When you look at the sign over the Seniors Activity Centre in Williams Lake you will see that it is the home of the Old Age Pensioners Organization, said OAPO member Pat Cassidy.
“This is because way back in 1985, the OAPO met with the city’s leisure services director with regard to a proposed activity centre to be built in Kiwanis Park,” Cassidy recalled.
In 1986, the OAPO Branch 93 Seniors Activity Centre Society for Williams Lake and District was incorporated.
“That was quite a mouthful,” Cassidy chuckled. “In 1991 the name was changed to the Williams Lake and District Seniors Activity Society.”
Cassidy said it was the OAPO, with its intensive fundraising efforts that got the building started. It officially opened on Aug. 29, 1987.
The centre is run by a board of directors elected at the annual general meeting in February or March and with the exception of the manager, the centre is run strictly by volunteers, Cassidy said.
“The biggest problem facing the centre today is that while we have a whole slate of generous volunteers, we are very lacking in persons coming forward to fill in positions on the board of directors,” she said.
At the next annual general meeting positions to be filled will include president, recording secretary, treasurer and a board member who would be willing to plan events.
“As the name implies, the activity centre is a place of seniors to come for camaraderie,” Cassidy said.
There are lunches Monday to Friday for members and Bingo on Saturday with a concession.
From carpet bowling, floor curling, quilting, painting, crafts, Tai Chi and choir to exercise classes there is something for everyone to take part in.
“Then there are the card games,” Cassidy said. “Games like poker, cribbage, bridge.”
And of course there are teas and bazaars.
“All of this for a $20 yearly membership,” she said.
“People are buying a dual membership for the Seniors Activity Centre and the OAPO.”
In September, the centre celebrated its volunteers with an appreciation dinner.
“We wanted to thank people who volunteer on a steady basis and there were 85 people on the invite list,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy has been a member for 15 years and has attended board meetings as a liaison between the OAPO and the board.
She’s been through five presidents and has seen as many managers come and go.
When Cassidy visits other community seniors activity centres, she is always reminded that Williams Lake has one of the nicest.
“Lunch is reasonable because it’s subsidized by volunteers,” she added.
Cassidy is hoping seniors in the community will consider putting their names forward to run in the upcoming AGM.
“The centre cannot continue to run with a skeleton board.”
On Monday, Cassidy and other OAPA members were busy decorating the centre for the Christmas season.
They had lights, poinsettia centre pieces for the tables, a Christmas tree, and other decorations to transform the dining area.
“We decorate every year,” Cassidy said.