If the letters O.W.L. conjure up images of a downy nocturnal bird, think again. The acronym is used by a group of FishHawk Ranch residents-Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors- that meet monthly to enjoy friendship and conversation.

“We’re just a social group that likes to get together to chew the fat, talk about our grandkids or who won the latest bocce ball tournament,” said member, Donna Hart.

The group was formed in 2008 by Chris Maryanski, a former FishHawk resident who at the time was new to FishHawk Ranch. Her husband had passed away and she wanted to meet people. She invited a few neighbors to get together and it grew from there. Membership now totals 184 residents with approximately 25 to 30 showing up at any given event.

The group likes to eat and meets monthly at local restaurants. “We have not duplicated a restaurant in two years with the exception of Cinebistro,” said member Kathleen Standridge.

In addition to dining, members have also been bowling, watched shows at the Straz and Lakeland Center, held game nights, Meet and Mingle potlucks and hosted beer tastings at Park Square Cellar.

Upcoming meetings include a spirited game of Trivial Pursuit in Hawk Park on Thursday, April 10. With the group’s diversity in membership and many years of life experience, conversation never runs dry. “It’s fascinating to talk to others about where they have travelled and about their professions,” said Standridge. She particularly enjoys listening to the many retired military members who pepper their speech with acronyms and abbreviations.

With wit and wisdom and a lot of laughter, this group proves that having a senior moment is something to be heralded and looked forward to with enthusiasm.

Members must be FishHawk Ranch residents and be at least 50 years old. Membership is free and there are no monthly dues.

For more information about the O.W.L.s group, contact Kathy Armstrong at 381-3205 or e-mail Kathleen Standridge at owls33547@gmail.com.


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Michelle Caceres
MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.