New Executive Director Transforms Dexter Senior Center

New Executive Director Transforms Dexter Senior Center


Gordon Smith has recently completed a dramatic makeover at Dexter Senior Center (DSC), transforming it into an inspiring hub for its members. His visionary leadership and excellent communication have yielded immediate rewards in terms of new funding and rapid membership growth.

Executive Directors have a unique responsibility when making decisions for their community or facility. They must always be prepared to make informed and timely judgments that adhere to regulatory compliance standards at all times.


What is FIA?

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, or FIA for short, is an international sports and motoring body primarily responsible for overseeing motor sport regulations and working with car manufacturers on safety standards and other matters within the automotive sector.

The FIA is a nonprofit association founded in 1904 as the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR). Originally formed to represent motoring clubs, its scope has since been extended to encompass other organizations within and outside of the automotive industry.

The Executive Team of the FIFA is composed of a president, several vice-presidents and an assistant. All these positions are appointed by the General Assembly - which serves as the governing body of FIA - which meets annually to elect them.

In a sporting sense, the FIA is responsible for organizing and sanctioning motor racing events around the world, setting rules and regulations to ensure they adhere to those standards. Furthermore, it manages and enforces all safety regulations in all member countries.

At the FIA, there are various commissions that focus on specific areas. Each commission is headed by an external expert in that field and usually includes representatives from member bodies as well.

Some commissions specialize in sport, such as the Motorsport Commission which deals with competition and safety regulations for motor vehicles. Other commissions like International Historical Commission deal with preserving historic cars and other vehicles.

These commissions are overseen by a World Council with 26 members and Presided over by Todt. It's responsible for resolving any disputes that may arise in motor sport, including disputes between teams and drivers, collection of entry fees and distribution of prize monies.

The FIA is largely supported by entry and ticket sales, calendar fees, driver licensing fees and fines collected from competitors. Additionally, it receives some income from Formula One Group - operator of the Formula One racing series - as well as proceeds from FIA Hall of Fame that honors racing drivers, technicians and engineers.

What is the Dexter Senior Center?

Since 1971, The Dexter Senior Center has been a cornerstone of its community. Serving those from Dexter city, townships and beyond, new Executive Director Gordon Smith recently relocated from Texas with an ambitious vision for its future.

The mission of the Dexter Senior Center is to enable older adults, 55 years and older, to remain physically fit, independent, and connected. By offering educational programs, physical fitness opportunities, creative workshops, social gatherings and more - the Center strives to enhance quality of life for older people in our community.

Carson explains the Center is funded primarily through membership dues, donations and grants. Unfortunately, these resources do not fully cover its $157K budget for FY 2022. To make up for the shortfall, Carson asks municipalities whose members utilize its services - the City of Dexter and townships of Scio, Webster and Lima - for a share.

At present, Dexter Senior Center boasts approximately 243 members and strives to meet the needs of seniors in the community by offering activities like yoga, strength classes, general fitness, cardio-drumming and art classes as well as needle arts.

It also offers a variety of health services to promote the overall wellbeing of its members, such as acupuncture, chair massage, reflexology and foot care. Furthermore, the Center hosts the local Meals on Wheels program.

As the population in Dexter and throughout Michigan continues to expand, so too will the need for a Dexter Senior Center. According to SEMCOG data, 85 and older populations are expected to increase by over 300% within two decades, while those 65 to 84 years of age in Dexter alone will increase by almost 40% over this same time period.

With such a surge in demand for the center's programs, it is imperative that they secure funding to construct a facility that can adequately serve their growing community. They are seeking donors, company sponsors and strategic partners to assist with raising the necessary funds.

How is the Dexter Senior Center Changing?

The Dexter Senior Center (DSC) exists to empower older adults and support the community. It offers programs and services that promote wellness, socialization, education and self-expression.

For over four decades, the center has provided seniors in the Greater Dexter Area with a safe, comfortable and joyful place to socialize, learn new skills and enjoy activities that are fun, educational and promote physical and mental wellbeing. Through its programs seniors can make new friends, make connections, gain knowledge and enjoy activities designed with them in mind - all while being safe from harm or discomfort.

Despite its success, however, the center still faces some obstacles. Its current lease expires in a few years, so they need a new space to expand the range of programs and services they can provide to members.

To address this need, the DSC board has conducted listening sessions and a millage feasibility study with community involvement. According to Executive Director Gordon Smith, these efforts have yielded positive outcomes.

Listening sessions have helped identify some of the center's needs and desired future changes, such as a more diverse program selection and closer connections to the city. Furthermore, the board is working on creating a revenue plan to fund both its relocation to a new location and growth through sustainable funding sources.

A new executive director has taken the helm of the Dexter Senior Center and is rapidly making a difference. Within just 12 weeks, his efforts have resulted in an 80% increase in senior membership numbers as well as several innovative new programs.

He has also formed new partnerships with local organizations, such as Encore Musical Theatre Company, Legacy Land Conservancy and Wylie Elementary School. Furthermore, he introduced a program called DSC Ambassador that assists members in attending community events.

In addition to these initiatives, the center is going through some visual improvements. The Copeland Building, where it's situated, was purchased by Encore Musical Theatre Company and underwent major renovations early last year.

With new leadership in place, the Dexter Senior Center is poised to take its next step and reach further into the Dexter community. By working together, we can continue improving life quality for all those who live here.

Who is the New Executive Director?

The Dexter Senior Center has a new Executive Director, and she plans to make significant improvements at the Center. As a nonprofit organization that offers services to seniors in the community, DSC strives for positive changes for its seniors.

Gordon Smith, the new executive director of the center, relocated from Texas to Michigan and accepted his role in January. He said he wanted a non-profit environment where he could make an impact in the community - which ultimately led him to this job.

He will oversee day-to-day operations, conduct program evaluation, develop process documentation, oversee financial management, formulate strategic plans and raise money. Furthermore, he will act as a main interface between the DSC and its stakeholders.

Within his first twelve weeks, he's already made an immense difference for the center and its members. He's built relationships within the community and implemented a range of creative programs that have dramatically increased membership numbers while creating new sources of funding for the organization.

One of his top priorities is spreading the word about his center, so he has several initiatives planned. He hopes to attract more Meals on Wheels drivers in the area and boost participation at their Senior Cafe - which offers lunch three days a week.

Another initiative is the formation of a senior advisory commission to address the needs of seniors in Dexter City, Scio Township, Webster Township and nearby areas. Members from these communities will serve on this panel.

Smith emphasizes the growing senior population in Dexter and believes it's up to the City to provide services for them. According to SEMCOG data, Dexter's 85 and older population is expected to increase by 300% over the next two decades.

These numbers are staggering. He believes the community requires a new facility that can adequately meet these demands.

He told WHMI they're working on several initiatives, but need to raise capital first. He noted they're in discussions with City of Dexter and municipal leaders about a parks and recreation millage request later this year as well as looking into purchasing property.


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