BLAINE, Minn. – (Nov. 30, 2017) – Shelley Johnson has been the director of the Mary Ann Young Senior Center in Blaine for 20 years.
“Best job I’ve ever had, couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” said Johnson.
This building is bustling with activity all day, evening and even on weekends. It’s been bringing in seniors for daily programs and a weekday lunchtime meal since 1992.
“An average[day] is about 100[people], for big parties…we typically have 120[people] or more,” said Johnson.
It’s those people that keep Shelley coming back day after day and year after year.
“The people are the reason why I am still here, love them to death,” said Johnson.
Over the years Shelley along with long time senior center coordinator Ann Genosky have created programs that have engaged each new population of seniors.
“We have continued to add…instead of one thing going on at a time we will have maybe three things. Sometimes we have had up to 70 [people] just to come watch a movie with us,” said Johnson.
With all the programs they run Shelley does have her favorites.
“I love the Wii Bowling group just because they get really excited. You hear a lot of chatter and laughter and camaraderie. Line dance is fun because they have music going on,” said Johnson.
With all the programming going on space is always a concern. A potential new senior center was attached to the community center referendum in 2016 but failed. The push for a new space has not stopped and answers could be coming soon.
“We have an architectural team that is working on a space needs study. There is going to be a plan put together in January that will go to the Blaine City Council for review,” said Johnson.
Shelley sees the senior center has much more than just a place for seniors to hang out, she sees it as vital to their overall health.
“I think it is critical to people’s health and well-being. If you live alone maybe you have lost a spouse…it is really vital that people get out and be social and meet new people. You need to develop new friendships and you need a place to go and do that,” said Johnson.