WELLS — Want to hear about lunar eclipses, help get a book club kicked off, and learn about Zentangle Meditative Drawing? You can do all three this month at the Wells and Ogunquit Center at Moody (WOCAM). That’s in addition to the multitude of craft, exercise, card, and game activities that happen there every day. This year, the center has a new center manager to keep things coordinated.
Her name is Kendra Fowler and I visited the very active center on a recent Thursday to talk with her and hear her thoughts about the center, its role in the community, and plans for the future.
“Our motto is ‘Where Seniors Shine,'” she said. “I want to do everything we can to live up to that motto. How can we encourage that type of environment?”
Fowler’s position is subsidized by York Hospital, allowing her to spend 30 hours - spread over five days - each week on the job.
“Having gone through the (employee) orientation at York Hospital, they stress their ‘loving care’ motto,” Fowler said. “That resonated a lot with me. I’m mission-oriented. (York Hospital’s) mission is what I hope I can bring here. I want people to come in here and have a feeling of family, that it’s like a warm hug. That already exists here, and I’d like to expand on it.”
Fowler spoke about the center’s board, some of whom were involved with WOCAM’s creation, and membership and how much work they do, including fundraising, to keep the center the active and vital place that it has been through the years. She also talked about how local businesses have supported WOCAM in a variety of ways, citing as examples the fundraising dinners annually put on by Billy’s Chowder House and Varano’s, as well as support by businesses and local organizations for the center’s Warming Saturdays, providing food and entertainment each week.
The aforementioned book club is an example of reaching out to a community organization, in this case the Wells Public Library. “Reading is very common and popular here,” Fowler noted. “I knew some people would be interested in a book club. I asked the library if they’d be willing to come and lead us through how to start a successful book club. (Library staff member) Andrea Kazilionis volunteered and will come help us start it. It will be the members’ book club, not mine.” That kick off session will happen at 10 a.m. on Jan. 28.
Another thing Fowler has undertaken, again with help of the center’s members, is a survey of members’ preferences for new activities, focusing on topics that include health and wellness, information sessions, arts and crafts, sports and fitness, and trips.
“We have been working on a needs assessment,” said Fowler. “What do people want? What can we do to expand the activities? We’re doing a survey now. People are filling it out and we’re getting great responses. It’s about figuring out what we can offer.”
The part of the survey dealing with trips looks at single day as well as multi-day trips. “I’m excited about working with (members) Ann Lombardi and Barbara Wefers on offering more trips,” said Fowler.
I asked Fowler about an upcoming series of art classes for beginners offered by noted local artist Virginia Souza at 1 p.m. on Jan. 14, 21, and 28 ($20 per class). “I’m also talking to her about doing an art activity,” Fowler said. “Virginia also works on the newsletter with me. We want more pictures, to see people in action, and focus on what’s going on in the center. Virginia’s been great.”
Fowler comes to WOCAM with professional experience in events and product development, having worked as a vice president at Staff Development for Educators, a New Hampshire-based organization that offered professional development for educators in the pre-K through 12th grades. She was responsible for coordinating a staff that staged more than 200 seminars and conferences, some of them national, each year.
Now her focus is on serving the members of WOCAM. “When I drive home at night, I think of our motto and I ask how shiny was today?” Fowler said. “I ask myself that after every day.”