Sleeping Giants Provides Opportunities for Joy and Camaraderie
Since 1969, the Sleeping Giants have gathered on the fourth Friday of every month at the Minerva Town Hall. As happens often in the Adirondacks, the group’s moniker was inspired by a nearby mountain range – but don’t let the name fool you: this group is anything but sleepy. Active, engaged, and thriving, the Sleeping Giants are working to provide meaningful connections for seniors living in this remote town with a population of approximately 800. Amid the deeply important social, emotional, and educational connections they make, there’s always room for a bit of fun, too.
“Our program provides opportunities to our local residents who have lived here most or all of their lives and those who have chosen to retire here,” Sleeping Giants Treasurer Suzanne Crouse said. “The meetings, activities, and trips we organize offer enjoyable and stimulating ways for them to feel connected with both the Town of Minerva and the region, helping to avert feelings of aloneness and loneliness on so many levels.”
While membership is somewhat exclusive to this group – you have to be 50 years or older to join – the feeling of camaraderie and togetherness once you’re in, is priceless.
“We’re like a family,” President, Carol Frazier, reflected recently. “Everyone is so supportive of one another. It keeps people going.”
Members learn from and support each other. While there is often a guest speaker at their meetings – a twenty-two time 46’er, for instance, once came to share tales of his trekking adventures – they don’t need to look far for interesting perspectives and often tap their own members to share their stories. What seem far-distant memories of youth, come to life again.
For many seniors across the region, aging in place isn’t easy. Isolation and loneliness are prevalent across our vast Adirondacks where there are limited opportunities to socialize, find companionship, participate in recreational activities and continue to learn. That’s why grant funding from the Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region is especially meaningful to the Sleeping Giants. Their most recent grant will help to offset the cost of educational and cultural field trips that would otherwise be beyond the financial and logistical reach of many of their members.
When asked what was the most telling and powerful impact of the Sleeping Giants, Suzanne responded with one word: “Joy. What’s most powerful to me is the joy that our members experience. To see our two oldest members at 94 and 95 years old beaming at our annual summer picnic this year and knowing one of them did everything she could to get there that day after a year of physical ailments – that speaks to the power of this group.”
The Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region, a component fund of Adirondack Foundation, was established in 2005 to support programs addressing pressing needs and quality of life in the communities of Johnsburg, Chestertown, Minerva, Horicon and Schroon. The fund’s community-based advisory committee awarded more than $18,000 in grants this year and has granted more than $132,000 since 2005. For more information, visit our website at adirondackfoundation.org.