For more than 20 years, Frances Foreman, 74, of Clarksburg has met on the first Wednesday of every month with a group of friends for a potluck lunch. Each time she makes a cake, knowing that she may not be able to enjoy a piece herself.
“I made a carmel pound cake [this month] and didn’t get anything back,” she said with a laugh.
Foreman is a member of the Clarksburg Super Seniors, a local senior citizens group that used to meet at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission-owned Clarksburg Park Activities Building, on Wims Road, before the building closed, more than a year ago, due to commission budget constraints.
Since its inception almost 40 years ago, the 15-member group has met for a potluck lunch each month, a tradition it has been able to continue despite the closing of the activities building. The group also meets weekly for sessions that include arts and crafts and community service projects and a weekly roundtable discussion that recently has centered on the upcoming elections, said Joann Woodson of Clarksburg, the group’s leader.
Group members range in age from 55 to 103, Woodson said, adding that the close bond between the members has kept the group going
The group, which formerly was sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, now meets in the Community of Faith United Methodist Church at 22420 Frederick Road in Clarksburg.
Foreman said joining the Super Seniors is a tradition in her family; her mother and grandmother are former members.
The group “is a part of me now,” she said. “It keeps you from thinking about yourself and all of your problems.”
The group now has an opportunity to return to the activities building.
In July, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission approved the Clarksburg Sports Association, a community based youth sports association, to lease the building for some of the association’s programs, including an afterschool program.
The 1,855 square-foot Clarksburg building is one of seven in the county approved for leasing through a competitive bidding process.
Moving to the church in 2010 has presented the senior group with several challenges. Members must climb a set of stairs to enter the chuch; that, and a lack of space, make it difficult for them to function as they did in the single-level activities building, Foreman said.
“I think we will do more stuff once we get back into the [activities] building,” she said.
Woodson said the group continues to grow.
“I really have not lost any members; I have gained members,” she said. “I think that says something. We have been able to have an ideal senior program.”
Brian McCloskey, president of the Clarksburg Sports Association, said the group plans to allow the seniors to use the building when it reopens.
The youth group is negotiating the terms of its lease, but hopes to be operating some of its programs in the building by the end of the year.
“They’re in 100 percent,” McCloskey said of the senior group. “It would be irresponsible if we didn’t make accommodations for them.”
In the meantime, the senior group will continue its tradition of meeting weekly and upholding its motto: “Life is great when you participate.”
Woodson said the group has started working on new initiatives, including a Super Seniors cookbook entitled, “The Book,” and a group choir.
“We want to have at least three songs [practiced] by Christmas,” she said. “It’s just amazing that [the members] still have their voices. We want to go visit the hospitals and the nursing homes for the holidays. ... We feel that we would really bring some joy.”
New members always are welcome to join the group, Woodson said.