MSAC and Community Services Updates

Current COVID guidelines affecting MSAC operations 

To subscribe to MSAC’s weekly e-letter and receive regular updates, events and resources, email msac@montpelier-vt.org.

To read the City’s weekly reports and resources, find the link at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/300/City-Manager.

We’re Hiring: Apply now for a September start Americorps position: Aging in Place Coordinator 

The position improves quality of life for area older adults by (1) participating in development for the newly established MSAC at Home program, based on the “Village” models successful in other communities around the state and country (2) assisting MSAC’s thriving FEAST Senior Meals Program, and (3) assisting seniors in accessing technology through development of MSAC’s new tech-device lending library. You can find all the details and application instructions at: http://bit.ly/36FBTzmPlease spread the word about this great position offering professional development, a stipend, rental subsidy, and the chance to serve the community in vital ways! 

FEAST Farm Camp starts next week – Spread the word!

August 9—13 | 9 am—1 pm | The Community Services Department invites kids ages 7-10 to join us in growing food for our neighbors. Together we will immerse ourselves in the daily cycles of farming for a one-week session. During the week, we will plant, harvest, and taste our way through the farm. We’ll also explore the surrounding ecosystem, and discover the biodiversity that helps support the food we eat.  To learn more about the FEAST Farm, click here. To find Camp Registration Form, click here.

 MSAC has two Trips in August: There’s still space to sign up for our Cascades Walk and Brunch Cruise! 
We’ve currently got trips scheduled to walk the Cascades Trail on the North Branch Nature Center between Worcester and Elmore on 8/23 as well as a 8/19 Brunch Cruise on the Northern Star in Lake Memphramagog near Newport. There are a few spaces left for each! Visit MSAC or https://www.montpelier-vt.org/313/Trips to find details, flyers and registration forms.

Come enjoy the City’s Rec pool – lap hours in morning, open swim afternoon/early evening! (Free for residents age 65+)

Montpelier City Pool Passes and Swim Lessons are still on sale, and it’s not too late to buy a seasonal pool pass. Daily Pool pass prices, schedules, FAQs and closure announcements can be found on the Pool webpage or by reaching out to the Recreation Department at 802-225-8699 or email nmaurice@montpelier-vt.org

Volunteer with MSAC at Home!

MSAC needs your help to continue providing valuable services to those in our community! MSAC at Home continues to offer indoor tasks assistance (such as changing lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries, installing and removing AC units), outdoor chore assistance (such as light garden and yard work, wood stacking, raking), and basic technology assistance to those who need it. Being able to maintain and eventually expand these offerings depends on the buy-in of community members, including MSAC members, who can provide these needed services to older adults in our area. As an MSAC at Home volunteer, you determine how much or little you can help and with what elements of the program. More information can be found on our website, https://www.montpelier-vt.org/msac-at-home, or by contacting MSAC’s Aging in Place Coordinator Andrew Gribbin at msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org or 262-6287.

Elders Together Report by Mary Alice Bisbee (next meeting: Monday, 8/16)

Older Elders gathered on Tuesday, July 13th from 1:00-2:30 PM at MSAC to share thoughts and ideas and to learn some ways for our aging brains to catch up on technological advances that, seemingly, have left some of us behind!  Seven of us were honored to hear from Luke Rackers, Technology Specialist at the Central VT Council on Aging (CVCOA).  He answered many of the questions we brought to him and told of CVCOA’s plans to find community volunteers that can work one on one with elders with specific needs.  He will get back to us individually. 

We also learned about our MSAC Americorps volunteer, Andrew Gribbin’s presentations on how to use ZOOM and new collaborations with a free program for elders, called Technology for Tomorrow that is taught on ZOOM.  (I attended a class on Introduction to Search Engines and plan to attend another one on July 28th called Basic Introduction to Digital Media Literacy.)  More information on these classes is available on page 7 of the MSAC newsletter for July, Active Times if you care to join.

Our group is open to all older elders who like to socialize, drop in from time to time, discuss issues of concern to our oldest generation and learn ways to help each other.  Our next meeting will be held on Monday, August 16th from 1:00-2:30 PM in the Resource Room at MSAC. All Central Vermont elders are invited.  You do not need to be a member of MSAC to attend and it is FREE! For more information contact Mary Alice Bisbee at 223-8140.

MSAC's doors are re-opened to the public! 

