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Newsletter May 2020
Editor's Notes

Welcome to another edition of the 50+ Newsletter. This is a brief one - as we are all gearing up for the summer months.  With social distancing in mind, I hope that you enjoy these months of sunshine and warm weather...we waited a long time for this.

This month's featured FOCUS class and instructor is Chair Yoga with Judy Volhart.  Once again I was truly inspired by this instructor's story and her tenacity.  A true inspiration.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and family. As always I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions. And of course we all want you to stay safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Carmen Grosse


Photo of president Sue Hunter

President's Message

AGM President’s Report

The semester starting September 2019, started like most.  A large flurry of activity, confirming returning Leaders, welcoming new Leaders and new activities.  Making sure all activity times and locations will work out.   Putting together the activity schedule, registration form and posting online.  Also, preparations for registration day at the Memorial Arena.  465 people registered in at least one activity in September.   32 activities were offered.  New activities included:  Mah Jong, led by Ping Wu & Peri Howlett, Meditation led by, Beryl Wood, Carl Insley, stepped up to lead the existing Wednesday Pickleball, Beginner Spanish, led by Elizabeth Stratton, (a popular activity in the past), Advanced French as  a Second Language, Ginette Desrochers;  Peter & Lynne Meleg, Beginner Ukulele;  and Chimers, A St Lawrence Anglican Church activity, led by Jeff Reusing. 

In January 2020, the registration numbers broke previous records.  484 members were registered in at least one activity. 35 activities in total.   Both a first for 50+!   New activities introduced this semester were:  School of Rock, led by Mark Bailey, Basics of Painting, led by Gail Easton, Self-Reflexology led by Arlene Laberge, Ukulele Practice, led by Gael Bullard and Valerie Hodgkinson, Writers Group, led by Lorraine Buck, Seniors Warmup Exercise, led by Lucy Braganza.  The very popular Chair Yoga was led by new Leader Ross Thomson, Another change in leaders this semester, was Wayne Bullard, who now leads the Conversational French group.

I would like to thank all the Leaders and helpers for their passion and dedication for the activities which they lead.  Without you, there would not be a Brockville 50+ Activity Centre.  The time and energy you bring week after week is appreciated more than I can ever express.  THANK YOU!

Telling others about the Brockville 50+ Activity Centre is integral to our sustainability and future growth.  In addition to the newsletter and the website, On September 28th, we attended “Culture Days,” downtown, and were able to display many beautiful projects completed by members.  They included quilts, watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings, and mosaic art pieces.  Bob McDougall and a group from Tai Chi, braved the weather and gave a fabulous demonstration of their Tai Chi skills!  On November 9th we had a table set up at the Memorial Arena for the “Bayshore Seniors Health Fair”. This event was well attended and a lot of information was shared with people that had not heard of us before.  In fact, as a result of this fair, we attained two new activities and leaders for the January semester, as well as several new participants.  The Brockville Library held a “Community Health Fair” on November 18th.  Although on a smaller scale than the Memorial Centre, our presence was equally valuable.  Many existing members attended and it was great to hear their stories about the activities they are involved in, as well as feedback for future semesters.  Thank you to Debby Greffe and Marian Rafferty who attended all three events.  We shared a lot of information on those days, but another highlight for me, was getting to know you both better and sharing some stories with each other.  Which of course, is another facet of why the organization is so great! 😊

The Brockville 50+ Activity Centre held its annual Christmas Dinner in December.  Cindy Croteau catered once again.  The dinner was delicious and it was a great way to wind down the semesters activities.  There was entertainment, as Gael and Wayne Bullard and Conrad Guy played some festive Christmas carols and encouraged others to sing along.  Jeff Reusing led his group of “Chimers” in a beautiful selection of music, enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

In addition to all the regular activities, there were also two separate sessions of Defibrillator and CPR training.  Many leaders and members took advantage of this great opportunity.  It’s something that we hope to never have to use, but in the event that we do, potentially saving a life is well worth the time spent on the training!

At this time, I would like to thank all the Board Members.  Each one of you works hard to make sure every semester and event is a success.  I am truly thankful for all that you do!  There is certainly a lot of “behind the scenes” work to make it all happen!  In addition to the board members, I would also like to thank Tony Dunbar and Xoi Hin, who have been keeping our website up to date.

