From its early days in the 1960’s members of FiftyNorth have been engaged in working to improve the lives of other seniors living in the area. The group established programs for good nutrition and fellowship, helping older adults to stay connected with others. In the ‘70’s members of the organization helped to create public transportation in Northfield. The seniors who were active in the organization in the 1990’s had a dream that we could do even more for the health and well-being of all seniors if only we had a better facility that would foster physical fitness. This group raised money, developed plans for a new building, and worked with a collaboration of partners – the City, Community Action Center, Three Rivers Community Action Council, and Northfield Public Schools to realize their dream in 2000 with the construction of the Northfield Community Resource Center that includes our current facility with its warm water exercise pool and fitness center.
Today, FiftyNorth is moving boldly into the future with an innovative model which combines fitness, lifelong learning, the arts, and social interaction with an emphasis on what is important to today’s older adult. Seniors come together at FiftyNorth to be productive, stay healthy, continue learning, socialize with old friends, make new ones, and have fun. Every time a member, visitor, community user comes to FiftyNorth they have a purpose. It may be to try a new yoga class, relax in the hot tub, add a stitch to a project, attend a computer class, sing in the choir, put a piece in the jig saw puzzle, learn to paint with water colors, read the paper, have a cup of coffee, swim laps, volunteer, eat a scrumptious dinner, hit a ping pong ball, listen to a fourth grader read, perform in a melodrama, take a class on today’s economics, or hope to win at cards. There is a common denominator among seniors of the 21st Century: they are healthier and living longer because of their need to be active, connected to others, and engaged in life.
FiftyNorth is an established presence in our community as the center for active aging. There is a reason that there are over 300 people a day in and out of FiftyNorth and the parking lot is full. Aging has its challenges, but today’s seniors are in training – keeping the joint and the brain active and engaged – to meet the challenges.