It's true, we've re-opened! Thank you to all the staff, instructors, volunteers, members and others who played a role in helping plan for and successfully re-open the building for in-person customer service, select summer classes and groups, and indoors FEAST meals the week of July 6-9! It has been heartening to see so many of you in-person after such a long hiatus, and we look forward to reuniting with more of you in the weeks to come! Remember, our COVID guidance is posted here

MSAC’s office hours and customer service options

We are once again open for in-person customer service in the office, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm most days with varying brief lunch closures.  Most Tuesdays we’ll close early at 3:00pm.  If you need to make arrangements for earlier customer service, Norma is often there earlier than 9am, so contact her to inquire: nmaurice@montpelier-vt.org. Call if you need help or have questions for Harry or Norma at 223-2518. 

MSAC at Home Services and Volunteer Opportunities

As a reminder, MSAC at Home services are available to you including certain indoor and outdoor chore assistance, fall-prevention home assessments and recommendations by a licensed OT, and technology assistance. We are seeking more community members of all ages interested in volunteering to help provide such services, too. Refer to the July newsletter, page 3 or the MSAC at Home webpage for more information and our Aging in Place Coordinator, Andrew’s contact information.  Andrew will be with us another month, and we are actively recruiting for his VHCB Americorps position (see below!). 

Summer Classes are still open, and some need more registrants! 

Our summer classes run 3-12 weeks, July to September - some in-person at MSAC and outdoor locations, and many remaining on Zoom!  (a handful may pivot to hybrid later in Summer). We’ve got 30 affordable series for you in Arts, Humanities & Movement - something for everyone! Most are open to the public including teens, so tell your friends!  Here are some classes with especially low numbers (a couple are at-risk* of cancellation), so we’d love to encourage you to sign up for them! 

  • Rughooking at MSAC 
  • Chinese Calligraphy at MSAC and Outside*
  • Tai Chi Fundamentals at MSAC
  • Qi Gong at MSAC (this and the above two are in 3-wk series)*
  • Singing Rounds Outside at Hubbard Park
  • Moderate Early Evening Yoga at the Rec Field by North Branch River
  • Moving into Stillness: Yoga & Meditation with Sarah Parker-Givens online
  • Yoga for Osteopororis & Osteopenia with Ragan Sheridan online
  • Community Dance Lab at State House Lawn*

Registration instructions: You can register online, by mail, by drop-off to our lockbox and in person. Hard copies of registration forms and class descriptions are available in our side entrance, or print at home using the website.

MSAC’s full July Active Times newsletter is available to read online and by paper copy

Inside you'll find our re-opening news, a volunteer profile of Linda Hogan, a report on our Annual Meeting and Advisory Council announcements, MSAC at Home service updates, Trip announcements for August, Summer class and drop-in group details, an updated weekly calendar, events with MSAC and community partners, Hiring announcements for the MSAC Director and our Americorps position, FEAST menu, a Farm Tour report, Parkapalooza, City Pool news and more! Click here to read the 16-page issue in full, with selected highlights also found in each week’s e-letters.   If you prefer and are not receiving it by USPS already, you can also pick up a copy for yourself or a friend at the Center in the side entrance.   

FEAST Farm Tour Report: A Resounding Success!


Click here for full report


 


Older Announcements

Advisory Council Recognitions and Welcomes

Thank you to outgoing Advisory Council (AC) members--Bob Barrett, Mary Alice Bisbee and Bill Doelger–all recognized for their unique contributions at the Annual Meeting on June 22. Welcome to newly elected AC members Mariah Lane, Jean Olson and Rick Winston, who started their two-year terms on June 22. Welcome back to Dianne Maccario and Laura Morse, both of whom were elected for a second term. Finally, on June 22, the AC also recognized two volunteers who really went “Above and Beyond” this past year with MSAC service: Mary Carlson and Laura Morse. 

Volunteer for FEAST
As we ramp back up to serving meals inside and delivering daily hot meals, we are going to need a lot more help again. If you or someone you know is interested in helping us bring nutritious, delicious meals to seniors who need them, please let us know by calling or emailing us: 802-262-6288, feast@montpelier-vt.org. We are seeking the following:

Meals on Wheels Drivers
FEAST Curbside Picnic Volunteers
FEAST Special Events Volunteers
FEAST Farm Support

FEAST Farm Journal 

Submitted by Leila Faulstich-Hon | ECO Americorps | Trees and Watersheds Steward
City of Montpelier Parks and Trees Department 

