The amount of nervousness and excitement in the Spring Grove VFW on Tuesday was palpable.

It looked like the inside of a high school cafeteria on the first day of school: the quiet girls sitting together at one table, another with the shy boys and a third table filled with friends catching up on what had happened that summer.

The people chatting away had a good 50 years on those high school students, but they were just as single.

"It's hard dating at our age, or even meeting new friends," said Sandy Lasater. "We don't bar hop. I didn't know what to expect today."

The 61-year-old New Salem woman came to the Windy Hill on the Campus "Meet and Greet" event Tuesday. She said she was nervous and anxious but excited to make new friends. This is the first time Windy Hill hosted the event, which originally was planned as a speed dating event for seniors 60 years and older.

"From what I've been hearing, we do need this kind of program," said Tammy Miller, executive director at Windy Hill. "I mean, where are you going to go to meet people?"

New people: Seven men and 11 women sat around the gray tables in blue chairs, looking for companionship, whether through friendship or a romantic relationship.

"It's good to meet new people," Philip Carlise said. "It's good to meet people with different views. This is a good idea."

The 77-year-old New Salem man said he's been single for about 10 years and is looking for something, or someone, new.

"I've never done this before," he said. "I'm a New Yorker. You'd think we wouldn't be shy, but we are."

Carlise and Lasater spent the better part of an hour talking with each other and a few others. Lasater said she had tried other ways of dating, including online dating. However, that didn't pan out for her.

"There are some weird people out there who aren't who they say they are," she said. "I've met some people who said they were 60 but they were actually 29. That's younger than my kids. This way it's more local people."

Miller said this isn't the last meet-and-greet event Windy Hill is hosting. The next event is planned from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Spring Grove VFW. For more information on the event, call Windy Hill at 717-225-0733.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at or on Twitter at @YDKatherine.

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