Senior pickleball group seeks permanent home after being kicked out of senior center
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A group of more than 60 Fulton County seniors, called Fulton County Ohio Senior Pickleball, are looking to secure their community’s future after being kicked out of the Fulton County Senior Center.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like, ‘What?’ and, ‘How?’” said Caroline Lammers, the group’s secretary.
The seniors played at the center for more than year before they were told that their club had to find somewhere else to play.
“There were some conflicts,” said Ed Bracken, the group’s president. “But quite truthfully, we aren’t really sure exactly what happened.”
13 Action News I-Team Reporter Sophie Bates went to the senior center to find out.
“It was a situation where a few potentially ruined it for the rest of the group,” said Sheri Rychener, director at the Fulton County Senior Center.
She claims the group grew too competitive and tried excluding others.
“There was a lot of division. There were players that wanted to categorize seniors into skill groups,” said Rychener. “They were also coming to me almost on a daily basis, saying someone doesn’t belong here, someone shouldn’t play.”
She says the pickleball program was taking time and energy away from the center’s other activities and it’s main focus of providing nutritious meals to the senior community.
“We’re not a club. We’re a senior center,” said Rychener.
So, she decided to cut the program. Afterwards, Bracken, Lammers and others formed FCOSP, a nonprofit aimed at raising enough money to give the seniors a permanent place to play.
For now, they’re playing inside the Wauseon Health and Racquet Club. The building is owned by Triangular Processing and is being renovated to become a Special Olympics facility. Bracken says it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to keep playing at the facility indefinitely.
Additionally, each member of the group has to pay $5 every time they play.
“I’ve had a few people come to me personally and say, ‘I can’t afford that. I’m sorry. I just, I am on a very restricted budget. I cannot pay,’” said Lammers.
FCOSP’s goal is make pickleball free for all seniors, whether that means working out a new deal at their current facility or building one of their own.
“We’re doing some fundraising and filling out all kinds of applications for different organizations, and we’re very hopeful,” said Lammers. “If we can get that funding and bring in others who really want to play, but can’t afford it, that would be just wonderful.”
If you’re interested in supporting the group, you can donate by emailing email@example.com
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