The Bowie Senior Center is often referred to as the “Jewel of the City”. With the many amenities offered at the center it is clear to see that the title is accurate. The Bowie Senior Center is found in the center of Bowie, Maryland, an urban community located 15 miles west of Annapolis, Maryland and 20 miles east of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
The Senior Center has served the Bowie community since 1977. As the program grew and became successful, it outgrew its original location of two rooms at Bowie City Hall. And so, following funding approval by its City Council, its current facility opened its doors in 2000.
Since the 29,000 square foot building was built with the sole purpose of being used as a senior center, a lot of thought went into its design to meet the needs of its older adult community and to facilitate the delivery of a wide array of programming.
The facility boasts 9 classrooms, a computer center, a fitness and exercise room, pool/billiards room, multipurpose room, library, lounge, information and resource area, kitchen, conference room and staff offices and even a labyrinth. The center’s hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Bowie Senior Center is a city government run agency that falls under the Department of Community Services. There are 2,966 members with an average daily attendance of about 300.
The majority of its membership is comprised of members between the age of 55 and 74 (65%), with the balance being over the age of 75.
The Peer Reviewer observed many strengths of the Bowie Senior Center. These included:
- The design of the building enables the Senior Center to offer a wide array of programs and classes at any given time.
- Great fitness center, overseen by a properly certified fitness coordinator. Fitness center includes exercise equipment for those with physical limitations.
- The center has a well-designed computer lab with an impressive instructor. The use of a monitor at each station, for the students to follow, while listening to the instructor’s directions is very effective.
- The center’s library is a well-kept, inviting and calm place in the center. The library is run by volunteers for members to “checkout” books.
- The partnership between Bowie Senior Center and Prince George’s Community College’s SAGE program is a wonderful collaboration. It is affordable, offers a wide variety of classes for all interests, and the convenience of having the classes at the center makes this program extremely successful.
- Staff is energetic, welcoming and friendly.
- The center’s volunteer program is excellent. The center does a good job at ensuring that volunteers have proper training and support from the staff to be successful in their volunteer roles. The volunteers are an integral part of the center’s operations.
- Community partnerships are varied and extensive and allow for great programming opportunities in and outside of the center.
- Accreditation binder was well-put together and thorough.
During the process Bowie staff reported on improvements they had made based on suggestions from their last accreditation. Continually improve your senior center through national accreditation and the self-assessment process. Learn how the National Senior Center Standards and self-assessment process can help you achieve excellence at your center.