This week will simply be over-the-top exciting for the people who have an interest in the Sheridan Senior Center. Our grand opening is on Wednesday. It will include a ribbon cutting event at 10 a.m. with tours of our new space, at 211 Smith St., starting at 10:30 a.m. and additional tours continuing throughout the day. We will also be unveiling our new name and logo.
A new name?
Since 2000 when I first began my job here, the topic of senior centers rebranding themselves has been on the agenda of every national conference I have attended and even those I have not. It has also been the focus of a number of Wyoming conferences and trainings in order to inspire us, those who work with older people, to stay up to date and current in marketing our purpose and value. They warned that many senior centers are becoming tired and obsolete because they are not keeping up with the way people want “to do and be” as they get older. Senior centers across the country are changing what they offer, and this often includes changing their image and brand. Even more importantly, people in Sheridan have encouraged us to think about a name change. Some have said “leave it alone” while others have said “please change it!” The grand opening of our newly renovated and modern space seemed like the right time to also renovate and modernize our brand. It really is not so much a name change, as it is a naming of our senior center.
Many people don’t consider themselves “seniors” or relate to being “a senior.” How do you define a senior? At what age do you become one? In some places it’s 50, others 60 or 65. I know people in their 80s that don’t identify with this label because for them it doesn’t relate to a number at all. We serve and engage people of all ages, and the word “senior” implies otherwise. We believe making a change will result in more people getting the help or connection they need.
Senior centers are nationally recognized as organizations that receive federal, state and local funding to provide community based services to “seniors.” The 11,400 senior centers across the country provide a wide array of programs, activities and support for people to stay well and engaged in their communities. The 40 Wyoming senior centers come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, and with a wide variety of names. My favorite name in Wyoming is Pinedale’s senior center, Rendezvous Pointe. The name is ageless and creates an image of people coming together.
The name we chose is based on input from the people we serve, community members, employees and volunteers. The board of directors made the final selection this past spring. All I can share for now is that the name is fresh and upbeat. It reflects what we are for many people in Sheridan. It is ageless and welcomes all generations to be part of what we do. It reflects our updated and modern space and I’m hoping people find it fun and exciting.
Our mission remains steadfast, “To celebrate, embrace and serve older adults for the betterment of our community.” In order to do this we need to serve all generations. Whether it is offering a place to eat, a place to volunteer and work, or get connected to a program, we want people of all ages and walks of life to come through our doors. We are so grateful to this community and looking forward to serving it for many years to come!
Guest columnist Carmen Rideout is the executive director of the Sheridan Senior Center. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.