May 8, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, email@example.com,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since early1986 California State University, Bakersfield's 60+ Club members have responded to university requests and have provided over 48,000 volunteer hours of service to CSUB. On Thursday, May 11, the 60+ Club will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the CSUB Stockdale Room at 2 p.m.
Representing voices from CSUB will be President Horace Mitchell; Michael Chertok, vice president of university advancement; Fred Dorer, vice president emeritus; Ken Ishida, CSUB faculty liaison; and Shannon Hill, alumni relations director.
One of the founding members and organizing committee members, Sunny Scofield, will represent "A Voice in the Beginning." Scofield, one of nine founding members remembers the early days of the club and how, in 1985, Chuck Jones' curiosity sparked the interest for a club for older adults.
Scofield became actively involved in getting the club organized by conversing with university officials and then by traveling to San Francisco to speak with more people. In March 1986, the club held its first meeting and 125 people showed up.
During the first decade, the 60+ Club began with 185 charter members and the numbers grew steadily. By the end of 10 years, membership was at an all time high with 339 members. During this period, 60+ saw many opportunities for enrichment of life. They held their first elderhostel, had the first gathering of the Brunch/Lunch Bunch, now known as the Diners Club, and held a "Senior Prom" that was reminiscent of their high school proms.
The 60+ Club has also received various awards, such as the Beautiful Bakersfield Award in the senior category. In addition, the club was selected as a showcase university-based program in a nationwide study of learning in retirement organization. The 60+ Club observed its 10th anniversary in 1995-1996 and was presented with a plaque honoring this recognition.
The second decade made way for more success. The club was recognized with the CSUB Student Body Campus Choice Award for "Outstanding Campus Support." The 60+ Club is known for its volunteerism for campus events such as the CSUB barbecues, tending to the Walter Stiern Rose Garden and ushering at performing arts events. The club also introduced the new "60+ Fight Song" written by Wendall Kinney.
Between 1998 and 2000 the club saw another growth in membership, reaching to about 386. Members also kept themselves busy with bus trips to the Picasso and Van Gogh exhibits, wine tasting in Central California and the Whiskey Flat Days in Eastern Kern County. In March 2000, 60+ members saw the culmination of a five-year study and research project by Art Johnson with the Walter W. Stiern Papers Collection, an extensive profile on the former senator, presented to the CSUB Stiern Library.
Membership increased to almost 400 members between 2000 and 2002 and in the following years members voted to keep the 60+ Club as a viable group that would support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which focuses on adults 50 years of age and older. This program provides continued education for these adults without the stress of tests and grading.
What does the 60+ Club plan to accomplish within the next 10 years?
Jacqueline Hultquist, chair of the 60+ Club's 20th anniversary committee, hopes that they survive. She hopes that 60+ will remain active in the community and will be attractive to prospective new members. "This is a good core of people," Hultquist said.
Current 60+ Club president An Chamberlin's vision is for continued growth in membership and volunteer opportunities for the university. "The goal is to always draw for more opportunities for members to lead fulfilling lives," Chamberlin said. "Helping the university is wonderful and it would be nice for us to do more volunteer service for the professors."
The 60+ Club was founded as a service club for the university in March 1986. The club is a partnership between the university and the community of retired persons, and is made up of persons from all walks of life who are concerned citizens, active, curious and with the time pursue life-long learning. The club is a member-motivated and member-governed organization. Its purpose is to provide personal enrichment, educational opportunities, volunteer challenges and social activities in a campus environment utilizing the resources of the university and the experience of its members.
The 60+ Club is for anyone 60 years of age and older or retired. The club holds meetings on the second Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. and has 14 interest groups and eight volunteer groups. For more information, please call (661) 654-2586.