of retiree.
“I’ve loved it, it’s been so much fun,” she said. “I stepped into a system that was already established. The center had been here 40 years when I began and thanks to great past leadership and also the oversight of Mason County Central Schools, I was able to easily move into the position without many difficult challenges.”
The senior center recently celebrated its 45th year. In that time, the center has only had three directors, Mary Jo Holmes, Donna Addington, and Visscher. “I think that says a lot about the wonderful people who visit the center, this town, and the school system,” Visscher said. “The Scottville center is unique because the school is the fiduciary. But, I also believe that speaks volumes about Mason County Central’s commitment as a true public school system, that serves all ages of the community’s population.”
Mason County consists of four senior centers. The Ludington Senior Center is operated by the City of Ludington, the Tallman and Free Soil centers operate independently. However, all four cooperate and share resources, Visscher said. “Most counties in Michigan have a council on aging commission that decimates federal and state funds. In Mason County, we have a council on aging, but is only an advisory board. We definitely share resources and programming.”
Visscher said one of the accomplishments she is most proud of during her tenure is the updating of the center’s website and newsletter.
“We have an aging population that is becoming very familiar with modern technology,” she said. “It’s invaluable that the senior center keep up with that technology and adapt. In fact, we spend a lot of our time helping seniors learn about their tablets and mobile phones.”
Helping with technology is just one of the many services the senior center offers.
“The senior center is a place for people to come for recreation and socialization,” Visscher said. “It is vital to healthy again that a person be active. We offer exercise and social activities. The center serves lunch every day, served by the school food service. This is a gathering place so people aren’t isolated. This is especially important for seniors who are single, or have lost their spouse.”
The center also assists lower income seniors with income taxes, along with many other resources, and it provides transportation for medical appointments. Funds for such programs are provided through the US. Older Americans Act funds.
While the center is open to all ages, services, by law, are for people aged 60 and older. Visscher said efforts are made to assist younger people through other resources, when necessary.
Visscher added that she is proud that the center has increased its involvement in the community and has also become more visible.
“We are open and host some sort of activity during Scottville events,” she said. “We are now the polling place for the city’s voters, which I think gives the community great exposure to our center.”
The Mason County Central Board of Education is expected to take action on hiring a new director during its next monthly meeting. In the meantime, Visscher is preparing to become a “senior” herself. She said she and her husband will spend the winter in Arizona. However, she plans to continue to be involved in Scottville.
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