Get ready for some heartfelt hugs as we say goodbye to Jane Allan | SENIOR OUTLOOK

Are you ready to party? Jane Allan officially ends her long and dedicated service to the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center this month and the center is planning a royal send-off.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, Sept. 26 to be at Saint Barnabas’ Parish Hall by 2 p.m. so you don’t miss any of the fun. There will be light refreshments, entertainment, and very possibly a surprise or two.

A planning committee, consisting of senior center board of directors members Nancy Lewars (chairwoman), Sheila Curwen, Dian O’Brien and Judy Tingley, has been hard at work putting the festivities together. Eileen Magnuson, our assistant director, is helping the committee.

The Evergreen Singers, directed by Charlene Moore, will be singing and the BISCC Line Dancers, led by Michiko Sackett, will be dancing, and who knows what other entertainments await us. Those are still on the drawing board as the committee firms up their plans. Perhaps they are keeping them secret to surprise us.

Don Fisher, board president, and a speaker from the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Parks & Recreation District are scheduled to say a few words. Other invited guests may have prepared remarks as well. Bill Allan and Eileen Magnuson have compiled a collage of photographs for the party depicting the Jane Allan years at the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center.

Plan to enjoy some tasty treats as we gather to socialize and celebrate 13 years of great growth, innovation and leadership with Jane Allan at the helm, first as assistant director, then director of the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center. Delores Bussell and her experienced hospitality committee are in charge of the refreshments.

All of Bainbridge Island benefited from Jane’s service to us. Because of her tireless work with our board, Kitsap Emergency Management, Homeland Security, the city of Bainbridge Island and the Red Cross, the center was designated an Island warming center. This made the purchase of a generator for the senior center possible.

Should the coming of winter cause power outages of extended length, Bainbridge Islanders can find relief from the cold in the commons, with trained volunteers ready to assist as needed.

Among Jane’s many other accomplishments has been her tireless work toward meeting the ever expanding needs of a rapidly growing and changing membership. Today’s seniors are more active and interested in new programs of every description. They bring their ideas and find a willing staff ready to encourage them in creating a space and time to introduce and share their passion with other members.

So many classes, games, lectures, sports and excursions were added to the senior center’s menu over the Jane Allan years that we long ago ran out of places to house them.

The senior center board and Jane lobbied long and hard for a larger building, carefully canvassing the needs of members and the advice of architects, but alas, neither the space nor the money was there to make it happen.

The group refused to be discouraged and went back to the drawing board. Working with the city of Bainbridge Island, who own our building, a better configuration of the existing space was decided upon to make more efficient use of what we had.

The endless hours Jane and the board spent in coordinating the needs and resources of the senior center with those of the city paid off.

First the former Kitsap Health building, east of the commons, was reconfigured, enlarging the conference room and turning former examining rooms into temporary quarters for the staff. With the staff offices and reception desk moved into the east wing, the senior center west wing could be completely torn down.

What had once been a small house, altered and re-altered for group use, has been removed and replaced with a more structurally sound building, updated wiring and plumbing and walls more efficiently placed to serve our needs.

With September ushering in the end of her years as our Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center director, Jane Allan won’t be in the doorway to welcome us when the new building she helped make happen opens in November. But as we admire our new home, with its fresh paint and furnishings, we won’t forget how much we owe her for making it happen.

Look back with pride, Jane. Thanks for the warming center, added programs and new building.

We’re looking forward to toasting your accomplishments on Sept. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Saint Barnabas Parish Hall. Be ready for some heartfelt hugs.

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