The Magical Maple Grove Senior Center

By Deane Gradous

Fred and I moved to Maple Grove because I liked the house he found for our retirement. At the time, we really didn’t know much about Maple Grove or that it would prove to be such a neat, progressive city. Indeed, it took us a year to discover Maple Grove’s newly built community center and the magical senior center within it.

Our delight at discovering and participating in senior center activities is founded on three reasons:

The first reason is the city planners wisely located the senior center inside the city’s large community center. This location gives us older adults many opportunities to participate in community events as well as in most senior programs. When we are in the building for senior center activities, we can wander into ongoing community  events, such as the business expo, craft exhibits, quilt shows, or farmers’ market.

The second reason is located in the person of Kris Orluck, the senior center director. Orluck is a thoughtful, generous soul  who elicits the help of Brenda Krapfl and a throng of volunteers to produce a far-ranging, inclusive collection of programs for older adults. She organizes and produces small classes of 10 to 30, for quilting, driver training, and the like, and large events of 150+, for senior lunches.  Visitors to the community center will often encounter groups of older adults  absorbed in contract bridge, Mah-Jong, Mexican Train dominos, or Hand and Foot. Elsewhere in the building others will be quilting, knitting, or Nordic wallking through the hallways. Krapfl, an essential member of the senior center staff,  organizes special events. How she finds so many interesting places for us to visit by bus, especially her one-day mystery trips, is a mystery to us. A trip to the city of New Ulm included time to listen to the glockenspiel at Noon and a tour of Schnell’s brewery, with samples. A full day of fun with a German theme!

The third reason is the many opportunities to make new friends. So many of the people Fred and I loved in the past have moved away, died, or no longer want to participate in favored activities. You’d think we’d feel lonely and stuck in our house. Not so. Thanks to Maple Grove’s senior center. our social life has expanded, not shrunk. Senior programs offer many opportunities to meet people, make new friends, and enjoy old friends. Conversations with other older adults while exercising in the pool, around the tables at lunches, sewing together, and riding on buses to events have promoted many new friendships.

In sum, participating in programs at the Maple Grove Senior Center has been magical for us. We encourage all older adults in Maple Grove to come join us in the fun and friendship.