Six years ago, the Centennial Senior Center found itself at a bit of a crossroads.
The organization had called many different locations in Concord home and another move was on the horizon. It was the perfect opportunity to step back and review the next course of action – and then make a radical change.
So not only would it have another new location, but Centennial Senior Center would be no longer. The decision was made to reopen under the name of GoodLife Programs & Activities to properly represent what the organization was all about.
“They decided to rebrand and change the name,” said Susan Greenblott, director of development and marketing. “It was really to change the focus to being active and focus on the programming.”
It’s about the exercise classes and seminars, the bus trips and social get-togethers. It’s about the participants who use GoodLife as a way to maintain relationships, create new ones, get out of the house and enjoy their retirement days.
GoodLife is open to anyone 50 years or older, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to have its name merely represent just the older population. The average age of their participants is 65 to 75, but they have some in their mid-90s who go to a class every week. While many retirees enjoy the programming that GoodLife offers, there are many that are still working full- or part-time who use it as a way to add a little fun to their weekly routine.
GoodLife opened in the Smokestack Center at 254 N. State St. in Concord in 2013, and has seen an incredible amount of growth over the last six years, Greenblott said. The key was revamping the program offerings to better adhere to what their participants wanted. It was about listening as much as anything else.
“We didn’t want to be your typical senior center,” Greenblott said. “But a place that’s all about health and wellness.”
By far the most popular thing they offer is exercise classes. Cardio for Heart Health, which is held every Monday and Wednesday mornings, is the most well attended, followed by Peaceful Yoga on Tuesday nights. Last March, after many requests, GoodLife added more evening classes to fit in the schedule for those still working.
“We had been getting feedback for a few years about having more classes in the evening,” Greenblott said.
Some of them like Peaceful Yoga proved to be popular, while others didn’t. The programming is always changing and adjusting based on needs, wants and feedback.
“We’ve figured out what’s been most popular,” Greenblott said.
In addition to all the classes geared toward exercise and health, GoodLife also offers programming in the arts, movie days and an open studio every Friday for those looking for a space to paint, make jewelry and scrapbook. One of the most well attended is Art Made Easely, a one-day class where you leave with your masterpiece at the end.
They have monthly bus trips around New England from March through December, with the 2019 schedule beginning with an excursion to the Boston Flower Show next month on March 14.
“We’ve been getting requests for a couple years, so we’re finally going,” Greenblott said.
There’s also an outing to the New England Aquarium with whale watch and Newport, R.I. for a speakeasy and murder mystery trip.
There are seminars, both educational and informational, and for pure fun. They have topics ranging from healthcare to taxes to forest conservation. There’s even one planned for March with the daughter of the Archie cartoonist.
“We try to do a variety of topics, something that’s going to appeal to everyone,” Greenblott said.
If there’s a topic you’re interested in, chances are GoodLife will have something planned – or will if you ask.
The GoodLife Book Club meets on the last Wednesday of the month and they try to have a fun social every month, like the one for St. Patrick’s Day on March 13. They even have a few potlucks planned.
“It’s a great way to get an introduction if you’ve never been to GoodLife,” Greenblott said. “It’s a fun and easy way to see the place, meet people and talk.”
The costs range depending on the programming. The trips always have a fee, as do a lot of the art classes where materials are provided. Some of the exercise classes are $50 for eight weeks, but they do offer free opportunities each week.
“There are actually six free classes you could come to in terms of exercise each week,” Greenblott said.
The goal is to keep the costs down as much as possible, and offer plenty of free programming. Many of the classes and seminars require registration prior to, so its a good idea to check the calendar for the most up to date info.
GoodLife is open Monday through Friday. For more, visit goodlifenh.org, call 228-6630 or email info@GoodLifeNH.org.