Photo by Kira Erickson
                                Cody Gumbel and Jessica Martin play a Wii Sports video game at the Whidbey Island Rec Center on Thursday.

Photo by Kira Erickson Cody Gumbel and Jessica Martin play a Wii Sports video game at the Whidbey Island Rec Center on Thursday.

New rec center opens for adults of all abilities

When Jeremy Struthers worked for social services on Whidbey Island as a job coach for people with disabilities, he heard many of the families say they wanted their loved ones to be able to get out and socialize beyond their assigned work hours.

Enter the Whidbey Island Rec Center, a place for adults with developmental disabilities to socialize with each other and participate in daily activities. Currently located in Tim Leonard’s Machine Shop in Langley, the rec center offers arts and crafts, video game tournaments, movies and more, all facilitated by Struthers.

“It’s kind of like a social club. It’s a place to come and do everything,” he said.

Since its Oct. 14 opening, about a dozen people have consistently shown up every week for activities. Monthly themed parties, complete with pie, are a favorite. Last month’s Thanksgiving party boasted turkey-shaped cookies and ornament decorating.

“I like the time with friends and hanging out here and doing arts and crafts,” Jessica Martin, a regular, said.

Struthers said it feels good to fulfill a need which he recognized in his past work.

Struthers is working to have the rec center approved by the state, so respite hours can be fulfilled and attendance will be government-funded. This would ensure that people wanting to come to the rec center could do so without them, their families or caretakers having to pay a member fee.

His dream is to have the rec center patterned after the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center in Bothell, which offers classes for adults with autism.

In addition to having classes taught, book clubs and field trips are also on his radar to include someday. And, a bigger location such as the South Whidbey Community Center.

“I want the Whidbey Island Rec Center to be a place where dreams come true,” Struthers said.

The rec center is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Whidbey Island Rec Center, call 509-540-5106 or email jokerswild81@gmail.com.

More in Life

Making a blanket statement

Combining the generosity and artistry of the South Whidbey community with a… Continue reading

Orca poo, salmon restoration focus of workshop

As captivating as whales are to observe, there’s a lot of information… Continue reading

Bayview gallery’s theme adds new flavor

Bayview Cash Store’s newest art show has a special twist. Located in… Continue reading

Whidbey Reads 2020 book focuses on gender identity

Don’t fret if you’re not ready for Whidbey Reads 2020. All five… Continue reading

Oak Harbor’s Roller Girls gliding into 10th year

There’s a somewhat of a juxtaposition in the actions on the floor… Continue reading

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                Lauren Flynn
Clinton musician finds her voice

Lauren Flynn isn’t afraid of a tough crowd. Or of much, really.… Continue reading

Losing weight, gaining perspective

For some, moving to Whidbey Island can be refreshing, rejuvenating and a… Continue reading

2020 Sea Float Scramble bigger than ever

Sea float seekers, get ready. Langley’s annual Sea Float Scramble will take… Continue reading

Farmers milking the opportunity to teach about goats

When it comes to goats, Clinton resident Anza Muenchow is not kidding… Continue reading

New preserve is born on Whidbey

By RON NEWBERRY Special to the Record As you step from the… Continue reading

Ring in the New Year where ever you are on the island

With New Year’s Eve approaching, there are several events and celebrations planned… Continue reading

‘Fantastic Beasts’ actor reported on South Whidbey

It’s unclear if any fantastic beasts have been set loose on South… Continue reading