2012 brought a number of new programs to the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Citizens Center, according to a report released to the North Little Rock City Council at its March 25 meeting.
The programs were designed to compliment the center’s wide array of standard offerings.
"We started a Kazoo band this year," states the report. "A group of ‘zany’ folks embarked on developing an activity that would be mostly fun for the participants and maybe a little enjoyable to those who are performed for."
The intent or organizing the band was to make sure that band members had fun. "If others had fun listening then that was okay too," according to the report.
The Kazoo Band made its debut at the Hays Center quarterly Fourth of July luncheon.
"Judging from the laughter our plan must have worked well," states the report. "We had our second gig at the Halloween program and again were received well."
Some tunes were recognizable while others needed a little prompting for the audience to appreciate.
"But as they say, ‘A good time was had by all.’ We have little idea that the Kazoo Band will be a keeper or not."
Some older programs were given new life in 2012.
"While chair volleyball is not a new event it is one that is taking on new life," states the report. "We introduced this event last year and we continue to have lots of interest in it."
The added benefit is it remains good exercise.
"We find it surprising that the competitive spirit does not leave someone just because they age. Watching a chair volleyball game will convince you that this is serious business."
According to the report, there were two trips members of the Hays Center took to Alaska in 2012. "We had 45 Hays members travel to see whales, igloos, and bears and these travelers were not disappointed," stated the report. "The weather was great, especially after the hot summer we had had in Arkansas."
The next Alaska trip had about 40 Hays members en route. "They too were blessed with so many beautiful signs and weather."
The Hays Center afterward took a trip to Mackinac, Mich., where 88 members were escorted to the island.
"The Grand Hotel is on the island. This hotel is where many Presidents have stayed and the movie "Somewhere in Time" was filmed on this island," states the report.
No gas-powered vehicles were found on the island. "Transportation includes horse and carriage and bicycles."
The group also went through the busiest lock and dam in the United States known as the Soo Locks located in Sault Sainte Marie. "Directly across the locks is Canada," states the report.
The report states, "So, the group went through the Canadian side and re-entered on the U.S. Side Other sights they visited included a lighthouse and the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids."
The final trip of the year was taken to Washington, D.C., where 45 members took part.
"Some new travelers went to visit the Wall for the first time since the Vietnam War ended," states the report. "This group did a lot of walking."
The report gave a lot of credit for the Hays Center’s success to its 10 years of dedicated volunteers.
"Our programs make good use of volunteers," according to the report. "Since our opening day, Feb. 3, 2003, we have built our programs on volunteer service."
The large programs at the Hays Center are taught by volunteers.
"Volunteers man our front desk and give tours of the building," according to the report. "We often say that we would not be what we are without our volunteers."
Volunteers do much more than occupy space or handle a specific task.
"They are our best advertisement," he said. "Our volunteers recruit members. They see someone at the mall or at church and they talk about how much the Hays Center means to them and in no time at all the folks they are talking to decide to give us a try."
In 2012, Hays Center volunteers provided 10,067 hours of volunteer service to programs.
"They are the equivalent of five full-time employees but more than that they provide a service paid employees cannot provide," states the report. "They show the general public that they are here because the want to be. No other reason could bring them back week after week to show up in all kinds of weather to give of themselves to help their fellow seniors have such a wonderful place to spend some of their day. This service is truly something that money cannot buy."