A Wii bit of fun

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Henry County’s Life Enrichment Center is known locally as the senior center, but Activities Director Debbie Drury wants residents to know it belongs to everyone in the county.

The Tri-County Community Action Agency’s senior program does use the facility every week day, and it appears to be the “cool” place to be for the over-60 set.

Interactive Nintendo Wii games have become as popular as card games. Group members even participate in a Wii bowling tournament from October through December. Though the Henry County faction did not compete nationally last year, they could this fall.

A November 2009 broadcast of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered highlighted the phenomenon. Joshua Brockman said from California to New York 186 teams competed. He reported the tournament sparked fierce competition.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the reason is that the Wii has made video gaming fun and accessible for seniors, a group he said never thought of themselves as video gamers.

Drury said seniors at the center just cannot get enough of the fun.

Besides bowling, the center offers Wii bicycling, sword fighting, rowing, hula hoop, tennis and ping pong to name a few.

“They may sound like they are hard to do, but they’re not,” she said.

Drury said Wii video gaming also may promote a more active lifestyle. “Some actually have been to their doctors who told them that Wii is good for their health,” she said.

Another way the center helps seniors to live a healthier life is through a cooking class that meets monthly. Participants are asked to provide an ingredient for the recipe being prepared.  “We try to keep it healthy, non-fattening and simple,” she said, “between four and five ingredients.”

In December, the group cooked a stir-fry like dish that included cabbage, potatoes and onions. The cooking club will meet this month from 10 a.m. until noon on Thursday, Jan. 21.

The center will begin hosting Bunco beginning this month at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22.

Bunco is a popular dice game played in teams of two. Players take turns rolling the dice and trying to amass as many points as possible to win each round. The game is played at tables of four.

Sequence and Rook are two more games regulars enjoy.

Tai Chi classes on DVD also start up this month beginning at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, Jan. 6, and are open to everyone.

Drury said if participants miss out on any particular session the teaching begins at Session 1 each time.  “It’s simple,” she said, “and each time it catches you up.”

Drury said the agency has planned a full range of activities for 2010, many of which will not be limited to a particular age group.

Center hours are 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the facility also may be used during evening hours and on weekends.

For more information call Debbie Drury at 845-7808 or send an e-mail to www.tricountycaaky.org.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.