The Bradley Bourbonnais Senior Club marks its 40th anniversary with a community open house today.
The event is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the senior center, 1690 Newtowne Drive, Bourbonnais.
“Our goal is to get you out of that recliner before the recliner swallows you up,” said Mary Pace, president of the club.
The club currently has 108 members. Eight of those are “Life Members,” a designation earned when you hit 90 years of age.
The club has a wide variety of activities: casino trips; restaurant trips; buffets at the Quality Inn; and a monthly game day.
The monthly game day is held on the fourth Thursday of the month, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seniors play Yahtzee, dominoes and assemble a jigsaw puzzle. All of it while holding a lively conversation. The idea is to keep the mind sharp. People are encouraged to bring a dish to share, but if you can’t cook, or don’t have the time, come anyway.
“Seniors like to talk with other seniors,” Pace said. “There are things you do not want to burden your family with.” The seniors can reminisce over a common history.
The place is about a “kind word and warm gesture,” she said. “It’s a place to go and help with the void in our lives.”
Some members join, she said, after they have lost someone in their family. It’s a way to be normal again, even if you are alone.
Membership is $10 per year and is open to anyone 55 and older who lives in the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School District. The club was established 40 years ago to thank seniors who had campaigned to support a 1979 referendum to build a new theater and swimming pool at the school.
But the seniors were squeezed out of the BBCHS building five years ago when their space was needed by the school. The Newtowne site, owned by the village of Bradley, has been a blessing, Pace said. There’s ample parking right next to the door. That’s a plus for seniors.
The club is nonprofit, and charges a fee for many of its activities. The casino trips, usually three per year, are $30, but a participating senior gets $15 of that back in play at the casino and $10 worth of food. Likewise, the trips to out-of-town lunches, such as the Amish Home in Sullivan, are $7 each for the bus. Your lunch tab is on your own. When the club has its buffets at the Quality Inn, each senior pays for his or her own ticket.
Historically, the mayors of both Bradley and Bourbonnais have pitched in to help the club on one of its annual trips.
Like many other social activities, membership in the club has declined in recent years. The club once had as many as 400 members. Many, Pace said, passed away over the years. It is a little harder to get new members in, because people these days are “busy.”
The club has a number of widows and widowers, as well as couples.
Current officers of the Bradley-Bourbonnais Senior Club include: Pace, the president; Vice President Dolores Phillips; Secretary Caryle See; and Treasurer Carl Anderson.
A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.