Last but not least, the venues that have welcomed us…

Wall Street United Church, The Royal Brock, The Bridlewood, The Wedgewood, The Memorial Arena, The Salvation Army, and the newest addition, The Rosedale Seniors Residence.  The staff at each of these locations, have been just wonderful!  They have provided a room, or rooms in their facilities that works well for all that we do.  We cannot thank them enough!  It is there, in those places, that members are active and healthy both physically and mentally.  Developing friendships with other members that often extends far beyond the activities they participate in!

With the Pandemic and changes to our “everyday normal lives” Brockville 50+ Activity Centre will be guided by our government leaders.  Locally, Provincially and Federally, as they direct us in how we will be able to offer activities that 50+ members have come to enjoy.  Today there are still a lot of unknowns.   You have our commitment, as we move towards the September registration, we will communicate to each of you, where we are, in the ability to start activities once again.

I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy summer!

Sue Hunter


50+ Activity Centre News

Volunteers, Venues and Ideas Needed:  With Covid-19 a new reality in our lives we need to find ways to continue offering our activities within guidelines of the government.  To that end we are looking for venues that will be able to accommodate us - long term care and senior residences will be unavailable for the foreseen future.  We may also need to offer smaller class sizes and therefore more of them.  Could you see yourself as a secondary leader to a favourite class?  We may need to offer 2, 3 or 4 classes to accommodate all our members; in order to do so we will need volunteers to step up.  At the same time we are thinking about other activities that we can offer that would better fit with this new reality...outdoor events and smaller groups...what are your ideas?  Please call me @ 613-803-1235 and leave a message or send an email to  We would love to hear from you.

Baby Boomer and Beyond Fitness starring Lucy and Ramona Braganza.

Together this mother- daughter team bring you daily fitness motivation, nutrition tips and provide exercise programing for both “Baby Boomers” – Ramona’s age group, and “Beyond”- Lucy’s age group. The half hour show on Your TV at noon includes daily community guests that discuss a range of topics from Yoga with Dan De Luis to Strength training with various trainers like Mike Mannella and Cheryl Scott.

To date 3 shows have been filmed and rotate 6 days a week.

Lucy Braganza is a Certified Zumba instructor and Senior Fitness group instructor on Thursday mornings.   Ramona Braganza is a Global Fitness Expert, Celebrity  trainer and is the creator of the 321Training Method.  Yoga with Dan Deluis features Ross Thompson who was our chair yoga leader this past semester.

YourTV is on Cogeco cable channel 10 and 700. 

Are you learning to speak Dutch, want to keep up your
Dutch language skills or revive your dormant Dutch speaking ability? Would you like to meet weekly for a morning coffee/ tea and chat in Dutch?
This is not intended to be an instructional course but rather an opportunity to practice and enhance the Dutch language skills you already have.
Let us know if you are interested and if there is sufficient numbers, we’ll offer a ‘Dutch Coffee Time’ in the Fall term. Contact Rietta Osso at

Judy Volhart - Chair Yoga

Why Chair Yoga?

Those of you that know me are familiar with some of the challenges that I've been up against.  Stage 4 kidney cancer, with the cancer having spread to my bones, nerve damage from previous treatment and now suddenly becoming an insulin dependent diabetic, a rare side effect from my immunotherapy treatments. 

Just slightly over 3 years ago, I was perfectly fine.  I was a manager of a health, dental and disability claims department in Ottawa and my only cause for grief was the long commute and a sluggish thyroid.

I wasn't into yoga back then.  To be honest, I once tried it in my early thirties and hated it!  In retrospect, I just wasn't ready for it.  I was too wired, too fast-paced.  I was used to karate, cycling, in-line skating, hiking, treadmills.  Yoga was too slow for me, I wasn't flexible enough, and forget about even trying to meditate - that was just an opportunity to do a mental to-do list.

So, oddly enough, my yoga journey began with meditation.  After my surgery to remove my right kidney, and after accepting the fact that I would never return to my former stress-filled work as a manager, I had to rebuild myself.

Mental health took priority and somehow I knew meditation was what I needed, not just to clear and quiet my mind, but to get to know this new me.  To listen to my thoughts, acknowledge them, then let them go and be at peace with the new life ahead of me.

I had lost my identity.  I had lost a part of my body.  I had lost a lot of muscle tone.  I could have very easily lost my mind, but luckily I have always been blessed with a positive attitude.

