ELKRIDGE SENIOR Center Director Elaine Flemion knows how to choose activities that appeal to the center's patrons.
"Our seniors tend to be more patriotic than the younger generations," Flemion said. "The flag is sacred for most seniors."
Not surprisingly, the flag history presentation by American Legion Post 109 of Halethorpe found a receptive audience in the overflow crowd at Elkridge Senior Center June 21. Members of Post 109 displayed all 27 versions of the U.S. flag during the presentation, which emphasized how the Stars and Stripes evolved with the admission of states to the union.
The presentation was originally developed to teach students in area schools about the history and meaning of the flag. There were some children in the audience, but the seniors present were clearly moved by the program.
"I enjoyed the presentation very much," said audience member Ann Johnson. "I like all the [center's] presentations, along with the cards and the bingo."
After the presentation concluded with the singing of "God Bless America," the center's patrons remained in their seats to share a meal with seniors from the Savage, Owen Brown and East Columbia senior centers.
Vivi Provine of the Senior Center Plus program at Owen Brown noted that such interactions between "frail center" and "well center" patrons were positive for all.
"In particular, it's good for our frail center people," Provine said. "They really draw something positive off the energy of those who are more active."
As a "well center," the Elkridge facility structures its activities to appeal to seniors who are in relatively good health and continue to lead active lives. Flemion said the center has 71 registered patrons, most of whom participate in events at the center two or three times a week.
"Most of our people live in private homes in the community," Flemion said. "A few are in assisted-living facilities, but everyone has lives outside of what goes on at the center."
Each month, the center distributes a calendar of activities, and patrons take part in any events that are of interest to them. Many activities, such as card- and game-playing, are held on a regular basis at the center. Other activities involve day trips to points of interest and events taking place in the area.
"Seniors love to travel," Flemion said.
Recent trips have included outings to a Baltimore Orioles game, Pimlico racetrack and Toby's Dinner Theatre for a production of "42nd Street." Thirty seniors have registered for an outing to Crabfest.
Though the outings are an important part what the center offers, the sense of community at the center is of particular significance to most of its patrons. They are united by their age, but they also reflect the diversity of the general population in the region.
"I come three times a week, mostly for the cards and the company," said Kalidas Vaidya, who emigrated from India to the United States 10 years ago.
Elkridge Senior Center has been at its current location, on Washington Boulevard, for five years. The center shares a building with the Elkridge branch of the Howard County Public Library. Information: 410-313-4930.
Boy Scout Troop 851 now has a permanent location for its meetings: VFW Post 7472 in Ellicott City; meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Boys interested in joining the troop are encouraged to attend.
In addition, Troop 851 is on the Internet at http://ftp.vpl.umd.edu/nonprofits/t851/. The troop's Web site includes listings of activities, a troop calendar and a online version of the troop's newsletter. Information: 410-465-6178.
On July 26, the Miller branch of the Howard County Public Library will offer a free training class on using the library, for licensed and soon-to-be licensed child care providers.
The training session will focus on library services and materials for child care providers, with particular emphasis on the library's visiting storyteller service.
Mandatory preregistration begins July 12. Information: 410-313-7783.