Turlock seniors active in community

Annual tea and partnership with university create a busy agenda for seniors at Turlock Corps.

George and Zella Linn took the prize for best western costumes. [Photo by Penelope Jacobson]

Seniors at the Turlock (Calif.) Corps, including those in S.A.L.T.—senior adults learning together—keep active with an annual tea and a program in partnership with Stanislaus State University. Turlock corps officer is Major Debi Shrum.

The year 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of their “August Tea” event. Traditionally they choose themes that represent lifestyles of various historical decades. This year they selected the “Pioneer Days” era.

Homemade decorations of covered wagons, oxen and cowboys adorned each table. Prizes went to the best pioneer costume and the winner of a coloring contest that involved knowledge of history. The party planners precooked recipes from a “Cowboy Cookbook,” which also could be purchased.

Customarily, the audience participates in the entertainment. At this year’s campfire everyone sang songs from wagon train days.

Corps member Sue Norvel attends the teas and is a volunteer.

“The teas have given me the opportunity to come out of my shell and serve my community,” she said. “They just keep getter better and more fun every year.”

August was the fourth year of the corps’ partnership with the Stanislaus State University Office of Service Learning. This program pairs up students from one of the school’s child development classes with individual seniors to create a “Personal History Book.”

The project allows the elder partner a chance to reminisce and gives the student a glimpse into their partner’s life—to compare their younger years with the adult they became. In the end, each participant walks away with an understanding and respect for a different generation.

Carol Card is matched with a male partner who has also become a good friend.

“I am amazed that I’m able to share my personal stories with someone I don’t know well and he’s from a whole different generation,” she said.

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