About 500 adults over 50 descended on Patterson Park last Wednesday, signing a pledge to lead active, healthy lifestyles and taking a power walk along the park’s promenade.
“Baltimore’s 50-plus population is redefining what it means to be a senior,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, speaking from a stage set up for the event, which was held by the pavilion near the swimming pool.
Rawlings-Blake was the first to sign the pledge, which had three parts: joining the Recreation and Parks department and living healthy as a community member, making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and being a role model.
“It can be little things,” said the mayor. “Believe you me, I’m taking baby steps. I wear a pedometer every day, and I’m in a competition with eight or nine people.”
The pledge-signing event, dubbed Ravens Rock, Orioles Roll and Baltimore Wins Healthy Fit Seniors Bowl was the culminating event of the city’s participation in National Physical Fitness and Older Americans Month.
Senior citizens in attendance were upbeat.
“I just got out of the hospital Saturday,” said Joann Scanlon, 72, a member at Highlandtown’s John Booth Senior Center. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Evelyn Hemmeter, 84, also familiar face at the Booth Center, said that she grew up in Patterson Park, and briefly taught dancing at the Casino building with Virginia Baker herself.
“All the girls could dance, and none of the guys could,” she said. “We got tired of them stepping on our toes, and we stopped.”
by Erik Zygmont