Lake Forest center seeks to add members
The Friday afternoon poker group is a popular activity at Dickinson Hall, which is reinventing its image and developing programming to appeal more to the Baby Boomer set. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 12, 2012 3:26PM
LAKE FOREST — Re-branding the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center as Dickinson Hall is one way to attract younger seniors.
At least that’s the goal of Manager Marla Schachtel and the impetus behind a four-color brochure mailed community wide in the City of Lake Forest’s most recent Dialogue newsletter.
“The biggest revelation I’ve had in the past six months is in order to attract Baby Boomers, we have to take out the word ‘senior,’” Schachtel said.
She even has found that some seasoned adults don’t like the “S” label.
“People can be in their 80s or 90s and they don’t want to hear that term,” Schachtel said.
That’s where the change to Dickinson Hall comes in, she said.
“We know it’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re looking for that population that we’re hoping to grow,” Schachtel said.
The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff center is not alone in its re-branding effort.
“It’s basically the trend of the agencies and different centers for adults,” said Linda Anderson, director of leisure services for the Deerfield Park District.
In Deerfield, the Patty Turner Senior Center is now the Patty Turner Center. That’s a change that took place about 18 months ago, Anderson said. And that’s not all.
“At this point, we call it ‘an adult enrichment center for 50-plus,’” she said.
Barbara Kinsella of Lake Bluff never ha slet the “senior” term bother her. She’s been a member at Dickinson Hall ever since she stopped working full-time as a comptroller about a year ago. She goes to Grove Cultural Campus, where Dickinson Hall is located at 100 E. Old Mill Road in Lake Forest, every week for bridge, mah jongg and lectures. She even joined a Dickinson Hall focus group coordinated by Schachtel, which met for the first time Thursday, Oct. 4, to reach adults in their 50s and 60s.
“The place is lovely,” Kinsella said of Dickinson Hall. “They do such a great job and it’s so inviting.”
But she has struggled to convince friends to join her.
“I always call it Dickinson Hall,” she notes.
Kinsella thinks the new name may help, but believes competition for the free time of adults in her age group is partly to blame, too.
“There are so many different groups around,” said Kinsella, who belongs to two golf leagues and the Lake Bluff Garden Club.
As part of an effort to draw adults of all ages, Schachtel and her team have created a one-hour lecture series and offer both physical fitness activities as well as passive activities to help adults “explore life, learning, wellness, creativity and friendship,” Schachtel said.
The lecture “Power Foods for the Body & Mind” will be offered 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Dickinson Hall. In the evening, the presentation “Housing Options — Determining What, When, Where, How & Why,” will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Lake Forest High School West Campus, 300 S. Waukegan Road. Call (847) 234-2209 or go to www.cityoflakeforest.com for more information and a complete listing of events and activities.