Director’s Corner July 2023

Come In and Cool Off With Us!

If temperatures in July seemed especially sweltering, it wasn’t your imagination. According to scientists, several days were likely the hottest in Earth’s modern history, as a surge of heat across the globe shattered temperature records from North America to Antarctica.
But summer is far from over, and we’d like to remind everyone that the La Pine Activity Center is a cooling center. That means you and your loved ones are welcome to come inside and get out of the heat. We’re open five days a week, Monday – Friday, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
While you’re here, we’d love it if you join us for lunch, or try out our other regular activities such as exercise classes (including Yoga with Michelle, Balance & Bones, Fit for Life, and Body Groove) and bingo (scheduled for Monday nights and Tuesday afternoons).
We especially urge those who are still in Covid mode, and reluctant to leave their homes and mingle, to enjoy the Activity Center’s hospitality. People of all ages — not just seniors – are welcome to sit on the couch, work on their laptops, read a book, or just socialize. There’s always someone who would appreciate a friend.
When we first opened up as a cooling center last summer, after temperatures reached 100 degrees, our air conditioning went out. It was horrible! We’ve since purchased a new A/C system, which I’m happy to say is working well, and keeps the inside of the Activity Center nice and cool.
The idea of offering a cooling center initially came about when we realized that a lot of people in the La Pine area may not have A/C — some of them can’t afford a larger bill for power. And as we’re always here to try and help people in our community who are in need, providing a place to rest and refresh made sense.
(The Activity Center is also available, inside and outside, when wildfires or other disasters result in evacuation orders.) And remember, per the Oregon Health Authority: All Oregonians are asked to check on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors who may be susceptible to extreme heat to help them access ways to stay safe – especially those who live alone or lack air conditioning. Signs of heat stroke include fever, rapid pulse, nausea or vomiting, and hot or damp skin. OHA advises people to call 9-1-1 immediately is someone shows signs of heat stroke.

Director’s Corner June 2023

It’s already June and that means Rhubarb Festival time! Volunteers in all areas are needed, so please contact me if you would like to help. We are already getting requests from local business to become sponsors in 2024, and have a waiting list of 10 or 11 vendors for this year because we’re full for vendor space!
Check our website and Facebook page in the near future for the dates and times of our Healthy Walking classes, which will be starting up again now that the weather is nice.
We need bingo callers! We only have one right now, so ladies, if you want to get your husband out of the house once a week, send him over here on Monday nights one or two times a month!
Our “Angel Wings” scholarship program has been going on for a couple of years now. If someone comes in the Center and they don’t have the funds to pay the $40 yearly membership fee, we have “Angel Wings” scholarships available so they can become an Activity Center member for a year at no cost. But we need more sponsors for this wonderful program, from individuals and businesses. I have received calls from mental health services who refer individuals to us that are suffering from isolation or loneliness, and they need a place for these people to go where they can interact with others and feel safe. We just awarded an Angel Wing scholarship the other day and this person has come into the center and has signed up to be a volunteer. She now feels like she’s part of something. So if you would like to become an Angel Wings sponsor, please let us know…there’s someone out there (and they don’t have to be a senior, by the way) who would really appreciate becoming part of our family! This is a confidential program and no one will know who is a recipient of this scholarship except for the person who receives it.
A big part of my job is to be an intermediary of sorts, connecting those in need to the resources that can help them. We’ve had people come in here who can’t pay their electricity bill, for example, and I’ve put them in contact with NeighborImpact, and they’ve gotten the assistance they needed. Or someone comes in here and says they’re a victim of a scam of some sort, so we help them contact the appropriate authorities. Seniors or not, we’re here to help those in our community who need help the most.
So why do YOU come to the Activity Center? What do you like most about what we offer? I just received a 100-piece blank puzzle with very large pieces that you can write a word on that reflects why you come here. We’re going to have people fill those pieces out, then glue them together and make a wall hanging that shows all the different reasons to come here. Keep a lookout for that in the near future!
Make sure to take advantage of the free presentations we hold during lunch occasionally. We now have a calendar listing a whole month of lunches at the Center (see page 3 of this newsletter) that shows which lunches have a presentation.
That’s it for now — see you at the Rhubarb Festival!

