Senior Scene : Year in Review 2016

Serene Karplus, Nederland.  Nederland Area Seniors celebrated its Twentieth Anniversary as a nonprofit this year. Dozens of seniors, some traveling in from other states, attended our anniversary picnic in August. Hundreds of historic photos commemorate the years, culled into multiple collages by Linnea Grovom. We honored the occasion again on the eve of the actual anniversary date with both long-time and new participants in NAS programs at our Mountain MidLife dinner in November.

NAS served more than 4,200 meals last year. The classic NAS lunches on Mondays and Wednesdays served over 2,000 meals on site and sent nearly 300 meals out to homebound seniors unable to get to the meal site. We thank our faithful delivery volunteers, Debbie Davenport, Susan Churches, “Brock” Brocklehurst, and several others delivering in times of need to more remote homes.

Mountain MidLife celebrated its first anniversary at its July dinner. During 2016, this program served hundreds of folks around age 60 and up with nearly 1,000 meals, as well as hikes, interest group gatherings (books, wine tasting – thanks to Lee Kennedy and Karna Knapp), educational programs, and cultural outings.

We are proud to have our seniors step up to serve all ages in the community, flipping thousands of pancakes several times in the year to serve over 880 meals. Our seniors also volunteer to serve the foods at our Holiday Mountain Market, so while we don’t track these as “meals served”, we fed hundreds more there.

We are not just about delicious food. We are the “Senior Center of the Mountains”, attracting friends from Allenspark to Black Hawk to participate in meals and other programs. In addition to existing fitness, pickleball, and hiking programs, we introduced a stretch class, a NIA class, and slow yoga. Zumba Gold may be next. Our writing groups and book club expanded so much we had to occasionally move the meetings to our local library. Our new monthly Conversation Café, begun by Pam Sherman and Lucy Stroock, which occurs after lunch on Second Mondays, wins a big thumbs-up from attendees gleaning nuggets of wisdom from one another.

Many memorable outings during the past year offered us more opportunities to get to know one another and experience our culture. Denver’s Opera Colorado performance of “Girl of the Golden West” introduced us to the original Puccini melody that Andrew Lloyd Webber lifted and made popular in “Phantom of the Opera”. The Boulder Opera performance of “Carmen” was knock-your-socks-off fun and a few additional opera outings to “Don Giovanni”, “Elixir of Love”, and a night of arias satisfied our opera buffs. Shakespeare fans enjoyed “Comedy of Errors”, Boulder Ballet wowed our dance followers with a variety performance outdoors at the Boulder band shell and indoors with “The Nutcracker.” Symphony lovers filled their hearts with the romance of Brahms after a lovely dinner on the veranda at Chautauqua.

Songs of popular musicals entertained us at Allenspark’s “Some Enchanted Evening” and a variety of songs told a story at the Peak to Peak Chorale’s spring show. Equally lovely were the voices of the children from Little Bear Preschool when they joined us for lunch and serenaded us before departing.

We danced in the storm-dark barn at Peaceful Meadow Farm to gypsy jazz, over forty of us learned folk dancing after a Mountain MidLife Dinner and several of us danced together monthly at the swing dances with live big band music at the Avalon in Boulder.


Concertgoers and outdoor music fest fans kicked up the dance floor dirt at FACE and Hazel Miller, while the indoor diners relaxed to the beautiful harmonies of Strangebyrds. Keeping all those folks in great dancing shape was the work of Registered Nurse Debbie Neal, providing care for over 90 pairs of feet.

Cheering for the CU Buffs at their winning homecoming game on a warm fall evening and the Colorado Rockies on a summer day made memorable sporting events. Vintage car hobbyists hit the Shelby American Collection with enthusiasm. Quilt hobbyists enjoyed the men’s quilt show in Golden. Film buffs reveled in the newly discovered “Daughter of Dawn” silent film accompanied by live orchestra and many enjoyed our dozens of complimentary tickets to several films at the Boulder International Film Festival. For live theater, we caught the Boulder Dinner Theater show of “Footloose”. Those whose hobby is sampling vintners enjoyed a magnificent celebration of Wines from Around the World, hosted by our friends at Nederland Community Library Foundation, which launched an interest group meeting quarterly to sample wines from individual countries and a special tasting at the newly opened mountain location of Augustina’s Winery. We learned the secrets of brewing honey wines at Redstone Meadery and our brew lovers enjoyed a couple of evenings at the Very Nice Brewing Company.

We learned a lot, too. Touring the historic town of Cardinal with its owner Lexie Armitage on a beautiful morning celebrated local history, as did the after-dinner presentation by Michael O’Neill about incidents on the Switzerland Trail railroad. Another big hit, the evening tour with Jim Elder of our own Nederland Mining Museum concluded with a social gathering in town. We watched computer-assisted jigsaws carve the intricate patterns of Liberty Puzzles and enormous printers and embossers print cards at Leanin’ Tree, where the Museum of Western Art impressed our art aficionados as much as our Open Studios tours through Gilpin and Boulder. Senior Law Day and the Caregiving Symposium filled us with more information and resources than we could absorb in a day and we brought lots of materials home to learn more.

Some of us didn’t need to travel out of the mountains to learn new things. Speakers at our lunches taught us about neurologic music therapy, Olympic rowing, nutrition, the Audio Information Network, Senior Reach, food safety, Amendment 69, firefighting, medication interactions, local medical equipment loaner closets, and decluttering and downsizing our homes. We met many varieties of butterflies on our local morning hike with lepidopterist Venice Kelly before evacuating for the Cold Springs fire on a fateful July afternoon.

We wrapped up the year with the biggest annual indoor event at the Community Center – the two day extravaganza of live music performances, photos with Santa, café foods, the original handcrafted wares of nearly 60 local artisans and crafters, and 330 gift items up for bid: the Holiday Mountain Market and Silent Auction, always on the first weekend of December.

At the end of August we said good-bye to our chef of several years Kim Culver and welcomed our new chef, Andrea Frazer, and her team of assistants. We also welcomed our first NAS office assistant, Christy Yoh, in October. Our friends at the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging promoted our Mountain Options Counselor Keith Carr and brought us mountain resident Colleen Sinclair to continue to assist our local seniors two days a week. We rooted for several friends who faced accidents, injuries, and surgeries successfully throughout the year. We never said a proper good-bye to a few of our friends who moved on to another town or another world (see last week’s paper for these), but we think of them constantly.

We celebrate every week the hundreds of hardy mountain folks who continue to endure our winter winds to enjoy the magnificence of the days in between and keep showing up at events to make this such a fabulous community. We thank everyone who volunteered their time and energy to make so much happen for all of us and to the many who contribute funds to keep it all going.

Thank you for a tremendous Twentieth Anniversary year, everyone. We look forward to launching a fabulous third decade together!

Serene Karplus

About the Author: Serene Karplus – is the Executive Director of the Nederland Area Seniors, Inc. (NAS) which assists senior citizens in enhancing their quality of life, enabling them to live a life of respect and honor.  This is accomplished through the facilitation of nutrition, transportation, education, recreation, socialization and outreach programs for all seniors living in the Greater Nederland Area. Serene is a contributor to The Mountain-Ear with her Senior Scene column.