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Senior center bingo, smiles all around

Staff Writer

SUN photo/Shanti Johnson “B-15,” bingo caller Gina Willis says, and the game is on. Players at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center meet each week to play bingo, vie for prizes, socialize and laugh with one another. The lively players welcome any seniors interested to come join them each Monday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the senior center, located in the community center.

SUN photo/Shanti Johnson
“B-15,” bingo caller Gina Willis says, and the game is on. Players at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center meet each week to play bingo, vie for prizes, socialize and laugh with one another. The lively players welcome any seniors interested to come join them each Monday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the senior center, located in the community center.

The Pagosa Springs Senior Center’s bingo session last Monday (July 7) was full of laughter, joking, miscellaneous prizes and conversation.

As the players listened for the letters and numbers to be called, they joked with each other, saying that as they get older, the caller has to repeat herself more and more to make sure everyone is paying attention.

The ladies at Monday’s afternoon bingo session praised current bingo caller Gina Willis for being “wonderful.”

Willis laughed, saying sometimes she will see a number she just called out still uncovered on a player’s card; Willis will sit there and subtly stare at the player, calling out the number again, until the player realizes what she is doing.

Bingo time, held each Monday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center (in the community center), began only a few months ago. Since then, the program has taken off and has become something the players look forward to.

For the first couple of months, Willis purchased and donated the prizes for the bingo winners out of her own pocket. As the program has grown, participants have begun bringing in white-elephant type gifts and other prizes to help reduce the personal cost to Willis. This week, prizes included glass star candle holders and brand new candles, new potholders, a CD, a gift certificate and more.

“Anyone is welcome,” Willis told SUN staff, quickly adding, “as long as they are a senior.”

The lively group of players laughed at that, teasing that they were all underage and playing bingo at the center illegally.

Diana Millan, one of the enthusiastic players, informed that, besides being welcome to join the group for bingo each week, Archuleta Seniors Inc. is coordinating a upcoming trip for seniors to visit Astraddle-A-Saddle on July 17, which still has space available.

The trip involves taking a wagon ride to a cabin and having lunch and was a huge success last year, with 44 seniors attending. This year the center hopes to have a similar, or even larger, turnout.

According to Millan, the cost to the general public for the trip is $35, but Astraddle-A-Saddle is offering the seniors a discounted rate of $20 per person. The senior center has agreed to pay half of the ticket cost, bringing the total out-of-pocket expense for the trip to $10 for each senior.

If you are interested in going on the July 17 excursion, contact the senior center at 264-2167 to reserve your spot. The trip is limited to 45 participants; however, if there is enough interest within the senior community, Millan said another trip may be scheduled.

The senior center is also working to incorporate other activities into its weekly schedule and is open to suggestions.

Whether you are interested in vying for prizes during bingo, joining fellow seniors for lunch, or just socializing, be sure to check out the Pagosa Springs Senior Center activities and services.

For a list of happenings and services offered by the center, see the Senior News column in The SUN each week, contact the senior center at 264-2167, visit the center’s website at www.psseniors.org, or follow the center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/psseniors.

shanti.johnson@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on July 10, 2014.