Opelika’s “Recycled Teenagers”

photo by jerry ballas / for the observer

Preparing for Biggest Performance Yet

By Wil Crews

Opelika’s “Recycled Teenagers” is ready to put its best foot forward. At halftime of the Auburn University Women’s basketball game against Georgia on Saturday, Feb. 20, members of the group will showcase a 3-and-a-half-minute dance performance that has been in the works since December.

“One of our group said that we should perform at a local nursing home,” said Valeri White, senior adult program coordinator at Opelika Parks and Recreation. “So, I dreamed big and reached out to Auburn University.”

The Opelika Recycled Teenagers is a group of seniors over the age of 62 who meet regularly at the Charter Foundation Adult Activity Center inside of the Opelika SportsPlex. While there, seniors can participate in physical, social and emotional activities, as well as access resources designated for the older adults in the community. Through educational and exercise classes, trips, night time activities and more, the center regularly serves about 350 seniors in total.

“It’s more than just a community,” said member Bonnie Kinney. “It’s a family.”

Kinney is a part of the dance ensemble and is “partners” with Emma Wilson, an intern who has been with the Adult Activity Center since the turn of the year.

“A lot of these people move a lot better and faster than I do,” Wilson said.

Neither claim to be a great dancer, but are nonetheless excited about the performance.

“I am so excited and so surprised at what this group could do,” Kinney added. “I’m just encouraging people and telling them how good they are.”

To prepare for the halftime performance, White enlisted the help of Mandy Moore, owner and artistic director of Make Your Move Dance Studio in Opelika.

“It’s been the ultimate adventure,” Moore said. “I was excited when Valarie called me and asked me to help.”

Moore has practiced with the group twice a week for over two months now, and her time there has exceeded expectations.

“I did not expect to have so many people interested, but then we had like 60 people sign up,” she said. “So that was so much fun, being able to learn from older people. They are so inspirational and make it so fun when I come up here.”

White is grateful for Moore, Wilson and everyone involved for their assistance in helping turn this “dream” into a reality.

“Mandy has donated her time and talent to encourage and support our dream of performing,” White said. “I want others to see that age is just a number and that you can fun at any age and learn new skills. Our vision came to life; I am so proud of them!”

For more information on the Adult Activity Center: www.opelika-al.gov/391/Opelika-Sportsplex-Aquatics-Center.


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