gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 40

Kickin’ Around with the 50+ Crowd Written By Robin Shepherd ABOVE: Heather and Bruce Perlitch Studies show that we’re living longer but that’s no reason for doom and gloom. Plenty of people pass the half-century ABOVE: Bruce and Denise Melroy with Debbie Vasquez from the City of Morgan Hill and a student volunteer. RIGHT: Karen Hill, Bill Hudson and Donna Weisblatt. mark with more than enough fuel in the tank for their golden years. Why not cel- ebrate those years as active and engaged members of the community? I n South County, the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy have each won official designation as an “Age-Friendly City.” What sounds like a slogan is actually an initiative launched a decade ago by the World Health Organization to promote quality of life for community members as they age. Santa Clara County embraced the initiative and called on its cities to cultivate age-friendly communities. A key indicator of this initiative’s success is social in nature. It calls for the respect, inclusion, and participation of South County’s senior citizens in community life. South County has responded with a variety of programs. In this first of several stories, TODAY looks at one such program. gmh 40 El Toro Social Club Now entering its third year, the El Toro Social Club in Morgan Hil is on a roll. They refer to members as “prime lifers” who are 50-plus and want to be part of the community, learning and doing new things in the prime of their lives. The club’s activities run the gamut from con- certs to tours of local places of interest, group hikes, wine tastings, and more.  During the 2016-17 seasons, El Toro hosted a holiday Bluegrass Concert performed by One Button Suit, cowboy musician and poet Dave Stamey, and a production of Phantom of the Opera that toured the U.S. Now that’s variety. Bruce and Heather Perlitch volunteer with the club by helping to organize many of the events. They draw on past GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN APRIL/MAY 2018 experiences of having hosted “house concerts” in their Sunnyvale home for about five years before they moved to Morgan Hill. “We booked performers, invited friends over for a potluck and entertain- ment and charged a door fee that went to the performers,” Bruce said. “We always filled the house. A lot of talented and even world-class performers tour on local circuits. Heather and I were getting settled in Morgan Hill when we discovered the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse. What a gem… a great location, a cozy theater, and excellent acoustics. We shared our idea with Morgan Hill’s Adult Services Supervisor, Debbie Vasquez, and she was very open to it.”