Outdoor, indoor programs part of center’s ‘hybrid model’ for reopening

Carol Palmer is leading a “Totally FUN Fitness!”at the Westfield Senior Center. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

WESTFIELD-As a “new normal” comes into focus for programming at the Westfield Senior Center, there will be “Under-the-Roof,” “Under-the-Tent,” and “At the Curb” offerings for the foreseeable future.

“The expectation of an immediate and complete return to normal is unrealistic,” notes Tina Gorman, executive director, Westfield Council on Aging (COA), in a note from this month’s Voice of Experience newsletter. “The hybrid model that the Westfield COA staff has developed in cooperation with our local Board of Health is a starting point for the new normal.”

Gorman added that programs and services will be adjusted through trial and error in the coming weeks.

“Our hybrid model during June includes programs and activities that will be held in the morning ‘Under-the-Tent,’ in the afternoon ‘Under-the-Roof,’ and during the lunch hour, ‘At the Curb,’” she said, adding the expectation is to scale up operations during the summer.

The popular “Male Call!” program returns “Under-the-Tent,” led by fitness instructor Michelle Urbanski. The general fitness class is geared for older men with a variety of fitness abilities. Classes will be offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, $5 per class, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-9 a.m. Advance registration is required each week by calling Mary Cohutt, COA clerk, from 10-10:30 a.m. on June 4 for the June 8 and 10 classes; June 11 for the June 15 and 17 classes; June 18 for the June 22 and 24 classes, and June 25 for the June 29 and July 1 classes.

Carol Palmer, now retired from the YMCA of Greater Westfield, will teach her new “Totally FUN Fitness” session “Under-the-Tent” beginning this month. Each class includes a pre-warmup, warmup, low cardio, and cool down, as well as strength and balance training. Palmer promises the low level, low impact movement fitness program is geared toward entry level seniors. For more experienced exercisers, Palmer will add suggestions to modify the routines to suit everyone’s personal preferences. The sessions will be conducted on a pay-as-you-go basis at $3 per class. Classes will be offered on the first and last Wednesday of the month from 9-10 a.m. Contact Cohutt on June 28 from 10-10:30 a.m. for the June 30 class.

Line dancing will also return “Under-the-Tent,” led by Clara Sanborn, on a pay-as-you-go basis at $3 per class. Classes will be offered on Fridays from 9-10 a.m. and advance registration is required for each individual session. Call Cohutt to make reservations between 10-10:30 a.m. on June 9 for the June 11 session; June 16 for the June 18 session; June 23 for the June 25 session, and June 30 for the July 2 session.

For “Under-the-Roof” classes, “Chess with Les’ returns on Monday afternoons on June 7, 14, 21 and 28 beginning at 1 p.m. Advance registration is required and can be made on June 3 at 1 p.m. Also, the “Art Unlimited” class with Elaine Lees will be offered Thursday afternoons this month on June 10, 17, and 24 from 1:30-3 p.m. Advance registration can be made on June 8 at 1 p.m. The Sassy Stitchers Knit and Crochet Group will also meet this month on June 23 and 30 from 1-3 p.m. and participants must register on June 21 at 1 p.m.

Classes also gathering“Under-the-Roof” this month include the Piecemakers Quilting Group, meeting June 18 and 25 from 12-3 p.m. Registration to attend the group must be made on June 15 at 1 p.m. Lastly, a special “Mike’s Celebration Gift Card Bingo” is slated June 11 from 1-2:30 p.m. Each participant will receive one complementary bingo card to play, thanks to retired Westfield Police Captain Mike McCabe who is sponsoring the event. Space is limited for the bingo celebration which features gift cards as prizes. Registration to attend the event will be conducted June 9, beginning at 1 p.m.

Registration for all indoor programs must be made by calling Mary Lou Niedzielski at the senior center at the posted times.

In accordance with state and locally mandated COVID-19 protocols, specific guidelines will be strictly adhered to for the safety of everyone at the senior center, according to Gorman. Guidelines include advance registration since class size is limited; an updated Council on Aging “Release of Liability” form must be signed before participation in the first program session; participants must enter the Westfield Senior Center parking lot via Murphy Circle, which is the entrance farthest from the building, and then turn right and park in the spaces closest to Noble Street. 

Guidelines also include participants arriving no sooner than 15 minutes prior to the class start time and then leave the parking lot as soon as the class is over. When participants leave the premises, they will exit directly onto Noble Street from the exit closest to the building.

“It is important to follow procedures that have been carefully planned with everyone’s safety in mind,” said Gorman.

On a related note, Gorman said for persons who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, the Westfield Council on Aging “strongly encourages” individuals to consider their safety and the safety of others by not entering the Westfield Senior Center.

“The potential danger to yourself and others is simply not worth the risk,” said Gorman. “During the pandemic, please be cognizant of your own personal health and safety as well as that of others around you.”

For more information on all programs, call (413) 562-6435.

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