As I write this, the semester is just starting up. Most classes have now started at the Salvation Army and Wall Street. I’m really excited about the new courses that we are offering and how popular they are. The numbers are encouraging, and I am amazed how many new members we have enrolled. Tom Beach has covered all that detail in his report. He is quickly getting immersed in the job and it appears he is enjoying it as well. If you see him around, please say hello and thank him for all he is doing for us.
The logistics of setting up the semester don’t get any easier with Covid variants. We have had to deal with two opening dates – which caused quite a bit of confusion. It is also becoming more difficult to screen people as they show up to classes. We are asking everyone to take responsibility and stay home if you are not feeling well, have been in contact with someone who has had the virus in the last 2 weeks, and generally use common sense when it comes to keeping your friends and acquaintances safe at our classes.
Another thing that I would like to mention is that many people are sensitive to scent. The facilities where we hold our classes are all scent-free. The Brockville 50+ Activity Centre supports this rule. Please do not wear scented deodorants, perfumes or other products that are scented like after-shaves to class. This applies to all classes but it is especially important in the exercise classes, when people are perspiring. Be considerate and think about others around you.
Hopefully, Wiarton Willie got it right on Groundhog day and we will have an early spring. I think we deserve it after all this cold weather, with more yet to come, and snow, snow and more snow. This type of weather makes the sidewalks and streets very slippery so please take care. And another word of advice – warm up those muscles before you go out to shovel the snow.
I am very excited about this semester and look forward to seeing you all again. I am tired of doing puzzles. It is time to get out again and see our friends and socialize – before we forget how. Remember to be kind to all. We are all going through this experience differently, so it is important to be respectful and considerate.
Covid 19 Report
COVID-19 has not gone away and we are still living in a pandemic.
Thanks to all of you who are smiling and providing proof of a booster shot.
We will be following the public health guidelines. Please stay at home if you are unwell.
Again – be patient, be kind and carry on.
In these days of wearing masks and ensuring we keep a safe social distance, it's a bit of a challenge to reach out to greet and have a chat with all the new faces we see in 50+ Activity Groups.
To the over 40 new members who joined this session, we say...
Hello! We hope you are enjoying your involvement with your new 50+ activity!
Activity Director's Report
Hello 50+ members and a special hello and welcome to the over 30 new members who have signed up this term!
We have 305 active members enrolled so far. Some are in one activity, many are in two or three and a few in more than that. In total there are 560 registrations in activities from these 305 members and growing. 50+ activities rely on the generous contribution of skills, expertise and time from the group leaders. We are very fortunate to have such people in our membership. There are still places left in some programs! If you want to register for any activity, please contact the 50+ office by phone or email to see if you can join or be put on a waiting list. We would love to see you again.
A special thank you to Wayne Bullard who has retired as leader from French conversation and to Christine Molloy who has taken over from Wayne. Thank you to Peggy Gillies for bringing a sign language class to 50+ and leading the group and to Denis Dorris for bringing Blues Harmonica to 50+ and leading that group. Dot Hudson is taking time off from the walking group. It will continue as an ad hoc group until her return or someone else steps forward to be the leader. Reflexology has started and has room. It is being held at 12 noon on Mondays at unit 7 in the Brockville Shopping Centre. We are looking for volunteers to assist with a workshop on electronic devices - starting with getting to know what is on your phone, tablet or other device and moving to simple fix or reset options. If you are a tech type, or know someone who is, please contact me if you can assist, we need volunteers to help with the knowledge side of a workshop.
We are still in winter mode so it's worth a reminder of our "weather policy". If the Salvation Army venue or Wall Street United Church venue is not going to open because of inclement weather or, for any other reason, we will put a notice on the 50+ phone and we will send an email to all members to inform them of the closure. For each class, it's up to each Leader to determine how to decide whether to cancel class or not. Some rely on the school bus cancellations, and some check the weather forecast and then decide on their own. Please check with your Leader to confirm the weather policy and notification procedures for your activity group!
Looking forward, I will be talking to some of you about past activities that we would like to get going again in the fall. If you have a former or new activity you want to participate in or, to assist in leading, please contact me.
It is exciting to be active again. In your excitement remember to keep safe - sanitize hands, distance and mask up except when you are in your exercising spot.
Activity Group Updates:
Close to press time, most groups have met for the first class. Many leaders noted they don't have much to report just yet. We'll look forward to lots of updates next month!
