SAIL discusses membership benefits at meeting
Shepherdstown Area Independent Living hosted a meeting April 25 to share coffee, snacks and information about its membership, volunteer opportunities and upcoming Founders Dinner.
Board member Jack Young and his wife, Martha Young, hosted the monthly meeting in their home, to encourage new members to join the village movement.
“We are part of what some people refer to as the gray tsunami movement,” Jack Young said. “In 2003, a group in Boston said they didn’t want to go to assisted living until it was necessary, and started a group of neighbors helping neighbors, which gave us the idea to start our own version of it.”
According to Young, he and Jean Neely, a board member emeritus, “did a survey in Shepherdstown at first, to see if we could find if people wanted this in the community. And pretty soon, people confirmed they wanted SAIL to be established,” Young said.
“It’s really member-driven. I want to emphasize that nationally, so many people aren’t getting involved in the village movement because they say, ‘I’m not getting old,'” Young said. “You should be involved now, so SAIL is there for you then. It’s sort of like a life insurance policy, but less expensive.”
Annual membership for single members is $250 and for a household is $500, which Young said is well below the national average cost for village movement memberships.
SAIL has become well-known for its special events for members, volunteers and concerned community members alike. Along with special activities like bus trips to museums, theaters or galleries, the group hosts regular events like its quarterly potluck and picnic, Trivia Tuesdays at the Clarion and its monthly Brown Bag Luncheon. SAIL also has several sporting groups, including a kayaking group, T’ai Chi class and walking group.
“The number one benefit of the national village movement is the prevention from isolation,” Young said. “When we started, we thought ‘Shepherdstown doesn’t need more activities,’ but they’ve really caught on.”
SAIL volunteers – who are not required to be members – are carefully vetted with background and driving checks before they’re allowed to assist and transport SAIL members. SAIL also offers a referral program for members, allowing them to share their positive or negative experiences with local handymen and contractors.
SAIL is anticipating its first Founders Dinner, celebrating SAIL’s fifth anniversary and its nine founders at the Erma Ora Byrd Center on May 16. The sit-down dinner will feature several special speakers and is open to the public. Tickets to the event are $65 each, with $30 of that being tax deductible. For more information, contact Catherine Irwin, SAIL fundraising committee chair, at 304-876-9297.