12Sr EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was written, a number of the senior programs that were indefinitely suspended have resumed. Please contact the recreation staff at 910-426-4109 or Kasey Ivey at kivey@townofhopemills.com for the most current information on what senior programs have resumed.

After an absence of nearly five months, senior programs are back at the Hope Mills Recreation Center.

“We serve hundreds of seniors a month with a variety of programs, fitness classes and creative arts programs,’’ said Kasey Ivey, senior programs supervisor.

But the various programs have been completely shut down since mid-September when Hurricane Florence damaged the recreation center and forced its closure. The town was unable to provide an alternate location for the senior programs to be held, forcing those programs to be suspended until the recreation center reopened Monday, Feb. 4.

Part of the challenge, Ivey said, was to make sure everything was organized and ready to go. There were also a few amendments that had to be made due to changes in the schedules of some of the outside instructors.

One of the biggest changes involves a popular course in chair exercise, which draws as many as 40 participants twice a week.

“Because of schedule changes, that teacher is not returning,’’ Ivey said. Ivey, who has experience in teaching fitness and fitness for seniors, will be taking over the chair exercise program. Those classes will now be held at the recreation center on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Another class that is still undergoing change is yoga. The yoga classes are limited to a maximum of 30 people because of the space available for participants.

When the recreation center opened for seniors Feb. 4, unexpected, last-minute changes forced postponement of the resumption of a number of senior activities. These include yoga, Zumba, Strong Bones and Fun and Fit.

Ivey said all of these activities are postponed indefinitely. The recreation department will make an announcement as soon as any or all of those activities resume.

Ivey encouraged all seniors planning to attend any activity at the center to look over the revised calendar of activities compiled by the recreation department.

It can be viewed here (left) or at www.townofhopemills.com. Print copies are also available at the recreation center.

All who sign up to take part in the senior programs are asked to leave an email address so the town can send them the calendar via email.

Ivey added that newcomers to the senior program must first fill out a recreation center registration form, which is required of anyone who uses the center.

All participants in the senior program must be age 55 or over and reside in Cumberland County.

Ivey said there was a good turnout for the first day of resumed senior activities. There were between 15 to 20 participants in line dancing, 34 in chair exercise and 15 in a program where seniors make sleeping mats from plastic grocery bags for the homeless.

“We’re looking forward to it,’’ Ivey said of getting the senior programs back to full speed. “I’m sure the folks are too. They make friendships here.’’

Those with specific questions about senior programs can call Ivey at 910-426-4109 or email her at kivey@townofhopemills.com.

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