President's Message from the Annual General Meeting May 19, 2021
This certainly was a year like no other. Every aspect of the semesters was a learning experience – not just for the board but for all the participants as well. During this pandemic we have had to adjust, re-adjust and fly by the seat of our pants.
I hope that those members that did join us for our activities enjoyed themselves and felt the mental and social, as well as physical benefit of their activities. It is the mandate of this organization that spurred the board on during these times of uncertainty. We wanted to be sure to engage our members and keep them both physically and mentally active as well as safe.
We had over 300 participants enrol in 29 different activities. The fall semester fitness classses had to close one week early due to the pandemic; otherwise we made it through unscathed. The winter semester only had around 200 participants and again we moved into a precarious situation with Covid and had to shut down. The fact that we opened at all was in large part due to Mike Libbos and the dedicated leaders and volunteers that make this organization work.
During this year we were still able to offer NEW classes. Spanish and Dutch conversation to mention a couple. We also expect to add line dancing once the Covid situation improves. So onward and upward. This is a resilient organization and we should all take pride in that.
The leaders and all who help them to set up and close down deserve a huge round of applause, especially this year. There was a lot of added stress – protocols needed to be followed or bear the wrath of the covid police. I am very thankful for all the leaders and all the efforts that were put into the classes this year. You really did go beyond the call of duty. We would be nothing without you. Thank you one and all.
During this time of Covid, our usual activity locations were not always available to us. We look forward to the day when we can resume our presence in the retirement homes. In the meantime we would like to thank Wall Street United for letting us back in albeit in a limited capacity. It felt good to be home for the tai chi groups. The Salvation Army and Major Steve McNeilly deserve our utmost thanks as well. The protocols they put in place were the basis for the protocols we used at Perth Street and so we thank you Major Steve for the input and also for keeping all our members safe at your site.
We also relied on a lot of volunteers throughout the year. From setting up Perth Street to shutting it down. Not to mention registration help, phone calling and a myriad of tasks that make this whole operation work. The list is long and I don’t want to miss anyone out – so thank you to all. Other responsibilities that have dedicated volunteers are the website; and we have Tony Dunbar and Xoi Hin to keep the wheels greased on that and I am truly thankful for their speedy reliability. Two other members that need a thank you as well are our Covid response team – Anne Lusby and Bonnie Erwin. I know more about Covid and how to combat it because of these two very devoted (retired) nurses. They also asked me to extend a BIG thank you to everyone for staying safe during our activities and would also like to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Anne and Bonnie will continue to guide the board as we hopefully find our way out of this pandemic.
Finally I must thank the board and all the efforts they put forth this year. As a rookie I would especially like to thank Sue Hunter, our past president, for her experience and guidance in all things. However, there is a wealth of knowledge here and our Activity Centre is better off because of each one of them. Although each individual contributes to the running of our centre, it is the group as a whole that has my heart-felt thanks for all they contribute every day and at every meeting.
I am sorry to say we will be losing many board members this year. First of all Marian Rafferty, who has been the anchor of this organization for well over 20 years. There is no one more dedicated than her. She has been president, vice-president and office manager. The amount of time she has spent in the office and also working from home would put full time employees to shame. Marian, we all thank you enormously for all you have contributed and will continue to contribute through The Foundation.
Bill Carlyle will also be leaving our ranks after over 10 years of service. He was the long standing Activities Director and also served at 2nd Vice President. Bill introduced the leader’s manual and set up additional venues for our ever expanding menu of classes. He had a great rapport with all of his activity leaders and has always been approachable and open to suggestions by them. He is the ultimate team player. His contributions to the board will be long appreciated and remembered.
Mark Bailey introduced new classes to the centre including Table Tennis and School of Rock. He was also most instrumental in moving the enrolment day to The Memorial Centre. What a blessing that was! Although quiet, he always contributed in a wise and insightful way at all the board meetings. He played a role these last few years on the nominating committee as well. Thank you Mark for your service and we wish you luck in your next adventures.
Debby Greffe our long time social convener. Can anyone remember a registration day without her and her coffee, tea and goodies? (Prior to covid of course.) What about those Christmas parties? Debby also organized and attended our Outreach Activities. Culture days, Bayshore Seniors Fair and Community Health Fair to mention a few. Your bubbly personality and social skills will be greatly missed. We wish you health and happiness in the future.
Jo Anne Brinkworth stood up when no one else was coming forward as a secretary. She joined the board as a non-member and ended up staying as Secretary for 3 years. She also helped Marian out in the office when required. Not only did she join the board but she also led a pickle ball class and helped immensely at the enrolment days at the Memorial Centre. Jo Anne volunteered her services when they were needed most and we thank her for that and for all of her contributions over the years.
Unfortunately Mike Libbos will not be renewing his time on the board as Activity Director. In the short time that he was part of the team, he contributed greatly. The effort that was put into the set-up of the semesters this year was in large part his doing as he found the Perth Street locale and developed a new way to enrol members. He also contributed to behind the scenes work. Mike is very giving of his time to this community and we will surely miss him as a board member but will continue to count on him as a leader and active participant.
Even with all this change, I look forward to a new year come the fall. Hopefully with vaccinations in arms and cautious optimism we will be able to resume some kind of normal in the upcoming semesters. In the meantime stay safe, be kind and get your vaccination.
Carmen Grosse, President