I grappled with what to do next.  It was not in me to do nothing all day.  I was only 47 years old and I had to keep busy.  I wrote my 4th cozy mystery novel during this time frame, but it was a struggle.  I had also lost my passion for writing, but I pushed through.  I was not a quitter and I was determined to at least retain my author identity.  I thought that, without that, I would be nothing.

I would spend my days writing, meditating, enjoying the warmth of spring and summer.  Once my incision healed, I slowly began to incorporate gently yoga stretches into my daily routine to start rebuilding muscle tone.  Eventually, I found the courage to go to a real yoga class.  I had put it off, waiting to "feel better, stronger".  The day never seemed to come, so I forced myself to go to a class.

So, why chair yoga?

I struggled through my first class, and the following classes, doing what I could, doing my best to keep up even though it was just a beginner class.  I lost track of how many times I thought to myself "This is NOT a beginner class!  Is this even safe for me?"  I couldn't find any chair yoga classes, which I knew would have been a much safer alternative.

Over time, I became stronger, healthier, and my passion for yoga grew.  I was still young and full of determination and hope, and luckily knew to stop a movement if it did not feel right in my body.  I did a ton of research and read about all things yoga related everyday.  But the lack of chair yoga in the community bothered me.  If I needed such a class, I was certain there were others in the same situation.

About a year after I started yoga, I began my teacher training.  I had found a course that also offered chair, yin and restorative yoga as part of the curriculum and instantly knew it was meant for me.  Teaching would fulfill my desire to help others along with enabling me to spread my love of yoga to others in a manner that would be safe for almost everyone.

The more I learned, the more I realized that I was lucky I hadn't injured myself when I first began m yoga journey, and the more determined I became to eventually bring chair yoga to those that needed it.

Soon after I obtained my yoga teacher certification, I had the good fortune of bringing chair yoga back to the Brockville 50+ group.  My first class was about 70 students and although I was nervous, I felt I had found my destiny, my calling.

Chair yoga is about moving your body safely, despite medical conditions that might prevent more strenuous exercise or from standing.  It's about breath work to strengthen the lungs, even while sitting, activating your circulation and digestion, toning muscles, strengthening your bones, lubricating your joints with movement, and quieting the mind.  Having been in a position of needing chair yoga myself enabled me to fully appreciate others in the same situation.

Chair yoga can be done by almost anyone.  You don't have to worry about being flexible or having poor balance or not having fancy yoga clothes.  You just have to show up for class in comfortable clothing, and do what you can.  While the classes are mostly the same each time, I do like changing things up and sharing my knowledge.  I am not there to just teach, but to empower and motivate. 

With every class, I share something new and change our routine slightly, introducing a new stretch, offering variations, explaining benefits of certain movements, teaching new breath work, and spreading positive energy.

I know that I'm making a difference in people's lives.  I can see it on their faces and in their movement and to my delight, students approach me before and after class to thank me and comment on how they enjoy the class.

Come join our class and begin your own journey.


Born in 1900

Well another month has gone by and I was truly hopeful our lives would be somewhat back to normal by now and we would be looking forward to meeting this month.  Clearly this is not the case and we find ourselves still in hibernation. I hope all our friends and families are well and staying healthy. I am sure many of you are feeling a little tried and discouraged with the situation we are in so when I received the following I thought I would pass it on as I feel it is right on.

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 MILLION. When
you're 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. When you're 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills 11 million, 6 million of those were Jews. At 50, the Korean War starts and five million perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for 20 years. Four million people die in that conflict. Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening. As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in
perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and with a little time we will get through all of this as well.

Things to think about!

If a poison use-by date expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?

Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?

Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?

Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims".

100 years ago, everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.

If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.


At a movie theater, which armrest is yours?

If people evolved from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?

Why is there a 'D' in fridge, but not in refrigerator?

Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?


Why does the word “Funeral” starts with FUN?

Why isn't a fireman called a waterman?

How come lipstick doesn't do what it says?

If money doesn't grow on trees, how come banks have branches?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

How do you get off a non-stop flight?

Why are goods sent by ship called CARGO and those sent by truck SHIPMENT?

Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the cupboard?

Why is it called “Rush Hour” when traffic moves at its slowest then?

How come noses run and feet smell?

Why do they call it a TV “set” when there is only one?

What are you vacating when you go on a vacation?

Who thinks this stuff up?

I have been in isolation toooo long!

A Little Humour ...
In case you require assistance...

5 Wall St., Brockville, ON
K6V 4R8 Canada



Phone: 613-345-2412

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