City OWLS program keeping adults active
A new city program for older adults might be the best ticket in town. For just $12 a year, senior adults, 50 and up, can participate in a variety of activities at the City’s Barnes Street Activity Center. The official name is City of Florence Positive Aging Program for Active Seniors 50 & Better. Because that title is a mouthful, members refer to it as OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Seniors).
Twelve-week sessions are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Barnes Street Activity Center. A new session will begin on May 24. OWLS offers computer classes, healthy cooking classes, craft sessions, guest speakers, area road trips, pickleball, yoga and more.
A class entitled “Get Your House in Order” helps participants think about and make end of life preparations. Instructors specialize in the needs of older adults and will work with individuals to help get the desired recreational experience. The most popular exercise activity at the center is pickleball. Debbie Spinazzola, a pickleball ambassador, provides orientation training for those interested in learning or participating.
Members of the Pee Dee Picklers Club, are participants in the OWLS program. “The Owls program has so much to offer to active seniors in the Florence area,” commented Sharon Webb, activity instructor with the City Recreation Dept. “I’m surprised by the number of people who come through the door thinking our activity center is just an afterschool place for kids, or by those who didn’t know the building was even here.” The program started in early December.
By the last session there were 75 people registered. Some of the day trips planned for the new OWLS sessions include trips to the Florence Museum, Pearl Fryers topiary garden in Bennettsville, S.C. State Museum and a mystery trip. Some of the activities require additional fees, Webb noted. As for speakers, representatives from Home Depot have presented demonstrations and talks on gardening, essential tools needed for the home and how to choose a light bulb.
Last week Cliff McBride, an attorney with S.C. Legal Services, spoke about the importance of wills, healthcare powers of attorney and other legal issues that older adults should know about. OWLS also hosts the AARP Smart Driver Course. Upcoming classes will be held on Friday, May 20 and on Friday, June 17, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the conference room at the Barnes St. Center.