Casino Classic games to bridge the gap

Pilar Cuevas, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 25, the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE) will be partnering with the Ellensburg Adult Activity Center (AAC) for the second annual Casino Classic. CWU students can strengthen their communicative skills and assist older adults with fun casino games.

The event will be taking place at the Ellensburg AAC. Student volunteers will start check-in at 10:30 a.m. and will come back at 2:30 p.m. Free transportation will be provided along with a grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch. To volunteer, students can sign up through the CLCE website.

According to The City of Ellensburg website, the AAC is a drop in recreation facility that offers recreational and life-enrichment activities. The AAC is a place where adults of ages 50 and up can come and enjoy fun activities such as games, art, fitness and more. 

Andrew Klippert, a CLCE program leader and senior at CWU, explained his inspiration and reason behind starting the event. Klippert said a game was held during winter quarter called “Forget Me Not Bingo.” 

However, he wanted an additional activity for older adults in the Ellensburg community. Here, the Casino Classic event idea was born.

Klippert said the event is similar to “Forget Me Not Bingo” and that he wanted to do another event that older adults would like, such as casino games.

“Blackjack is the most popular because people understand it since it is the easiest game,” Klippert said. “It is also the most popular at the casinos too.”

Many businesses donated prizes for the event. Participants can win prizes like gift cards from local businesses. 

Klippert said he reached out to 17 different local businesses such as IHOP, Ellensburg Pasta Company, Rodeo City Bar-B-Q and The Palace Cafe. He added that local businesses usually give gift certificates.

“They asked if the event was going to be held again,” Klippert said. “Obviously we had a fun time.”

Along with Klippert, AmeriCorps volunteer Deborah Boudreau, who actively volunteers at the AAC, helped to prepare the event. Boudreau mentioned more on last year’s Casino Classic.

“Last year, everybody had a great time,” Boudreau said. “Everyone [at the AAC] loves it when students come. The older adults like working with college students.”

Klippert said the most memorable thing from the Casino Classic is the volunteers’ interaction with the adults.

“That is the cool thing about this event, it bridges the gap between older generations and us,” Klippert said.

Deborah Hofstrand is an AAC adult participant who attended the Casino Classic last year. 

“It was a lot of fun, a lot of different games and a lot of people,” Hofstrand said. “It’s good when you interact with people, talk with them and encourage them. And most of the kids are great to be around.”

Communication is not the only skill that volunteers can improve at the event. Klippert added that events like Casino Classic help adults understand college students’ lives.

“They also get to see us, that we’re all not just drinking and partying,” Klippert said. “We like to help.”