Meg Fraser has her “skates on” and nothing is going to stop her.
The new program coordinator of the Silverton Area Seniors Center, Fraser is beyond giddy about the position.
“I feel truly honored to be chosen for this job,” she said. “I plan on continuing the success story of what the community has done for its seniors.”
Ray Hunter, past president and current board member, said Fraser was the board’s unanimous choice. “She came across as knowing what she does and enjoying what she does,” Hunter said. “She has outstanding knowledge and is a team player.”
Hunter said he was impressed when Fraser gave a presentation on geocaching, which he described as a high-tech treasure hunt.
“I feel very fortunate that we hired the right person for the job,” Hunter said.
Through her research, Fraser, 55, discovered how the community has worked together to raise the funds to build new senior center.
“I believe you can tell a lot about a town by the programs and services it provides for its seniors,” Fraser said, adding that across the United States cities are closing senior centers due to lack of funding. “By building the new center, it shows that this community really respects its seniors and is willing to go beyond and over obstacles for them.”
Laughing that resumes get longer with age, Fraser said her experience includes working with teenagers who participated in month-long backpacking expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She worked at a senior center for the city of Eugene and for the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District as a recreation coordinator. She received her bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from California State University, Northridge.
“Regardless of someone’s age, the needs are the same,” Fraser said. “Their goal is to have fun, socialize and learn new skills. The benefits are the same no matter what the age group.”
Rather than organizing activities she thinks people might like, Fraser plans to ask for suggestions and provide those activities.
“I want to learn about the community and listen carefully to what they want and meet their needs,” she said. “I plan on not just meeting the needs of the senior community but exceeding them.”
At 5-foot 10-inches, Fraser has a track record of reaching above and beyond to achieve goals. She’s ridden a bike across the United States. She trained in rowing for the ill-fated 1980 Olympics. She won nationals in single rowing in women’s crew. The fact that women weren’t allowed to lift weights before Title IX didn’t stop her. As a teen she simply got up at 4:30 a.m. and scaled a fence with a friend so they could lift.
It’s an example of the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the job. Her goal is to make the center a welcoming place where anyone who walks in the door feels at home.
“Many senior citizens are at a refreshingly honest point in life where they are free to express themselves,” Fraser said. “They have a new perspective and are more open and more willing to try new things.”
Fraser said she hopes local seniors ask “What in life brings me joy? It’s my hope they walk into the center and find that.”