Storey’s new senior center director has a world of experience |

Storey’s new senior center director has a world of experience

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Rhonda Costa-Landers/Nevada Appeal

John Shields was fresh out of college when he first worked with senior citizens as a recreation director at a nursing home.

Shields, now 56, is bringing that and other experience to the Storey County Senior Center as its new director.

“My heart is 100 percent into this,” Shields said. “I’m going to make it work.”

Shields, whose bachelor’s degree is in recreation and psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, first plans to program more activities for the seniors. He has also completed all coursework for his master’s degree.

“We already have Meals on Wheels, serve lunch at the center and provide meals to the jail,” he said. “Now I want to offer recreation activities to the seniors.”

From 1976-98, Shields was morale, welfare and recreation director for the Department of Defense in locations around the world.

A meeting is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Thursday at the senior center on North E Street so he can hear from seniors what interests them.

“What I have heard so far is the seniors want quality meals, activities, and they want leadership,” he said.

Shields said there are about 20 seniors per day in the center, and the center delivers about 10 meals to the homebound.

“And anywhere from six to 15 meals to the jail,” Shields said.

Shields said he bases his philosophy on the acronym “SCOPE.”

“Social, cultural and competitive, outdoor, performing arts, educational and entertainment activities.”

“I want to offer them options. We all have different interests,” he said.

Shields would like to see his philosophy in place in about 120 days.

“It takes time,” he said.

Shields is also working with the county on a regular maintenance plan at the center, as well as renting the building as a source of income to cover operating costs and programs.

“We do take community donations,” he said. “Clothing, games, vehicles and cash. We help all of Storey County. There is so much history here it’s unbelievable.”

Shields is married to Sandy, and they have three children; Adrianne, a highway patrol officer in Arizona; Geoff, a freshman at Western Nevada College in Carson City; and Jason, a junior at University of Nevada, Reno.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.