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'I hope I 'm half as cool as they are,' senior center employee says

Members of the McDuffie County Senior Center can look forward to more trips and activities, thanks to the addition of a new program assistant.

Superintendent Merlinda Hill said the position was empty for a little more than a month before Sara McGhee took over July 18, and both said the seniors were longing for their one to two trips each month.

"They love to go shopping," said McGhee, who said she's still trying to get to know most of the group's 200 members. "They love to eat. I'm figuring that out. And they can't wait to go bowling."

That trip to Fort Gordon Bowling Alley is scheduled for Aug. 25, two weeks after a trip to Bernice's Blueberry Patch on Salem Road. In September, the privately and publicly funded organization will be taking a 31/2-day trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with McGhee driving the bus.

The 32-year-old Orlando, Fla., native knows a lot of people her age might not understand the elderly, and she said her own perspective changed when she got closer to her 75-year-old grandmother, who spent three years as a member of the senior center in Thomson. Now McGhee, who graduated from Thomson High School and lives in Warrenton, said she has learned more about seniors' interests.

"Just because you're older doesn't mean you can't have fun," she said. "I hope I'm half as cool as they are when I'm older." McGhee's still figuring out the best way to do her job, but Hill says the new assistant's eagerness is serving her well. McGhee said about 30 people come to the center on a typical weekday for various classes and activities, with more coming for bingo on Mondays and Wednesdays.

She hopes to continue to make friends and to increase the community, giving the seniors "a home away from home."

But they can still only do so much in the building across from the health department on Greenway Street. That's why McGhee will continue to seek out the best trips to cater to the interests of those she serves.

Web posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011

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