Community service efforts born from exercise group
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Media Contact: Trisha Gedon | Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 | firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of women in Dewey County are not only staying physically active — they’re also serving their community.
After meeting for about four years to participate in exercise programs offered through Oklahoma State University Extension, the group formed an Oklahoma Home and Community Education club called Fun Times. OHCE groups are county-based organizations that work with OSU Extension to identify issues facing their local communities and volunteer their time for community service activities.
Jean Bailey, OSU Extension family and consumer sciences educator in Dewey and Harper counties, said that while Fun Times members originally started as an exercise group, they’re making a difference in their community of Seiling.
“They’re currently working on making a quilt that will be raffled off and the money will go into a scholarship fund for students,” Bailey said. “They also help with the county fair, serve lunch at the annual eighth-grade life skills day camp and help with various 4-H activities.”
The group meets every week at the Senior Citizens Center, and since becoming an OHCE group, the members have also been decorating the center for all holidays.
Fun Times members have participated in several exercise programs, including Walk with Ease, which they started in spring 2020.
“We planned to end that program in April 2020, but with the pandemic, club members just kept walking at home. They divided into two teams and continued this exercise program through July 2020 and logged more than 7,000 miles,” she said. “They walked on treadmills, around their neighborhoods and even in circles in their garage in an effort to get as many miles as possible for the challenge.”
While the pandemic did shut down their in-person exercise classes for more than a year, they’re all glad to be back together again. The club currently is working on the Arthritis Foundation’s Land Exercise Program.
Conny Everett has been a member of the group from the beginning.
“After we exercised for a few years, we talked with Jean and decided to go ahead and form the OHCE group so we could do good things in our town,” Everett said. “We all enjoy the different activities we get to do and the fellowship we have.”
Everett also talked about how beneficial the exercise class has been to her.
“My sense of balance is so much better than it was before, and even my confidence has improved,” she said. “If someone asks me about this group I just tell them, ‘Try it; you’ll like it.’ And, during the pandemic, Jean kept in touch with all of us.”
Faye Hansen has been with the group for just a year and plans to continue participating.
“They hit every joint and muscle in the body, and that’s good for us,” Hansen said. “I decided to give it a try one time, and after that, I said, ‘I’ll be back.’ I want to keep doing it because I feel better.”
Bailey said the encouragement the group members offer each other is heartwarming.
“It’s great to see how they encourage each other,” she said. “They check up on each other. When they get here for class, someone can tell me if someone else won’t be there because they’ve already been texting with them.”
For more information about Oklahoma Home and Community Education, contact your local OSU Extension office.