Art Studio- Tuesday
Leader: Karen Gregus
The Tuesday Art group is in full swing again this session. We have seasoned artists stepping out of their comfort zone and learning new mediums as well as beginners painting for the very first time. Art is not a gift you are given but a skill that takes practice. Anyone who has the desire can learn to paint or draw. This session we have artists in acrylic, oil, watercolour, pastels, graphite and charcoal drawing. We are a group of 19. We help each other with occasional lessons, tips and friendly critiques. Most of all we enjoy each other's company and the walk arounds when we each take a break and view each other’s artwork and progress from the week before.
French Conversation- Wednesday
Leader: Christine Molloy
Conversation en français!
Develop your fluency and build confidence through conversational French! Perfect your grammar, improve your accent, build your vocabulary and conversational skills in an interactive setting that’s relaxed and fun! The French Conversation activity is open to French language learners at all levels – the sessions are centered around active involvement.
Conversations generally start with an opening topic and all are invited to speak up and contribute. Most recently, the sessions have had a focus on current events and participants flex to wherever the conversation takes them. Worried that you don’t know enough words – Everyone helps each other! And, if no one knows the proper word(s), well google helps too!
Leader: Denis Dorris
Students are learning blues harmonica techniques by playing chord rhythms and basslines, with an emphasis on good tone, clear single notes, and breath control. Denis listens to each student’s playing and gives feedback to shape the student’s growing skills. Additionally, the group will get playful by changing the rhythm of the chord rhythms and basslines as an introduction to improvisation. If it sounds like music, then it is music! The teaching includes basic elements of music theory, but reading music is not included and not required. Interested students can obtain additional information by contacting Denis Dorris at email@example.com
Line Dancing- Beginners
Line Dancing- Intermediate
Leaders: Janet Rose and Holly Welch
We took a couple of extra weeks off before resuming our line dance classes. We did move online for a few sessions. It is not the same as in-person, by a long shot, but it kept our feet moving! Also, it gave some new dancers a chance to get an idea of what is to come.
We are now anxious to get back to the Salvation Army gym and start moving to the music. We really love what we do and the people we get to share it with.
Our Tuesday and Wednesday Intermediate classes are continuing and we are welcoming some new dancers to both groups. The Friday Beginner Class is back on the schedule, again with some new members.
A lot of people want to line dance so a second Beginner class was added on Monday afternoons. The class is full and the wait list is long.
To our returning dancers, we look forward to seeing you and have some new dances planned as we promised. To our new dancers, welcome and we hope you enjoy the classes!
Mosaic Art - Monday
Leader: Rosalie Morris-Spencer
Vase of flowers, Mary Anne McAllister, 2019 Flower Pot, & matching hanging, Susan Jansman, Feb 2022
All 17 of us love creating mosaics, supporting and cheering each other on! Some members are making wall hangings, others a vase, others garden art. Some prefer to use coloured glass, some like china best, and many of us use a mixture of materials in our creations. Whatever we're working on, we learn from each other. Good conversation and laughter is guaranteed weekly.
Beginners Mosaic Art- Monday
Leader: Elske Harris
A big WELCOME BACK to leader Elske Harris! Starting Feb 21st, you'll find Elske and her small group of "mosaic newbies" gathering at Elske's home to learn about traditional methods of creating mosaic art. Watch for updates and pictures of what this group is creating!
Leader: Brenda Kelly
This activity is all about sharing the love of playing music. How appropriate that our first session this semester was held on Valentine Day!
In this activity we all bring our own instruments. This is not a teaching activity but it's surprising how much we actually learn from each other. The skill level required would be on an intermediate level, as in knowing how to play your instrument. We love to hear singers but this is not necessary as some people are shy to sing. However, we have witnessed many self confessed non-singers blossom into songbirds! Some quotes heard over the years from participants were, "I've never sang in front of anyone before until I started coming to this 50+ jam." We form friendships, work together and encourage each other. None of us are perfect and we don't expect perfection but when we're playing, singing and tapping our toes we feel pretty close to it! A good music motto: ALL EARTH'S CREATURES HAVE A PLACE IN THE CHOIR.
Conversational Sign Language - Beginners
Leader: Peggy Gillies
Peggy is a new Leader this session. Welcome Peggy! Her first class was fun and information filled. Despite masks covering our smiling faces, we were able to take first steps in following Peggy's lead and attempt to expressively communicate our message. Practice will bring success! All 15 who attended were soon seen to be eagerly practicing their ABC's and numbers in Sign Language.
