TOWN ‘N COUNTRY – Edith Traina isn’t fond of stereotypes that lead others to believe seniors fritter away their time rocking on front porches.
That’s why Traina, 92, and other members of the Town ‘N Country Senior Stars take it upon themselves to “break all those rules,” she said.
One of the most recently added activities is powerlifting. The Stars’ team is called The Record Breakers, and consists of several seniors who work out regularly to keep fit and challenge themselves to break their own personal weightlifting records.
Traina can lift about 130 pounds. Other seniors boast personal best records of more than 160 pounds.
“We just enjoy it,” Traina explained.
Founded in 1987 as a way to bring seniors together for a tone-and-stretch class, the group has since grown to include more than 300 members, 200 of which are active on a regular basis. While that exercise class is still very much a part of the group’s offerings, the Stars continue to expand options to make sure a variety of interests are represented. The lineup of undertakings includes arts and crafts, lunch outings, day trips, line dancing and much more, Traina added.
While the activities bring local seniors together for fun and camaraderie, member Patty Dombrowski, 75, said those who take part often find lasting friendships.
“It’s friends getting together with friends,” she said of Stars’ events.
For member Midge Machado, 66, the Stars provide a valuable source of socialization for seniors.
“Keeping social is really important,” she said. “(We’re) bringing fun back into people’s lives.”
As 2014 gets underway, Traina said the group is trying to reach out to more local seniors to make sure they know about the group and its many happenings.
“We want to reach out to as many 70- to 80-year-olds as possible,” she said.
And, while the goal is to reach that target group, membership in the Stars is open to those 50 and up. The oldest current member is 95 and those younger than 50 are still welcome to attend goings-on – if they can keep up.
Membership in the Stars includes a donation of $12 in the first year and $10 each year thereafter. The money helps offset the cost of activities, such as monthly birthday parties and more. The group also plays host to live shows, an annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser and takes part in Hillsborough County’s Senior Games.
The Stars meet at the Town ‘N Country Recreation Center, 6039 Hanley Road, and some of the actions are coordinated by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. For more information about the group, visit its website at tncseniorstars.com. Those interested in joining may also call the recreation center at (813) 554-5002.