By Lilly Milman

Building on this year’s start-up, the borough assembly parks and recreation committee is reviewing a proposal for next year’s Skagway Senior Summer Camp Experience (SSSCE) — a series of donated excursions for local senior citizens — submitted by Skagway resident Wendy Anderson at the Aug. 15 assembly meeting. 

Anderson has already scheduled three excursions for this year, all donated to the program by vendors: a White Pass & Yukon Route railroad summer excursion, a fall colors tour courtesy of Klondike Tours, and a tour of the National Park Service’s Rapuzzi artifacts. The 2019 program will run every Thursday from Aug. 22 to Sept. 26. The excursions for Aug. 29, Sept. 5 and Sept. 26 are still to be decided.

The camp is for Skagway residents 60 and older, and programs will be run on a volunteer basis. CPR-certified volunteers have expressed interest to Anderson about joining excursions that occur outside of the Skagway valley. Transportation will be donated by SMART bus. The Skagway Recreation Center has allowed the use of its parking lot as a meeting place for excursions to avoid adding to traffic downtown. 

“I’m using the same model that the Skagway rec center has used for their Skagway summer camp children’s program, where they get all of their excursions donated by the different venues,” Anderson said. “Since drawing up this particular program and submitting it to you guys (the assembly), I’ve actually had two other individuals approach me about doing actually off-season activities for our elders.” 

Anderson was encouraged to propose the summer camp to the assembly as a permanent municipal program by then-Borough Manager Stan Selmer. She anticipates there will be no cost to the municipality for the launch of the program, other than paying the municipal attorney to review the documents.

Anderson was inspired to begin SSSCE by her mother, who she has been taking care of for three years following a dementia diagnosis. This summer, she began arranging for her mother to go on Thursday afternoon excursions around town. Along with Bea Lingle, Anderson’s mother has traveled to Jewell Gardens, seen the Days of ’98 show, taken a streetcar tour and visited Dyea. “Having this weekly outing has really enriched their lives,” Anderson wrote in a letter to the borough assembly.

To participate in the program, people must complete an enrollment form with a signed liability waiver, provide emergency contact information and show proof of Skagway residency. Excursions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and spaces may need to be reserved in advance. There will also be waitlists created for excursions that fill up.

Anyone interested in signing up for an excursion can contact Wendy Anderson by email at w.anderson@skagway.org.