New leadership brings smiles to Beacon Falls Senior Center members

Beacon Falls Senior Center member Mary Murdock plays bowling on a Nintendo Wii video game console Wednesday at the center. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

BEACON FALLS — Beacon Falls Senior Center members were full of joy, laughter and camaraderie as they played interactive video games, cards, worked on a puzzle and conversed Wednesday.

The center on North Main Street has seen a spark of new energy over the last several months, with more members, new activities and a new director, Art Daigle, who took over in July 2021.

“We built it up and as you can see, everybody is enjoying themselves,” Daigle said.

New activities include interactive bowling and tennis on a Nintendo Wii video game console, crocheting and board games, as well as classes such as chair yoga, silver sneakers and technological literacy. The instructors are provided by the Naugatuck YMCA. Members also partake in bingo and raffles.

“I think from where we were to what we’re doing, I think it’s very important. We’re able to put more people in here,” Daigle said. “We do a lot more things for them. It’s a good way for the town to let the seniors know how important they are to the town.”

The center now has about 80 members, nearly double since July, Daigle noted. The center used to average about 12 people at a meeting, but now 30 to 50 members attend regularly on Wednesdays, he said.

Beverly Krenesky, a Beacon Falls native who has been a member since the 1980s and is the mother of Selectman Michael Krenesky, recalled the senior center used to be a small market at one time. Lately, she has noticed the increase in members and programs.

“I think we should encourage the younger people who are retiring now to get involved, and bring in new ideas and help us to grow,” Krenesky said. “They need to get involved. There’s a little bit of everything here.”

Doris Engel, who has been a member since 2006, said Daigle is making all the members happy.

“Everybody is welcomed,” she said. “We’re doing things together.”

Pam Bruckshaw, a 12-year member, said all the members’ ideas are considered.

“He doesn’t do anything without talking to everybody,” Bruckshaw said of Daigle.

Beacon Falls Senior Center member Mary Cloney plays bowling on a Nintendo Wii video game console Wednesday at the center. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

Josephine Krymowski, another 12-year member, said, “Everybody seems to be happy. We’re getting a nice crowd coming out, too. They’re happy to come here now. They’re enjoying what we’re doing.”

Assistant Director Kim Stevens drives members in a mini bus to go shopping or medical appointments, Daigle said.

He said he’s thankful for many donations, including paint and a cabinet from Naugatuck YMCA, two flat-screen TVs from Beacon Hose Company No. 1 and other cabinets from local contractor Michael Pratt.

Daigle also extended gratitude to American Legion Post 25, Michael Rupsis from the fire department, Paul Brennan, Doug Bousquet and Board of Finance Chairman Thomas Pratt for their contributions.

“We owe everything to our town. Our town leaders have been very supportive,” Daigle said. “The people at the finance department have been very supportive and without them we couldn’t get half the things we got done.”

Senior center officials are applying for grants to set up a pavilion with seating in the rear of the building and construct an additional room to have more space for activities, Daigle said.

“I’ve made it my motto to be the director, not the dictator,” he said. “They tell me what they want and I get it for them.”