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Waimea Scrabble meet-ups keep members mentally, socially active

July 22, 2014 - 5:40am

Hasbro’s game of Scrabble has been bringing people together for decades and each Friday it brings word-game enthusiasts together in Waimea.

In May 2010, Annabel Spielman organized a Scrabble group to meet once a week in the afternoon at Tutu’s House in Waimea. Volunteer leader and retired elementary school teacher of 35 years, Gary Cassel remembers Spielman describing Scrabble as “yoga for the brain.”

The aim of this group is to bring like-minded people together for a social activity that will stretch their brains to think and grow. Cassel said word games like Scrabble and crossword puzzles, along with the card game of bridge, help keep the brain firing on all cylinders as people age.

“We welcome all levels (of players) from advanced to beginners.” Cassel said. “We can regulate the game to modify it to all abilities.”

Through modifications, such as the use of an official electronic Scrabble dictionary, new members can check the spelling and validation of a word prior to playing a word. Cassel said there are a number of regulars and drop-ins each week. He also said the competition is fun and the members always learn something new from each other.

With the rise of online game play, Cassel and another member tried playing the popular game Words With Friends online, but each time they got ahead in the scoring their opponent would quit the game. Cassel and other members decided the old-fashioned way of playing Scrabble was a better way to go.

“I have no memory of when I first started,” Cassel said. “I’ve always enjoyed games — word games in particular.”

The Scrabble group members said they enjoy the Scrabble get-togethers because of the social aspect and encouraged others to join the group, which meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays at Tutu’s House, 64-1032 Mamalahoa Highway, Waimea. No experience with the game is needed; just show up and play.

For more information, contact Tutu’s House at 885-6777 or