Spanish Conversation - Intermediate
Leader: Tom Beach
The Spanish Intermediate conversation peer support group is for people who have some understanding of Spanish and a desire to increase their ability and comfort level to speak and to comprehend Spanish.
Current members’ skills come from formal training in the past, on line courses, and experience in a Spanish speaking environment.
Our focus is on speaking and understanding Spanish, learning from each other as we go. We are very informal and flexible, working together as a group to determine how we structure each session.
To keep minds flowing members can use the present tense throughout and insert English words when they come to a vocabulary block. Peer support will help with vocabulary and we address verb tenses and grammar as we gain confidence.
You are welcome to join us to listen and observe or, to participate if you wish.
Tai Chi Boost
Leader: Carmen Grosse
Hello beginner tai chi’ers. There is still room in this class if you would like to join. It is an opportunity to practice what you were taught in Tuesday’s beginner class. With limited numbers it is easier to ask questions and benefit from others with knowledge. It is especially beneficial for the newest of new beginners! It’s also fun!
Leader: Marilyn Wallace
The Tole Painting group are very happy to be once again at the Salvation Army Church, and to have our classes on Wednesday mornings again. We have one new student and two returning people that have not been with us since Covid started. The first picture we will work on is a snow scene in the woods with a stream. Excitement is high to once again be together to socialize and paint.
Welcome!to some terrific folks who have stepped up to be Leaders!
Christine Molloy - French
Peggy Gillies - Sign Language
Denis Dorris - Blues Harmonica
Elske Harris - Mosaics for Beginners
Leader of Quilting Group, Book Club and Art Studio
Gael and her husband Wayne moved here from the south shore of Montreal in 1979 because Wayne accepted a position at DuPont. Gael says they fell in love with the area the first day they visited Brockville.
Gael and Wayne have been married almost 60 years! Before having children, Gael taught school on the West island of Montreal for five years. Later, she attended St Lawrence College and completed the nursing program, and then went on to obtain a nursing degree. She enjoyed her nursing career very much. Gael retired from the Leeds, Grenville, Lanark District Health Unit in 2003, having worked there as a nurse for over 15 years (7 years in immunization and 8 years in the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program).
Gael and Wayne joined Brockville 50+ around 2013. Besides leading groups, she has participated in various 50+ groups through the years. She especially enjoyed the Ukulele group for a few years, but unfortunately had to stop playing when she developed tendonitis in her wrist.
Gael’s week is busy with 50+ activities! She is leader of the Quilting group, Art Studio Thursday group, and the Book Club group.
In 2013 Gael took a beginner’s class in quilting at Taylor’s Sewing Center, and has loved quilting ever since. In 2015, when the 50+ Quilting group needed a new leader, she volunteered. She says she really enjoys spending time with others who enjoy this craft. This year about 15 participants enjoy quilting together on Monday mornings at the Salvation Army. Most are experienced quilters and the ones who are less experienced get help from the others! Group members share ideas and learn new projects. They work on a variety of patterns for small items such as table runners to full size bed quilts. Once a month they make charity quilts. In the past, they have donated them to various children's organizations. This year their charity quilt will be going to a seniors group.
Gael loves to read. About 10 years ago, she offered to lead a Book Club with Brockville 50+. They meet once a month, and enjoy great discussions about the plot and characters of each book. Gael describes the meetings as fun and enriching, and she feels blessed!
Quite some time ago Gael joined one of the painting groups. About 5 years ago when the leader had to step down due to health issues, she offered to lead the group. So, on Thursdays you will find Gael at Wall Street Church leading the Art Studio group of artists, who work with several mediums. Other than Brockville 50+, Gael has volunteered with a few organizations, including being on the board of the MS society for two years.
Gael feels grateful for the pleasure 50+ activities has given her, as a participant and as a leader. Leading 50+ activity groups is fun and gives Gael great satisfaction. She especially values the friendships with the people she has met through involvement with Brockville 50+ Activity Centre.
We thank you Gael for your leadership and your ongoing gift to so many, in volunteering your time and sharing your skills and enthusiasm.
Notes from the Editor
I don't know about you, but I find that I'm once again busy as a beaver. Well, truth be told, I'm probably not so much busy as experiencing Covid Disorganization Syndrome. OK, so I guess that's not a real thing, but I feel like it is! This month it's been a challenge to get this newsletter written and out to you all. Yep, we haveover 30 Activity Groups!!! That means a lot of corralling of leaders requesting they please get their activity reports to me, which is especially hard, given there's not a whole lot for them to report on since the activity groups started later than usual due to the Covid precautions.
