This editorial appeared in the September 13, 2023 edition of the Star Valley Independent.
The valley’s senior population continues to grow as exemplified by what’s happening at the Thayne Senior Center in recent years. The center serves not only Thayne but also SV Ranch, Etna, Freedom and Alpine.
Melinda Pebbles, center director, says our “senior population is growing at a dramatic rate.”
She reported (See page one story), “The Thayne Senior Center’s board continues plans to build a safer facility, which will meet the needs of our seniors now and in coming years. Our current fundraising efforts are focusing on paying off the land that was purchased in 2021.”
The land Pebbles referenced is just behind (north) of the Thayne Elementary. Rep. Simpson and I stopped the governor by the site for a review of the project during one of his trips out west.
With the growth comes new demands on the existing center already shared with the Town of Thayne.
The director talks about lines that go down the hallway and out the door. The “out the door” part will come to a halt in a few weeks with the change of weather. Then we’ll have to double or triple the line loops like TSA. Will you ever get lunch or get through security? It’s about the same.
The bottom line, people have discovered Star Valley, and that includes our seniors. Among these are people that may not have called this place home during their earlier years but they’re finding it a great place to retire now because of the friendly atmosphere, the scenic beauty and health care that is above normal for a small rural area — thanks to Star Valley Health for establishing great programs, providers and facilities.
Pebbles advises, “A larger facility will be a great addition to the Lower Valley, not only for seniors and their families, but the entire [valley] community.
This project is called the Lower Valley Senior Resource Facility.
“A gathering place for community programs, education and resources, intergenerational programs, basic health services, and a safe space for active living is essential for our growing community.”
She is right, we have found that public meeting space is constantly in demand in Star Valley.
With the Senior Center, it provides a place for sociality and if you have noticed most of the older generation is not slowing down. This means a good place for activities.
I can recall my grandparents leading a rather quiet life in their “senior years.” I don’t see that now. This latest generation of seniors seem to want more involvement.
I informed my wife, who recently retired from teaching, that she shouldn’t plan to rest because rest wasn’t on my schedule. I know. I purposely cross out any entries that suggest rest and retirement. There is work to be done!
If I’m not working to get the website updated, a newspaper out and 13 different newscasts plugged into our radio stations on a daily basis then I’m on the road and trekking across this great state for meetings in Cheyenne or various other Wyoming places. Plus, an occasional run to D.C. for energy related causes.
Why, and I emphasize, why slow down? There is much to be accomplished in this life.
The only thing that leaves me frustrated is trying to get my body to keep up with the 16-hour days.
I make many trips to Cheyenne and, if possible, over-and-back in day.
Years earlier I could make the round trip with my first return trip rest coming in Cokeville at the Flying J parking lot. Now, I’m frustrated that I can only make it as far back to the Port of Entry in Kemmerer before I need a rest.
What’s the country song say, “I Just Ain’t What I Used to be” … or whatever!
We have businesses to run and state a government to keep moving forward. The Lord willing, and a couple of votes, I’ll keep “my shoulder to the wheel” in all things.
I commend our Thayne Senior Center board for taking the same approach, seeking solutions and ensuring that we have a facility that will meet a changing Star Valley with a changing generation of seniors who will not be slowing down anytime soon.