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Silver skaters

Marquette Senior Center spreading the word about free program

Carol Bell, an attendee of senior skate night, is pictured using a skate aid, which helps skaters keep their balance and prevent falls as they adapt to getting back out on the ice. Skate aids are available for use at Lakeview Arena, organizers said. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Senior Center)

MARQUETTE — For those looking to start a new activity in the new year, the Marquette Senior Center is spreading the word about the city’s senior skate program, which offers free skating opportunities for area residents age 55 and older most Friday nights at Lakeview Arena.

The program offers a chance for older adults to experience the joy of ice skating in a comfortable, friendly and accessible environment, Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden said.

“A lot of our newcomers that have tried it have been pleasantly surprised by how inclusive it is,” she said. “They just love getting back out on the ice, it’s a really good group of people, people are very welcoming.”

While the potential for falls can be worrisome for older adults who are considering ice skating, McFadden emphasized: “the concern for falling isn’t as pertinent as one might think due to the assistive equipment that we have available there.”

The assistive equipment is two adult skate aids, which were donated by the Superior Alliance for Independent Living, or SAIL. The skate aids can help prevent falls and get participants comfortable on the ice again, McFadden said.

A group of participants in the city of Marquette’s senior skate night at Lakeview Arena are pictured. Senior skate night offers a chance for attendees to get active and enjoy spending time with others during the cold winter months. It typically runs from October to late March, organizers said. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Senior Center)

“The adult skate aids are very light, they fold out, they are very easy to use,” McFadden said. “And we have individuals that do utilize them … They feel safe, it’s fun. They’re learning how to skate again and they’re not worried about falling.”

Potential participants in senior skate might also be comforted to know that staff members will be on hand to help, McFadden said.

“We just encourage people to come and give it a try. We always have a staff person there to assist,” she said.

For those who don’t have ice skates of their own, skates are available for a $3 rental fee at Lakeview Arena, McFadden said.

Overall, participating in senior skate is a great way to get active during the cold winter months and meet new people, she said.

From left, Theresa Hamari, Sandy Kivela, Mark Hamari and Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden are pictured at Lakeview Arena during a senior skate night. Senior skate is typically held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday nights at Lakeview Arena and is free of charge for adults 55 and older, organizers said. The next senior skate will be held on Jan. 10 and feature a potluck. (Photo courtesy of Theresa Hamari)

“Especially in our winter season here in Marquette, where people tend to not be recreating as much, this is a nice opportunity to do something physical and social,” she said.

The program is offered at Lakeview Arena, which is located at 401 E. Fair Ave. in Marquette, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. most Fridays.

Due to the holidays, the next senior skate will be held on Jan. 10, McFadden said.

The Jan. 10 senior skate will also involve a potluck. Most senior skate nights are offered on a drop-in basis, but those who are interested in the potluck are encouraged to call 906-228-0456 to RSVP.

The senior skate program is supported through the Marquette Senior Services budget with the support of Marquette’s Parks and Recreation Department and Community Services Division.

For more information on the senior skate program or the Marquette Senior Center’s activities, visit the Marquette Senior Center on Facebook, view the newsletter and other information at www.marquettemi.gov/departments/community-services/senior-center, or call 906-228-0456.

The Marquette Senior Center is located at 300 W. Spring St. in Marquette.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.