Director’s Corner May 2023

We’re gearing up for the Rhubarb Festival which will be held June 17 and 18 here at the Center. It’s our biggest event of the year, here’s an update of what’s been happening with this event:
We need volunteers to help make Granny Pies for the Rhubarb Festival. We have about 900 pies ready so far, but we usually have about 1200 for sale, so there’s still a lot of work to be done. Connie Burger and others are helping to finish out the year.
Sina Wallace Streeter donated two cases of the BIG cans of Crisco, which were badly needed. Thanks Sina!
This year’s Rhubarb Festival sponsors include: St. Charles: dessert contest; La Pine Community Health Center: entertainment; First Interstate Bank of Sunriver: rhubarb pies; MidOregon Credit Union: golf carts; Terry Mowry is organizing the entertainment; Dan Laibath keeps those beer kegs organized; Rusty Hoar takes care of security during the day; Denise and Dennis Sampson actually tape out our parking lot for vendor spaces; and Janice Delzer is in charge of coordinating all the vendors. We are FULL as far as vendor spaces, with 106, and 30 new ones this year!
NEW this year as a Rhubarb Festival sponsor is HD Botanicals! And they’re very interested in doing monthly informational sessions before or after lunch to speak about the benefits of cannabis for seniors.
We’re having pre-sales for rhubarb pies and T-shirts, so please give us a call starting this month to pre-order yours.
On to other news:

  • If you need a medical device (wheelchair, walker, etc.) check here FIRST before going to rent or buy one. We have items you can either have for free or rent (such as knee scooters). Just give us a call – we have lots of medical supplies you may be able to get for FREE.
  • We need volunteers to help deliver lunches to homebound seniors three times a week. Also needed are volunteers for the kitchen, front desk and events.
  • Volunteers for Monday Bingo caller once or twice a month are also needed.
  • Although Heart & Home Hospice has closed in La Pine, Partners In Care still has a presence serving the La Pine community with hospice, home health, palliative care, and transitions (non-medical, free resource-based program). They have a small office on Huntington Road not far from the Park & Rec building, but most of their team is out visiting patients in their homes throughout La Pine, so the office may be quiet. They work closely with the La Pine Activity Center! If you need them, call 541-382-5882.
  • Get your stuff organized for our annual community-wide garage sale July 7 and 8, to be held here at the Center.
    Lastly, I want to recognize Annette Langenstein, who produces our monthly newsletter. Annette is a graphic designer and writer who volunteers her time to sell and design the ads, write the articles, and lay out the newsletter each month. These sponsorship ads bring in much-needed funds, and with the closing of Wise Buys, this newsletter is more important than ever to our little community! Thanks, Annette, for all you do for us!

Director’s Corner April 2023

Happy Spring! The Activity Center has been busy with lots of classes and events, and we’re getting ready for more in the next dew months!
We have almost ALL our vendor slots filled for the upcoming Rhubarb Festival June 17 and 18! We’ll need just a few more and then we’ll have 100+ vendor booths with many new items such as handmade crystal products, wood/rock art, rye-dye, Sunriver Art Glass, and one of the 20 new vendors this year is 503 Distilling from Portland, who are going to be selling a rhubarb/whiskey cocktail. Yum!
Food trucks at the Rhubarb Festival will include Auntie Bernie’s Hawaiian Grill, The Corn Dog Company of Central Oregon, Kona Ice of Bend, Red Beard BBQ, Pop-N-Hot Kettle Corn, and Supreme Elephant Ears Funnel Cakes.
And the kiddos won’t be left out because we’ll have a bouncy house and face painting, so this is a festival for all ages!
In other news, we just received a $25,000 grant from the Ford Foundation for our upcoming kitchen remodel, planned for this September. So exciting!
New classes starting in April include a soap making class and a chalk class. In fact, these and other classes have proved so popular that we’re planning a multi-workshop weekend featuring classes in painting, jewelry-making, leather, chalk…hopefully in September of this year.
The Deschutes County Planning Department will be here on April 26 to present to the public what kind of developments are planned for La Pine. Bring your questions!
We’ll also have a free Covid vaccine clinic on April 3.
St. Charles Health Systems has been presenting some great informational sessions like the Wound Care class held in March. On April 4 they’ll present another one on Community Care, and on April 11 a class about transfer and gait.
On April 13, First Interstate Bank will have a “Fraud and Seniors” class. All these are free classes! No registration required, just show up! And if you attend one of these classes, please let us know what you think so we can plan more in the future!
I would like to address an issue that many people may not be aware of: who is going to take care of you when you get on in years?
Last night I got a phone call from a friend who knows someone who had just gone into hospice care and her home caregiver had persuaded her to sign over all her assets, including her house, to that caregiver. We need to protect our seniors…especially those who have no voice.
If you know a senior that’s struggling, please let us know and we’ll find a way to help them. There are a lot of resources out there and we can connect seniors with those resources.
That’s it for now, got to get busy with all that’s happening at the La Pine Activity Center!

