Selma AARP Chapter Hosts Summer Picnic
“Hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, drinks get colder, music gets louder, nights get longer, life gets better.” (Anonymous)
For the AARP Chapter of Selma, summer is the perfect time to look forward to the relaxing activities and freedom warmer weather brings. Members of the AARP group also look forward to getting together with one another at their quarterly picnic.
Guest speaker Dr. Johnny McAlpine was impressed with the chapter’s attendance at this summer’s picnic, which was held indoors this year to beat the heat. McAlpine currently serves on the state AARP Advisory Board and is the past president of a large Huntsville chapter.
He said Selma might now have the largest chapter in Alabama. More than 60 members attended the picnic.
Before sharing conversations over the steaming feast that was prepared, the speaker shared some tips to keep bodies and minds functioning at optimal potential. He also cautioned the group to stay aware of potential scams that target older people and added some fun facts about making being “old” worthwhile.
McAlpine pointed out that one of AARP’s founding principles is to enhance the quality of life for older persons.
“Please stay active,” said McAlpine. “Our bodies are just like a car. If you don’t start it, what’s going to happen? It won’t start.” Exercise can seem daunting or boring at times. His solution? Do something that is fun like enrolling in a dance class.
He also emphasized the value of having good mental health. His mother will be celebrating her 89th birthday July 1, and he does his part to help keep her mind just as sharp as it was when she was 29.
Senior citizens don’t always get the recognition they deserve, but McAlpine shared attention-getting numbers.
“Ten thousand of us turn 65 every day and will do so for the next 15 years,” McAlpine said. “Most businesses that were started in the past few years were started by folks over 55 years old so it’s not too late.”
He also dished out statistics about older people potentially having the most influence on the economy and in politics before ending his presentation on a more humorous note.
So what’s really good about being “old?”
“Usually the kidnappers aren’t interested in us,” McAlpine joked. “In a hostage situation who do they let go first? The old folks. Your secrets are safe now. Why are they safe? Because you told your friend, they can’t remember you and you can’t remember them.”
Although the event was an exclusive treat for those 50 and older, the Selma chapter took the time out to acknowledge an exceptional young man in the community.
The AARP chapter of Selma presented Selma High School’s valedictorian, Matthew Smith, with a $500 scholarship.
Smith will attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the fall and major in accounting, but he’s not saying goodbye to Selma. More like ‘see you soon.’
“I plan to come back to Selma to run for mayor,” said Smith, “I plan to come back very soon.”
The chapter’s president, Evelyn Cox, reminded the audience that one of the most important principles of AARP is to encourage one another: “to serve, not to be served.” By doing this, their first principle, promoting independence, dignity, and purpose for older persons, can be easily achieved.
After all was said and done, grilled chicken, spaghetti, green beans, potato salad, a host of desserts and so much more awaited rumbling bellies.
With 37 million members and offices in all 50 states including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, AARP is the largest membership organization in the nation. While it does give its members exposure to discounts on products, travel and accessories, its main focus is on issues that are most important to families: healthcare, employment, security and retirement planning.