Today, I stand at the edge of the farm and look out, wide-eyed. So much has changed in a couple of weeks. Our new farm manager Dave arrived, and now the farm is in full swing. Today, the sun is spilling across the land. The baby leaves on the cottonwood trees spurt like green foam from twig tips and a gaggle of Canada Geese squawk across the sky. All week we have been busy preparing beds. FEAST Farm is a no-till farm. This means that we try to disturb the structure of the soil as little as possible. No-till farms require a lot of weeding in the beginning to establish a good place for crops to grow. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of volunteers to help us-- kneeing, sitting, squatting, up to their elbows in dirt, high schoolers and National Life Volunteers wrestle with the roots of sod and dandelion. Last week, they also helped us plant 450 riparian trees by the water! When grown, these trees will create a riparian buffer, which helps improve water quality and provides habitat for a lot of species. In other growing news, the tomato plants are becoming robust in the greenhouse. Last-year’s garlic’s soft green shoots sway like antennas in the wind. It’s exciting and overwhelming. I feel like chanting: All are welcome at FEAST Farm! The growing season has begun!

MSAC Thanks Web Industries for support of Remembering Our Veterans Event May 28!

Huge thanks to local business, Web Industries (formerly known as Cadcut), for their sponsorship of our annual event in advance of Memorial Day, back from a 2020 pandemic pause!  Not only did Web Industries give MSAC a grant to generously cover all expenses for the luncheon for eighty Veterans, their families, and other older adults who attended, they also provided five employees to serve the luncheon curbside from our facility! 

Musicians at ROV 5-28-21

In addition to the delicious BBQ meal, attendees enjoyed fanfare of flags and gratitude, plus not one but TWO live bands as they drove around the senior center to pick up their curbside meals.  Out front on Barre Street, the MSAC “Swingin’ Over Sixty” band played in the courtyard. On the side near meal pick-up, guests enjoyed traditional music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, played by local musicians Kathleen Moore, Chris Hollis and Alec Ellsworth, pictured in photo here (missing: Jenny Monfore).  If Alec’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s also our Parks & Trees Director and City of Montpelier co-worker of MSAC staff! Finally, huge thanks to FEAST Manager Sarah Lipton, Americorps member Andrew Gribbin, volunteer Carole Baker, and countless others who pulled together this special event.

We are Grateful to VT Community Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation, National Life Group Charitable Foundation & Central Vermont Council on Aging!

All of the above organizations recently awarded MSAC generous grants to support either MSAC’s general operating expenses or our FEAST Senior Nutrition Program. Thank you, community!  We are also grateful to individual donors and small businesses!

  • $5,000 from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund of the VT Community Foundation (FEAST)
  • $5,000 from COVID-19 Relief Funds from Central Vermont Council on Aging (FEAST)
  • $15,000 from National Life Group Charitable Foundation (GOE)
  • $60,000 from Hoehl Family Foundation, paid in $20,000 installments annually for three years (GOE)

Reminder image for Mailchimp

Membership Renewal: It’s time to renew your membership for the July 1 year start, especially if you want the best rate on Summer class registration that starts next Monday, June 14 (classes begin week of July 5). See benefits summary online here. Your form should have arrived in the mail; let us know if it didn't or if you need a new one!

Volunteer with Montpelier Parks!

Do you have a hankering to get outside and do something positive to help the community? We have a volunteer project for you! We usually host at least 1 community volunteer day every week to do something different around our parks. It might be trail work, planting trees, pulling invasive plants, working at the FEAST Farm, or something else, but you'll get to do meaningful work with our great crew and other volunteers. To sign up for our listserv email JHuettenmoser@Montpelier-vt.org.

Farewell and Thank you to Becca Jordan!
IMG_19531Becca Jordan, Communications & Development Coordinator for Community Services (Senior Center, Parks, and Recreation) has left city employment just shy of her third anniversary with us. She will soon start an exciting new job at The Center for an Agricultural Economy, based in Hardwick-- a position related to her current one and in a field closely aligned to her educational background and passions. Becca’s three years of excellent service to Community Services included weathering a pandemic and strengthening MSAC’s outreach and fundraising strategies, among many other contributions she made to the City. In her wake, Becca is leaving some significant recent grant awards for both MSAC and Parks, and she wrote a large grant application for Recreation in her final days! Thanks, Becca; we wish you all the best! Readers, stay tuned for news of our plans to fill this vacancy as soon as is reasonably possible!

Anonymous gift to fund MSAC technology upgrades and device-lending library
We are thrilled to announce that due to the tremendous generosity of an anonymous donor this spring, we are in the process of planning significant technology upgrades to improve the experience, access, and equity of senior center services. Though details are still being worked out, the two main areas the donor’s funding will support are (1) establishing a lending library of technology devices (and training) for members and (2) purchasing, upgrading and installing audio-visual and related equipment in MSAC classrooms to enhance both on-site and remote programs. We look forward to sharing updates as we make progress!