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Reaching out to seniors
Offerings increase at Sexton Hall
Sexton WEB 1
Bruce Watson teaches a tai chi class Thursday at the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center, which opened in September. The center offers various activities for those 50 and older. - photo by Jim Dean

It’s one of the most popular activities at the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center, but visitors couldn’t gauge that by just listening.

Thursday morning, the 18-person tai chi class practiced the Eastern martial art in near silence.

Later that afternoon, the center’s hall would buzz with excitement as canasta players gathered for games.

“They’re a noisy bunch,” said Chris Luttrell, program coordinator for the center, said with a laugh.

The contrasting activities are just a few of the many the center at 2115 Chloe Road has offered for adults 50 and older since opening in late September.

Some programs, such as tai chi, drew an immediate response, while others have developed smaller followings, said manager Valerie Rhoads.

“We’re coming along. It usually takes about a year for us to find out what they want, and for them to find out we’re there,” Rhoads said. “We’ve been pleased with the progress so far.”

The south Forsyth center has expanded its programs this year to provide for many interests as visitation rises.

Offerings include exercise classes for physically active adults, various art forms and computer lessons, which Luttrell said are often the most popular.

“We’ve filled up again and have a wait list going,” she said while standing in the 14-computer lab.

Computer lessons can be taught one-on-one at the Charles Place center in Cumming, but the dedicated room at Sexton Hall accommodates group classes.

A room for game play allows folks to socialize or take classes on mahjong, canasta and bridge, among others.

The center held its first evening dance in January, a social event it hopes to have monthly, Rhoads said.

“That seems to be something [our visitors] are all wanting,” she said.

Forsyth County’s senior services department operates three centers for seniors.

Residents can purchase passes to attend activities at all three, or pay as they go for those that charge a fee.

The memberships offer five levels of involvement, ranging up to an all-inclusive annual pass.

Though adults can visit all three centers, frequent visitors often have a favorite.

Rhoads said staff members have noticed several new faces at Sexton Hall, which she said may be due to its south Forsyth location.

The other facilities are the Center at Charles Place, 595 Dahlonega Hwy., and the Hearthstone Lodge Community Center, 7305 Lanier Drive.