Director’s Corner March 2023

As I write this, I just got back from vacation and now I’m already busy with lots of stuff happening at the Activity Center!
As of April 3 we will be open Monday through Friday, from 9am to 4 pm, which is the schedule we will continue to follow during the summer.
Upcoming events: The Gun and Sportsman Show is schedule for April 1 and 2, and we are taking vendor applications now.
The Rhubarb Festival in June has over 65% of vendor spots taken! We have over a dozen brand new vendors and my biggest fear is that our regular vendors may lose their preferred spots if they don’t renew NOW…we just have too many new vendors wanting those prime spots. So if you want to keep your spot, contact me now! And remember, if you join the Center as a business member at either the platinum or gold level, you can hang your banner at the Rhubarb Festival FOR FREE!
Our membership drive is continuing through March, and just last week we had about 45 people renew their membership. Remember, right now there’s a special membership rate of $35 if you sign up before the end of March. Even if you don’t want to participate in the classes the Center offers, or attend the lunches, your membership dollars keep our door open! For example, our gas bill usually runs about $399 a month….lately it’s tripled to about $1200 a month. And that doesn’t include our electric bill! So we really need those members to help us keep the lights on!
BIG NEWS! The Eclipse Theatre Company of Bend is coming to the La Pine Activity Center! We will have a performance of “Here On The Flight Path” on Sunday, April 16 at 2pm, complete with food and drinks! This is an adults-only play and hopefully the first of many in the future that we can offer this community. See page 5 for more information.
In other news, we are offering two new classes at the Center! We are not a gym or fitness center, but we have people coming here taking these two new classes and loving them. Shondra McGrath is the instructor for “Better Bones and Balance” held Fridays at 9am and Mondays at 11:30, and Carol Spaw is now offering exercise and strength activities. Her class is Wednesday at 1pm for low-impact exercises like weights, pull-ups, etc. Cost is $5 for members and $8 for non-members. See the article on page 7 of this newsletter for more information about these two new classes.
The High Lakes Car Club Swap Meet is scheduled for May 13, and we’re doing our annual Flea Market sometime in May or June. More to come on that!
Grants are being worked on for kitchen upgrades and improvements. We also received $10,000 from the Council on Aging for these kitchen upgrades.
Last year our big project was the asphalt parking lot, and this year our big project is upgrading our kitchen. Next year we may look at expanding our facility because we are growing, and there’s nothing to stop us continuing to expand!

