DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. There is no better way to bring people together than a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day.
The Rivertown Trippers held its first ever Ice Cream Social on Tuesday at the Dobbs Ferry Community Center. The social was used to help organize trips for senior citizens while simultaneously bringing people together from various villages. Community centers from Hastings, Ardsley and Irvington were all a part of the social.
The community center was filled with senior citizens who crowded around several round tables as they chatted with their peers.
"So many people here are so happy," said Dobbs Ferry senior advocate Pierrette Rissland. "These people want to stay part of this community, this is their identity."
Rissland, who is also the director of senior services in Ardsley, said the event was a great way for seniors to make new friends and connect with other people. This year has been a trial year for the Rivertown Trippers and has been a "raving success" so far according to Rissland.
There was more than just ice cream though as in the back of the building there were people playing games of bridge. There were plenty of smiles in the crowd as the seniors lined up for ice cream and met new friends.Flyers and questionnaires were handed out at the social to gauge the interest in other upcoming events. The senior advocates of the villages had been meeting for the last six months to come up with different ideas for events and trips.
"They want a varied schedule and that's what we're trying to provide," Rissland said.
Keeping costs low is one of the main goals of the group so as many senior citizens as possible can go to the events, shows and trips. Ideas were tossed around ranging from movies and shows to a potential cruise vacation. Abby Connett, one of the co-directors of the program, said that the various community centers want to encourage the seniors to stay active as they enjoy their golden years.
"Many of them have lost spouses and are seeing friends move away and their lives change in the communities they've lived in forever," Connett said. "This really gives them an opportunity to socialize whether you want to go to a movie or dinner or just even to come here."
Rissland cites interaction as one of the biggest benefits of the program because it encourages seniors to communicate with one another.
"It helps keep their minds active," she said. "[It makes them feel like their] part of a group."
With such a large turnout and so many smiling faces it was hard not to appreciate the efforts of all those involved.
"These are small towns but that doesn't meant the need to interact and socialize is any less large," Connett said. "This warms my heart today."
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