The Colonial Club Senior Activity Center’s mission to enhance the lives of people age 55 and older drives the Programs Department. With a holistic approach, we provide a wide range of social, educational, recreational, spiritual, and wellness activities to meet Northeast Dane County residents’ varied needs and interests. From bingo to book clubs, we offer over 20 ongoing programs, approximately 45 annual adult education classes, and volunteer opportunities for over 450 individuals. Approximately half of the 4,000 people who use the Colonial Club are involved with our Programs Department.

Whether physician directed, newly retired, recently widowed, new to the area, or a desire to feel needed, accepted, valued, and/or appreciated, the Program Department enhances the lives of our participants. Through our educational programs, we promote life long learning, helping seniors stay mentally agile and challenged by offering programs, such as computer training, creative writing, knitting workshops, and bridge lessons. Our recreational programs include yoga, music and motion, and step aerobics, allowing seniors to increase fitness, mobility, and range of motion. Monthly Faith and Friends meetings attract individuals desiring spiritual fulfillment. To meet the need for socialization, the Programs Department offers ten active committees (i.e., Trips & Tour Committee, Woodshop Committee, and Gifts Galore Committee) that are governed and operated by the involved participants. In addition to our “Day for Seniors,” which features monthly entertainment, the Programs Department also secures motivational and topical speakers, musicians, and theater groups, providing enrichment, educational, and cultural opportunities.

Many special programs are offered throughout the year, including energy assistance, let happiness ring (free holiday phone calls for seniors), weekly blood pressure checks, monthly eye glass adjustments, weekly massage therapy, bi-monthly foot care, Active for Life (a partnership with AARP), Business & Education Adopt-A-Class program (intergenerational activity), Free Dental Day, Colonial Club Commentator (local cable television program), tax assistance, and RSVP involvement.

The Programs Department edits and coordinates the mailing of the monthly newsletter, the Courier, which reaches over 2,000 businesses and households. This publication, in addition to the weekly column in The Star, helps seniors stay informed on ongoing activities, health-related services, and legal advice.

To operate the Programs Department, a large amount of space is needed, requiring overhead expenses, such as heating, air conditioning, lights, and support staff. These expenses are partially paid for by participant fees, but fees do not fully cover the expense to provide this worthwhile mission, requiring us to find additional funding support.

Over 25,000 program contacts were recorded in 2002.