The Cary Senior Center and NC State were honored at the American Society of Aging/National Council on Aging conference in Las Vegas in March with the Outstanding Research Award for a collaborative study undertaken to examine the role of a senior center in promoting physical activity for older adults.
The project played a central role in parks, recreation and tourism class, Qualitative Approaches to Research, taught by Professor Karla Henderson in the spring of 2007. Six doctoral students in the class (Mike Edwards, Ben Hickerson, Penny James, Annette Moore, Linda Oakleaf, and Jason Swanson) conducted focus groups and personal interviews with older adults at the Cary Senior Center. The culmination of the semester was to draft an article for publication, which was accepted by the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration and published last year.
Using a social ecological model, the results of the study showed the value of organizational structure and human capital, personal motivations, social support, and the enjoyment aspects of group physical activity.
A plaque and a cash award were presented at the conference to both the Cary Senior Center and NC State. The $1,000 award to NC State was presented to the Natural Resources Foundation on behalf of the students.