I've done my best to make the newsletter interesting to you.Just wait til next month!...get ready for a few surprises and a chance to solve some mysteries! In the meantime, enjoy the snow and fellowship that we all are so lucky to experience through Brockville 50+ Activity Centre.
Wall Street United Church will be open if the custodian (currently Trevor) can clear the walkways. Major Steve McNeilly at the Salvation Army will open if he can get there. When either one of these facilities is closed, an e-mail will be sent to our members to inform them of the closing, and that all classes are cancelled.
Clear communication is vital between the leaders and their participants. A leader/facilitator must identify on the first day of class how he/she will notify participants in case of cancellation. It is the option of the leader whether they communicate via e-mail or phone, or use another form of notice – ie: School Bus Cancellation by STEO (Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario) https://www.steo.ca/delays/ or phone 1-866-629-0629.
The office is no longer be the key communicator to individual classes regarding their status. The weather policy is the responsibility of the leader/facilitator of each class, and it will be explained fully to all participants.
Brockville 50+ Special Events
Oh geeeezze!!! STILL "Not just yet!"?!?
Now that Covid is calming somewhat, let's be super optomistic for announcements of special 50+ events. later in 2022.
If you’re feeling respiratory, non-emergency type flu-like symptoms, such as cough, fever, sore throat and congestion, (and they don’t have to be COVID symptoms), you can call the Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre, which is located at the Brockville Memorial Centre. The centre is no longer a vaccination centre, but is still staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses who are there to assess symptoms and do COVID tests if necessary.
The assessment centre provides a clinically safe environment and people do not need to have a primary care provider in order to book an appointment. Staff at the site can provide an assessment and even treatment if necessary.
The assessment centre is open from noon to 8 p.m. weekdays, with staff answering the phones to book appointments starting at 10 a.m., and from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends, with phone lines open at 9 a.m.
May Court Club of Brockville is a women’s service organization that is committed to enriching the community by providing financial and volunteer support to individuals with their medical and physical needs, and organizations (such as those noted on the chart below). From 2016 to 2021 May Court donated over $330,000 to support others. Those funds come from donations, special events, and from the best little Thrift Shop in Brockville (75 King St. West), where incredible treasures at bargain prices can be found from 10-4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Oh yes, and all the volunteers are seniors, many in their 70’s and 80’s.
Students from Algonquin College's Human Centred Design program are conducting research on behalf of Ingenium Museums to gain insights into older adults' museum-going experiences and how to more effectively engage this population in online museums exhibits and content. They are looking for input from older adults (55+) and those who work with this population, to learn more about what interests and motivates older adults, and how they use their leisure time. Their hope is that the results of the study will help in the creation and delivery of online museum content that is attractive and engaging to older adults across Canada.
The students conducting this research invite you to complete a short questionnaire. There is also an option to participate further in an 45-60 minute interview via Zoom or phone. The questionnaire can be found by clicking this link: bit.ly/algonquinhcd
The research findings report will be complete by the end of April 2022, and if you are interested in reading the report, the students assure that it will be made available to you!
Brockville 50+ Activity Centre
We are so fortunate to have great organizations in our community that focus on caring for community members, and enriching the lives of seniors with activities and opportunities of all sorts. We are also blessed to have great leaders for all our 50+ activities. They especially are bestFriends of 50+.
In this section, we will share information and what's happening with some of the many Friends of Brockville 50+ Activity Centre.
Check out what's happening at Brockville Public Library! Book Clubs, Seedy Saturday, download books and magazines from home, borrow snowshoes and more!
The library is currently offering free vaccination certificate download assistance, as well as printing and laminating.
Wall Street United Church in the lovely city of Brockville, Ontario, is excited to present a new video entitled “Sit Fit, Seated Exercises for Seniors”. This excellent 30 minute workout session, all done while seated, is geared to seniors, adults with mobility issues or older adults who want to start an exercise regimen. The gentle exercises will support you on your journey to more active living.
Lucie Stein is the wonderful volunteer trainer who will gently take you through the workout session, accompanied by relaxing music. The production was supported by the gifted team of Samia O’Day, Laura Webb and Peter Geertsema. The video is offered free of charge, and you are encouraged to share it with family and friends! We’d love to reach people around the world!