An adventurer tells the stories of his travels and experiences in distant lands, complete with pictures and artifacts he's collected through the years to an eager young listener who has never left Arizona.
Nearby, a woman who remembers when it was controversial for women to vote, sips her coffee and chats about the first woman to run for president.
Meanwhile, the staff kick into high gear as they prepare for the day's events and meals, assisted by volunteers.
What do they have in common?
They spend their time at Payson Senior Center (PSC).
"There are so many stories, experiences and knowledge coming through the doors. These people (seniors) have done it all," said Reed Cox, Executive Director of Payson Senior Center.
And sometimes it's hard to know who benefits more from sharing those stories and their time -- the younger people whose volunteer efforts mean so much to the senior center or the patrons there who have a chance to pass along a lifetime of insight.
The PSC mission is to assist individuals aged 60 years and older in the Payson area in achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency with dignity, and to offer choices of appropriate care by providing a wide range of community and home-based services offered with the seniors' needs being held in confidence.
PSC, located at 514 W. Main St., provides numerous activities, projects, events and workshops to the Rim Country's senior population.
The center aims to keep its target audience busy and active.
The center strives to provide an atmosphere that welcomes seniors to participate and engage in social functions. It is a place of fun where activities range from arts, crafts, music, dining and more. It also provides valuable workshops with guest speakers who share tips and knowledge on matters such as tax preparation, DES senior services and pet care.
The center also provides expert advice, with frequent visits from specialists who offer assistance with Medicare, Social Security and other senior services. Legal assistance for seniors 60 years and older is provided one Tuesday each month.
"The focus is to be a resource center for seniors," said Cox.
Other partially volunteer-supported programs offered by PSC include:
- Homebound Meals are meals prepared and packaged daily at the center and delivered to homebound seniors.
- Congregate Meals are meals served each day at the center. These meals are monitored and approved by the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens. The meals meet one-third of a person's daily nutritional requirements. The suggested donation is $3 per meal for persons over 60 years of age and $5 for those under 60.
• Staff and volunteers provide transportation, including rides fashioned for seniors and the handicapped Monday through Friday. The suggested donation is $4 per round trip and assistance is available to those who require it.
- The Senior Thrift Store is located next door to the Senior Center, and raises funds in support of the center's programs through the sale of gently-used items.
Payson Senior Center
Executive director: Reed Cox
Board of Directors: President, Barbara Underwood; Treasurer, Deborah Barber; board members, Paul Bates, Pat Carr, Connie Jewel and Joanne Conlin.
To volunteer: Volunteer opportunities are available for all ages. Donations are welcome. Call the Senior Center at (928) 474-4876 or the Thrift Store at (928) 474-3205 for more information.