It May be Winter, but It’s Sunny at the Dexter Senior Center
“Dynamic” is a good way to describe the Dexter Senior Center over the past month. There was undoubtedly excitement in the air at the Friday, Feb. 3, meeting ‘n greet for the center’s new executive director and program coordinator.
Gordon Smith moved from Texas to Dexter last month to take the senior center’s executive director job. Michigan’s winter didn’t deter him in the least, and he hit the frozen ground running.
“Everything with the senior center has just been amazing,” said Smith. “We've been able to connect with many new business owners we haven't had previous contact with. I've become a member of multiple organizations within the community of Dexter.”
Although Smith has only been here a few weeks, he’s excited about the positive attention the senior center has been getting. New members are signing up. The introductory town hall meeting Smith held was upbeat, as demonstrated by the applause and cheers.
“Folks are really excited to hear about the new path that we're on and everything the board is doing to get us a new facility,” observed Smith.
The new director has enjoyed getting to know members individually the most.
“Our members are extraordinary,” he said. “You hear about their lives, and it really puts you back on your heels. I couldn't be luckier than to be in a position like this where I'm serving people who have given so much to this community and the world.”
Smith hopes the good buzz and personal stories will punctuate what makes the senior center such a special organization. He’s hoping more people will get involved and more businesses and individuals will consider contributing to the nonprofit’s community work.
“This place is necessary,” emphasized Smith. “It means so much, not just to our members, but our community.”
Program Coordinator Angela Johnson has been on the job for one week. Johnson has a Bachelor’s in Human Services and a Master’s in Family Studies. She, too, has a lot of ideas and the energy to go with them. She has been busy acclimating during her first week.
“It has been awesome just to get to know the members,” Johnson said. “It’s been a busy week sitting and talking with them to hear what they have gotten out of this senior center and what they want to see brought on board. It’s been a busy week, but I’m excited. We have lots of plans already.”
One of Johnson’s immediate initiatives will be working to bridge the generational gap. She is a strong proponent of the significant individual and collective benefits of youth, seniors, and all ages engaging.
“We’re in a changing society,” she said. “There are many things that the younger generation can teach to the older generation and vice versa.”
The new coordinator has already begun planning and organizing events to that effect.
The enthusiasm of Smith and Johnson indeed carried over to the members present at the meet and greet. The air seemed absolutely charged with excitement.
“They are very dynamic people,” said Senior Board President Jim Carson of Johnson and Smith. “They are ‘take charge’ kind of people with a lot of good ideas, and we’re glad to have them.”
If you would like to learn more about what’s going on these days at the Dexter Senior Center, you can do so at https://dexterseniors.org/ Or, just stop in when you have the chance.
Photos by Doug Marrin