Community Center expands offerings

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 Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Receptionist Barb Barker and interim director Annie Tomlinson play a game of dominos at the Mount Sterling Community Center. Area residents who are 55 or older are invited to enjoy games, coffee and conversation every Monday morning as part of the center’s Sterling Socialites program.

Organizers of the Mount Sterling Community Center are making a concerted effort to reach out to residents of all ages, but especially those at either end of the age spectrum.

“We are really trying to focus this year on youth activities and more activities for senior citizens,” said Annie Tomlinson, the center’s interim director.

To that end, the center has added several new programs and made adjustments to some of its many existing programs. All take place at the center, 164 E. Main St., next to Veterans Field.

Spring Break Day Camp

In the past, the center has hosted summer day camps for youngsters. For the first time, they will hold a spring break day camp. The program will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. March 25-27.

Participants will learn about the geography, food and music of Mexico, Jamaica and Hawaii. For craft projects, kindergarten and first-graders will make nametags for suitcases; second- through fifth-graders will make passports to stamp.

Registration is required and medical forms must be filled out by March 20.

Sterling Socialites

A new offering called Sterling Socialites invites people 55 and older to hang out at the community center between 10 a.m. and noon on Mondays.

“It’s not a club. It’s an open time for any-one to come in and socialize,” Tomlinson said. “You can play cards, get some coffee, play dominos… We want to provide a central location for people to come to get out of the house and meet new people.”

Open Gym

The center’s full-size gym is one of its most popular features, so popular, in fact, that extra sessions of open gym have been added to the weekly schedule.

“We were getting 40 to 45 people in here on Mondays and Tuesdays for open gyms, so we broke it up and changed the times,” Tomlinson said.

Now, youths who are middle school-age and younger have the gym to themselves from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Adults, high school age and above, have their own gym time from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Tomlinson noted that the center has seen an increase in adult participation since February, with as many as 25 adults taking part in each session.

“All open gyms are supervised and include the game room where we have air hockey, foosball and pool,” she said.

Volunteers are needed to open and man the gym from 7 to 9 a.m. two or three days per week for residents to walk indoors.

Men’s Bible Study

Another new program targets men, ages 16 and older. The program combines bible study and basketball and takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Registration is not required.

ID cards

Besides program additions, the community center plans to issue ID cards to all center users. Currently, visitors sign in and sign out. By the end of March, visitors and center workers will run picture ID cards through a card reader.

“The system will help us track how many people use the center and how many volunteer hours are put in, which is a good thing for grant writing,” Tomlinson said. “It also allows us to know who is in the center at all times, in case of emergencies, and it increases efficiency.”

Upcoming Events

The Mount Sterling Community Center is located at 164 E. Main St. Call 740-869-2453.

Monday, March 17: Sterling Socialites, 10 a.m. to noon; open gym for youths, 4-5:30 p.m.; open gym for adults, 5:30-7 p.m.; Red Cross adult CPR, 5-9:30 p.m.; GED/ABLE, 6 to 9 p.m.; Upward basketball, 7-8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 18: Bible study, 9-10 a.m.; tutoring for 3rd-5th grade, 2-4 p.m.; food/clothing pantry, 4-7 p.m.; open gym for adults, 5-7 p.m.; TOPS, 6-6:45 p.m.; men’s bible study, basketball, 7-9 p.m; Alcoholics Anonymous, 8-9 p.m.

Wednesday, March 19: Adult sewing, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; adult counseling, noon-6:30 p.m.; open gym for youths, 4:30-6:30 p.m.; boys AAU basketball practice, 6:30-8 p.m.

Thursday, March 20: Food/clothing pantry, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; tutoring for 3rd-5th grade, 2-4 p.m.; girls AAU basketball, 5-7 p.m.  

Friday, March 21: Help Me Grow, 10-11 a.m.; girls AAU basketball, 5-7 p.m.; Friday Night Live, 8:30-11 p.m.

Saturday, March 22: Sewing, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 23: Sterling Grace church services, 6-8 p.m.; Alcoholics Anonymous, 7-8 p.m.; Depression/Bi-polar Support Group, 8 p.m.

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