Nancy Wellnitz reimagined senior recreation at Apex Parks and Recreation

Community Recreation Center Supervisor of Adult and Senior Programs reflects on 37-year-career

Rylee Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/26/22

For Nancy Wellnitz, senior recreation has always hinged on one key tenant: connection.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2021-2022, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Nancy Wellnitz reimagined senior recreation at Apex Parks and Recreation

Community Recreation Center Supervisor of Adult and Senior Programs reflects on 37-year-career

Posted

For Nancy Wellnitz, senior recreation has always hinged on one key tenant: connection.

“(Seniors) come here for fitness or they come here to learn Spanish or for computers, but what they find is often they need a friend,” Wellnitz said shortly before her retirement on June 17, the conclusion of 37 years spent as Apex Parks and Recreation’s Community Recreation Center Supervisor of Adult and Senior Programs.

Over the years, Wellnitz oversaw the Community Recreation Center on Wadsworth Boulevard as it became a hub for senior activities for residents of Arvada and Jefferson County. Throughout her time with Apex, Wellnitz stressed that recreation doesn’t have to be limited to exercise — especially for seniors.

“Recreation is not just sports and fitness,” Wellnitz said. “There’s arts and education and all that other stuff. How you recreate is different. In fact, our volunteer program here, that’s how they recreate, by working our front desk or organizing our books in our library or working the gift shop.”

Apex programming at all recreation centers has grown to include foreign language classes, computer tutorials, yoga, arts and crafts and game nights, many of which are open to individuals of all ages, and some of which are tailored to seniors.

Wellnitz’s passion for working with seniors developed out of a strong bond with her grandparents, who lived out of state. Wellnitz grew up in Lakewood, but visited her grandparents often, sometimes spending summer with them. She said she fell in love with seniors overall and majored in recreation administration in college before going to Uganda to work with seniors.

She noticed that as people age, friendships get harder to keep up, and new ones become scarcer to come by. Organized activities for seniors allows them the opportunity to meet like-minded people they can create lasting bonds with — an occurance Wellnitz has often witnessed.

“When you’re young, you meet friends at school and in college, and you meet them in your career,” Wellnitz said. “Then all of a sudden, you’re retired. You can meet your neighbors to some degree, but a lot of your neighbor’s work, we don’t have the front porch atmosphere as much as we used to in the older days when everyone had a front porch and knew all their neighbors.

“Here (seniors are) with people who are similar in age, similar interests, so they can start rebuilding things that they lost in retirement,” Wellnitz continued. “And that’s cool, because from something we did here they ended up enjoying the end of their life because they connected with another person or a friend.”

Wellnitz mentioned that she’s gone to funerals of Apex patrons and volunteers and noticed friends made at Apex events motioned in eulogies, or volunteer plaques displayed alongside other artifacts.

Wellnitz said that she plans to rest in retirement but added that she’ll still come by Apex every now and then and volunteer at some of the bigger events.

“I’m going to take the summer to rest,” Wellnitz said. "I love to ride my bike, so I’m going to ride my bike more, walk more. My husband and I have a cabin, so we’re going to try and get up there more."

Jeff Glenn, Apex Parks and Recreation Executive Director, thanked Wellnitz for her years of service to the district.

“Nancy has been a pillar in our community for almost 40 years, she will be missed by her Apex teammates and the people she has served selflessly all these years. We wish Nancy nothing but a bright and happy future,” Glenn said.

Laura Schwenker, Apex’s Recreation Coordinator-Arts, Education and Special Events, called Wellnitz a “team player” and wished her well in retirement.

“I am lucky to call Nancy a mentor, co-worker and friend,” Schwenker said. “She has always been fair, compassionate, an advocate, and a true Apex team player. She has enriched the lives of so many over the past 37 years. There is no one as dedicated and hardworking as her. I wish her nothing but happiness. She is going to be missed.”

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.