Director’s Corner, February 2023

Happy February!  Here’s the latest news at the La Pine Activity Center!
We had a meeting on January 17 with Cheryl Puddy, Program Officer from the Oregon Community Foundation, Chaney  Coman, Grants Manager from the Roundhouse Foundation, and Jenny Green from the Oregon Arts Commission.  Over 25 people attended this meeting, which was about getting some grants to cover the costs of our much-needed kitchen upgrade.
Our two large ovens aren’t working and at this time we’ve been using alternate cooking methods.  We bought $600 worth of parts to keep us going, and we’re going to be applying for a grant for the ovens, and another for the remainder of the kitchen remodel.
We need new stoves, ovens, steam table, our walk-in cooler needs new parts, new flooring is needed so our seniors don’t trip on our mats, and we also need a new dishwasher.  That’s a big list of items, so one of our board members, Meredith Strunk, has taken the role of grant-writer and we hope to submit these soon.
We had 96 people attend our Veterans lunch, sponsored by Stu Martinez, on January 19!  We still need sponsors for April and May, so contact me if you’re interested.
We’re also having an Early Bird membership drive and right now we’re offering memberships for only $35 a year (that’s just $2.92 each month) if you sign up during February, March or April.  Your membership is important — whether you come to the Center or not — because it helps to keep this place open. For instance, our gas bill last month was $1190…it used to be $399 for a month.  We currently have about 200 members and we want to remind local businesses that they can be members, too!  
And look at what benefits our members get:  a safe, warm place with WiFi, free classes including line dancing, body groove, healthy walking and strengthening, reduced price yoga classes, card games, computer technical support, bingo twice a week, 20% off a room rental once a year, and an informative monthly newsletter emailed to each member.  And even if you’re not a member, everyone is welcome to an affordable, healthy, and delicious lunch served three days a week!  So join today!
Our upcoming Rhubarb Festival planning is in full swing. We’ve already got 25% of our vendor spaces reserved and paid for!
That’s all for now — I’m going to on vacation but will be back mid-February, so keep coming to the Center and I’ll see your smiling faces when I return!

Director’s Corner January 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this new year will be one filled with fun and informative activities and events at the La Pine Activity Center, for everyone in our community!
First off, I would like to thank St. Charles for their very generous donation of $5,000 to our Center, which makes them a legacy donor! We are excited to build this lasting relationship with St. Charles to help our seniors!
I’m in the process of getting plaques made for each person (we had 65 sponsors!) who paid $50 each to sponsor a bumper for our newly-paved parking lot. That’s 65 inductees into our Bumper Hall of Fame!
We are already getting calls from prospective vendors for our 2023 Rhubarb Festival, to be held June 17 and 18. This two-day event is sure to be a fantastic time for our community!
We are starting up our 2023 campaign to get local businesses to advertise in this newsletter, as sponsors for the Activity Center. Please, if you know of any business that would like to be featured here, let us know and we’ll reach out to them.
I’m having a box made to be placed on our front counter, for suggestions on what benefits we can offer people who become members of our La Pine Activity Center. I would like to find out why they come in, and what they would like to see that they have not seen offered here. Right now, Center members get a warm building in the winter, AC in the summer, internet access, a chance to socialize, do crafts and games, eat lunch, play bingo, attend parties and dances, find out about health and senior resources, and get discounts on classes we offer. But I’m trying to figure out more benefits we can offer (10% off room rentals for members, for example).
So please stop by or call the Activity Center and let us know what YOU would like to see happen here; we are open for the WHOLE community, not just seniors! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Director’s Corner December 2022

Happy Holidays!  Christmas is right around the corner, and the La Pine Activity Center couldn’t be busier with tons of December activities for our community!
Our first Winter Traditions Craft Bazaar held November 25-27 at the La Pine Parks and Recreation building went very well!  One of our center volunteers, Amy Hill, who owns Hillstead Farms  in La Pine, put together all the decorations and did an outstanding job!
We had a total of 51 vendors from as far away as Portland! One of these, Outta My Gourd, actually became Center volunteers, helping to set up and take down after the event!
A BIG thank you goes out to  Lori and Jerry Scott, Janice Delzer, and Dave Ott, who were indispensable to us with all they did.  
I estimated that the first day of the event we easily saw 400 to 500 people stop by; in fact, some vendors paid for their booth rental in the first hour!  
Newport Avenue Market in Bend bought $5800 worth of sugar-free jams, taffy and other products from vendor  Outta My Gourd, an amazing day for this vendor.
The Winter Traditions Craft Bazaar saw quite a few new vendors, too, some from the valley, Klamath Falls, and lots of Rhubarb Festival repeats. There was Purple Door Creations from Gilchrist,  Betty Summers floral arrangements had two booths, and had the best  showing at any festival she’s ever done.  Deer Wood Designs from Portland had five or six tables and did very well.  Natalie Blair from Cup-N-Cake Creations by Natalie, a cottage home bakery right here in La Pine,  provided cake pops, cocoa bombs and other fresh treats.
As a result of this festival, we have over 200 vendors on our list now for future events!
In other news, Jenny Pedersen, Community Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library, will be starting free sessions to help people with their legal questions at the La Pine Activity Center on the first Thursday of the month from 10-noonish (while Thrive is there or longer if needed). She will be starting this in either January or February, 2023.
A big THANK YOU goes out to Stu Martinez, who is going to be sponsoring a free veterans lunch once a month from January to March in 2023.  We are excited to be able to have these free lunches to show our appreciation for our location veterans.
That’s all for now – have a wonderful holiday season and see you in 2023!

