Gail Kates knows Redwood Falls and its people.

After all, she spent her growing up years in the community, and after moving to California in her 20s for more than eight years, Kates opted to return to be with family and to raise her own.

While she has been involved in a variety of opportunities since moving back to her hometown, Kates recently started a new role she believes will provide her with something she has been seeking – a greater sense of purpose.

As of Nov. 1, Kates has been serving as the director for the Redwood Area Senior Citizens Center in Redwood Falls.

Kates said she has been getting a crash course in the role of senior center director, and while she knows there is still plenty to learn she is also looking forward to implementing some new ideas.

“I came in during the busy season and really hit the ground running,” said Kates, adding she is looking forward to a chance for things to just slow down a little, so she can focus on some of the big picture elements of her role.

Her biggest task each month is to coordinate all of the activities that take place each month at the senior center.

Kates also recognizes that an element of what she does is in communicating with the public about the good things that are taking place at the center. Ultimately her goal is to get more of the senior citizens in the community involved in the senior program.

“I want to see this place full,” she said, adding there is plenty of potential growth that can take place. 

Kates said she has enjoyed the chance to meet those who regularly attend the senior center, adding she truly appreciates those who volunteer their time and are helping her as she learns more about her new role.

One of the things Kates wants to implement for the local senior citizens is more opportunities to take them on trips. To that end, she is hoping to find a vehicle that would meet the needs of the center.

Kates is beginning to share her vision for the senior center, and she has experienced some excitement among the members about making some changes. Of course, she also knows for others change is not all that easy, so she is willing to work with them toward a smooth transition.

The senior center is a great asset in the community, and Kates said she is confident that God has placed her where she is for a reason. She has found the meaning she sought, and she has been having fun along the way.