Presidents Report November 2020
As we come up to our second AGM, I reflect on how much we have been able to achieve even with the serious constraints of COVID-19 affecting our ability to safely physically gather. In recent months, we have been able to achieve connections to groups like our own locally and internationally - we just joined the Village to Village Network based in the USA with over 250 existing villages and 85 in the planning process. We are the first in Canada, and we get access to many resources that have helped grow this movement since its inception in 2003 in Boston. I recently joined 600 others in a virtual Village to Village conference with substantial content on every part of how to grow sustainable healthy villages with the principal aim to allow Ageing in Place to happen. Locally, we are part of the Calgary Sharing Network comprising the CEO’s and managers of all the dedicated seniors clubs like Kerby Centre, Confederation Park, Ogden Seniors and many more. Again a resource of knowledge which is of great value to our new manager Janice Fraser. What these groups have are dedicated senior friendly facilities where small groups can continue to meet even under strict COVID-19 restrictions. This need for a local senior friendly space for us is high on my agenda as we meet with the Oakridge Community Association Board at their January meeting. Also to build on the strong foundation between OSA and the Oakridge Community Garden project. Our relationships with Age Friendly Calgary and the University of Calgary continue to grow. The Faculty of Kinesiology has invited us to participate in several programs to improve our physical wellbeing. We are also represented on a multi-faculty Seniors & Technology Task Force. We are working hard to implement our policies & procedures developed so well by Samantha. These include working on key initiatives to benefit our members and how we recruit, train and manage volunteers to implement them. All these require leaders to guide the process. Our members in Oakridge and surrounding communities comprise a high percentage of the population in the plus-55 category, most with high levels of skills developed during their careers. Now we need to engage those members in rewarding positions as we expand the organization. Some of the other ideas we are pursuing to build engagement are:
A group focussed on the political world where we can research positions on matters critical to seniors and respectfully present them to political leaders. Our Zoom meeting with Whitney Issik MLA December 10 is just a start. Click here to register.
There is growing interest in green, environmental climate change issues. Is a zero carbon state achievable by 2050? Where can we find expertise to help us become better informed?
Exploring ways we can still safely physically meet in small numbers - the Men's Coffee group meeting in Jim Cameron’s heated garage November 19, and the Charlie Browns Christmas concert at OCA December 12 are just a few. The Bidon campaign showed how drive-in gatherings can work. Could we find a suitable location to meet and decorate our cars? Do you have ideas?
We are trying to start a trial Care Post program with the Calgary Seniors Resource Society inviting children in the community to prepare encouraging notes and creative artwork to send to seniors. A process that can help the children with their writing skills but also help develop their sense of kindness and empathy for others.
Hoping to develop some of the member presentations made last year into standalone interest groups. Julie on genealogy being a start.
There may come a time when we sadly have to leave our single family homes. What are the housing options? Hoping we can have local realtors with specialist knowledge help us chart a course.
Christmas can be a lonely time for some of our seniors even in the best of times. Would you consider inviting a single senior or couple to a Christmas dinner or deliver a meal to them all meeting COVID-19 safety precautions?
Several photographer members are prepared to take Porchtraits of seniors perhaps with their pets.
Like to help organize one of these initiatives or join in one please let us know. And lastly to build on our existing groups: Learning French and Spanish, the Ladies Movie & Chat group, resuming the Feel Good Group Spring 2021, and the Wednesday Morning Walking group. Planning is taking place for our OSA AGM scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on November 18, 2020 at the Oakridge Community Centre. COVID-19 precautions will be in place, and we plan to run a live feed via Zoom also. Please click here to register. Lastly, a resounding thank you to all of the contributions by board members, existing program leaders and our manager, Janice Fraser. Without them we could not survive. Kindest Regards, Barry