Director’s Corner November 2022

It’s the start of the holiday season, and things couldn’t be busier at the La Pine Activity Center!
I wanted to give everyone an update on something that I talked about last month in this column.
Last month, I found a gentleman waiting for me in the lobby who had driven here to find out more about a bereavement class we had held at the Center. He had recently lost his wife, and told me that he had decided he wanted to leave this earth; he was lonely, afraid and felt useless.
After we spoke, I called Heart N’ Home Hospice, and within 30 minutes, they had someone from Bend here talking to this gentleman. They had given him some resources to help with his situation.
Well, I just learned that he is now moving in with his daughter, who will be taking care of him! This story has a happy ending, thanks to the wonderful services we have in our area!
In other news, thanks go to St. Charles for their donation of 40 food trays for our kitchen, and we also received about 28 food trays from First Interstate Bank in Sunriver, so thanks go out to them, too!
Another big thank you to Stu Martinez for his generous donation that will go towards replacing our furnace. We have a bid for $5500 to replace it, and we’ll also be selling Christmas wines at our upcoming Winter Traditions, to help with this fundraiser. Please visit our Facebook page, which has a Gofundme link if you would like to help with this.
The upcoming Winter Traditions has been moved to the La Pine Park and Recreation building, so make sure to stop by there November 25 through 27. It’s going to be an amazing event, sponsored by Ace Hardware!
Our Bumper Hall of Fame sold out at 64 new bumpers for our parking lot – THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Our recent Paint Night saw 35-40 people here at the Activity Center and was a huge hit! Our Bingo nights are seeing up to 60 people attend, as well!
The Christmas Basket distributions will be held at the Activity Center on December 10.
Please note that our Winter Hours have changed to 10am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.
Our parking lot paving is just about done and I want to give a shout out to Vic and Vicki Russell, who donated $20,700 for this huge project! Other major donors were Stu Martinez, the Young Family Business, and the City of La Pine. It’s people and businesses like these and others that step up to the plate and make the La Pine Activity Center THE BEST SENIOR CENTER IN OREGON!

Director’s Corner October 2022

A few of you have noticed the use of our new logo. Our new logo welcomes people of all ages to join activities held at the Center. The name of our building has changed several times since the beginning, but the formal name has and will always stay the same: La Pine Senior Citizens, Inc. This logo makes it clear that all can participate and help support our seniors; we are not changing who we are, who we serve or what our focus is. Our focus is and will always be the good of our Senior Citizens!
This new logo is not about changing who we are. It’s about welcoming more support and assistance for those that we serve. Our building has always welcomed anyone of any age, but the public didn’t know that and as our community grows, so do our needs. As our needs grow we need a larger group for support. The support comes in various ways. We need more involvement in events, we need more volunteers, we need our community just like our community needs us. Please know we will always focus on our Senior Citizens and we will always be La Pine Senior Citizens, Inc. We are just being more visible to the entire community.
That said, I would like to let you know about something that happened in late September at the Center. I arrived on a Monday morning to find a man waiting for me in the lobby. He had driven to La Pine that morning because he had heard we had a bereavement class held at the Center. He had recently lost his wife, and was just wanting someone to listen to him. I sat with him and learned that had decided that he wanted to leave this earth; he was lonely, afraid and felt useless.
After we spoke, I immediately called Heart N’ Home Hospice here in La Pine. Within 30 minutes, they had someone from Bend here at the Center talking to this gentleman, and by the time they emerged from one of our conference rooms, he was smiling! They had counseled him and given him some resources to help with his situation.
This kind of thing happens at our La Pine Activity Center more often than most people realize. Someone needs help of some kind, and they feel that our Center can assist them. We refer those in need to the appropriate community resources, and this service is just one of those that truly reflect what we do as an organization: we feed people, we refer them to local resources, we provide free classes and clinics, and we listen to people’s stories.
Keep on coming to the Center, we’re here for you!