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Golden Bears to sign up for another year at SSU

PORTSMOUTH — More than 600 Scioto County seniors are members of the Golden Bears at Shawnee State University and each member, both old and new, must sign up each year by filling out an application.

The kickoff for signing up begins today at the Warsaw Natatorium in the James A. Rhodes Athletic Center and anytime after that throughout the year.

In order to join the Golden Bears, a person must be a Scioto County resident 60 years of age or older and have proof of age at sign-up.

Membership is free. If a person is already a member, they must complete a new application and update ID cards with any new medical information including medications. This includes Golden Bears who are ushers at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Applications are at the front desk of the Rhodes Athletic Center on the SSU campus.

The entrance and parking is in the rear of the Athletic Center.

The holistic program was formed to promote good health and encourage emotional and social wellbeing for individuals 60 years of age and older.

The benefits of membership include use of the Warsaw Natatorium, such as the swimming pool, cardio weight room, racquetball courts and gymnasium for walking.

Exercise programs, educational activities on healthy living, social events, assisting with special projects sponsored by the university and attending university classes are a few opportunities for Golden Bears. One room at the Warsaw Natatorium is the Golden Bears Lounge where people meet and socialize. Three days a week several Golden Bears play Euchre.

The pool is reserved for Golden Bears from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. All other areas of the Natatorium are open for use by all members and students.

A dance instructor teaches zumba twice a week.

Some of the social events are parties, trips and dinners. Every month a birthday cake is provided to celebrate the birthdays of everyone born in that month. In May, the Golden Bears participate in a Hospice Walk that raised more than $4,000 last year. Sometimes they volunteer to usher for events at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Heartland of Portsmouth provides free health screenings once a month for the Golden Bears at the Athletic Center.

“Our Golden Bears are a very healthy group,” said Barbara Pratt, coordinator of Volunteer Services and the Golden Bears program. “Each year gets better because more people participate.”

All athletic events are free to members with a special seating section at the basketball games. About 60 Golden Bears usually attend the games.