Cheers to Cayucos seniors group

As 2009 becomes history, I wish the best of times to all next year. Reporting your Estero Bay stories is my gift to treasure. Note one more — with many more to file in 2010.

The fountain of youth is bubbling healing waters in Cayucos. The spigot is inside the lavender building at 200 South Ocean Blvd.

Cayucos Seniors has programs of the kind familiar to most senior centers. But there is something unique — an energy that motivates members to stay active, bonded and purpose-driven — living and working for each other while serving their community.

Chartered on Aug. 17, 1973 with 50 members, the group now claims more than 300. Self-sustaining programs such as its thrift store, developed in 2001 by Arley Robinson, and recycling-can crushers led by Bob Pollock fund its programs and allows donations to community efforts.

Members meet to socialize. Several create crafts to sell. They encourage health screenings, flu shots, food pantry, income tax preparations, exercise classes, bridge — whatever members want.

Phyllis Craig said she complained to her children that her friends were gone, and at age 93, it was hard to develop new friendships.

“They encouraged me to start an over-90s group. I put a notice in our monthly bulletin. About five called. We started going to the symphony, out to dinner, to the elephant seals — some place each month or more,” Craig said. “We’ll meet at the center and talk old times, the music we danced to — things our children don’t always relate to.” Craig says the group has about 20 members.

“We have a seniors’ van with experienced drivers,” Thrift Chairman Pat McKaye said. “Members call to reserve it for group outings or doctor and dental appointments, grocery shopping or to the airport. Monthly, we enjoy area restaurants.”

Potlucks at the vets hall are held on the second Wednesday of each month. A crew cooks hot dishes and members bring side dishes for the 100-plus who attend. They host Casa de Flores guests, plus birthdays, anniversaries and surprises are celebrated.

RSVP Senior Volunteer Services gave Cayucos Seniors the 2009 Volunteer Station of the Year award. Several members, including McKaye and Robinson, were recognized for donating thousands of hours.

“There is a job for everyone,” said McKaye, who moved to Cayucos at 80 and will join the 90s group in 2010. “Getting involved is the best way to meet some wonderful new friends, and we welcome more help.”

Could it be the healing waters are simply the positive attitude that keeps Cayucos Seniors active, involved and contributing daily to their world? Cheers — a brimming glassful in 2010.

Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.