Tue, June 25

Camp Verde Senior Center
Serving up lunch and services

With a full-sized pool table, computers and daily activities such as cards, scrabble, bingo and dominoes, there are plenty of fun things to do at the Camp Verde Senior Center.

With a full-sized pool table, computers and daily activities such as cards, scrabble, bingo and dominoes, there are plenty of fun things to do at the Camp Verde Senior Center.

For the last 25 years, Dottie Heinze has volunteered at the Camp Verde Senior Center, preparing and serving nutritious lunches five days a week. She has no plans of retiring, much less slowing down.

It's not part of her recipe for life.

Not that long ago, she fell and broke her hip, an injury that does not bode well for anyone but can be particularly debilitating to the elderly. Three months later, though, she was back in the kitchen.

"Gotta keep going," she says, "Ya just gotta keep going."

Dottie Heinze exemplifies the fighting spirit of the dozen or so very active volunteers who, for the last 32 years, have kept the center itself going.

Perched high on the hill above downtown, the Camp Verde Senior Center is a hub of activity for anywhere from two to four dozen seniors, five days a week. They are the ones who make it happen. It is entirely self-supporting

"Most people don't realize it but the senior center was built by a group of local seniors back in the late 1970s. They donated the land, the lumber, the labor and the love," Senior Center President Marion Savage says.

In addition to the daily lunch program, the center serves as a clearinghouse for information, while providing a variety of services for area seniors, all oriented toward their well being, their assistance and their amusement.

AARP volunteers have come in every week to assist with personal income taxes. Every three months, Verde Mobile Hearing Solutions drops by to provide hearing tests, along with hearing aid fitting, cleaning and servicing.

The Northern Arizona Counsel of Governments provides members with regular legal assistance involving health and long-term care, social security, abuse, neglect, fraud and exploitation problems. They also help draft powers of attorney and living wills.

Blood pressure checks are provided free of charge on the second Wednesday of each month, and speakers, most related to healthcare services, are regular visitors at lunchtime. The center also distributes food items that are donated on a regular basis.

But it's not all serious stuff. There are plenty of fun things to do.

"We do like to think of ourselves as an active group. Having fun is a big pat of what we do," Savage says.

Wednesdays are dominoes, Thursdays are scrabble, cards and more dominoes, and Fridays are bingo. The center also has a bank of computers with Internet service that are open to the members as well as the public.

And the back room has a full-size pool table that keeps fairly busy, except perhaps at Christmas when it's covered with decorations being sold at the annual Christmas Bazaar fundraiser.

"Fundraising is something we do all the time," Savage says. "We have to do it all the time, because we depend entirely on the money we raise from our thrift shop, what we get from our lunch sales, our fundraisers and the occasional donations.

"Right now, though, our biggest need is getting more seniors to join up, especially the young ones."

Where: 263 W. Maryvale

Phone: (928) 567-6356

Open: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Membership: $15 a year open to anyone 45 or older

Lunches: Monday to Friday begins at 11:30, $4 members, $5 non-members

Thrift Store: Mon. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fri and Sat. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.