Activity Centre needs new blood

The Cowichan Lake 50 Plus Activity Centre is in need of volunteers — and the more the merrier.

Carolyn Austin

The Cowichan Lake 50 Plus Activity Centre is in need of volunteers — and the more the merrier.

Town councillor Carolyne Austin also doubles as the Golden Agers Society’s president. The Golden Agers’ Society is one of the two groups that operates the bustling activity centre.

“People that have been doing things a long time are getting worn out,” Austin said. “The 50 Plus Activity Centre has 347 members but a lot of people pay their memberships basically in support. What we need is some of those people to step up and volunteer.”

A paid cook runs the kitchen but volunteers do the dishes and various other tasks.

These days, the hostess desk needs a friendly face to greet people and bingo callers are urgently needed.

“The bingo, that’s where we get our money to keep running,” Austin said. The group has a gaming licence to run the bingo sessions but if those fall through, there would be no way subsidize the various trips, events, and adventures the centre hosts,” she explained. “Eventually we would run out of money. Without the finances from the bingo within a year or two we would have to close down and we don’t want to do that,” she said.

Sunday night bingo runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

“We need callers, people that can work the computer and the till. We need three to four people every Sunday to work the bingo and every Wednesday from noon until 3 p.m.,” Austin said.

Neither players nor volunteers need to be 50-plus.

“They have to be over 19 and we will train them,” Austin said.

There are perks to volunteering during bingo hours, too.

“The ones that work Wednesday will get a free lunch and we do a few other things for the people on Sunday — there’s coffee and tea and snacks and things like that,” Austin noted.

The Centre, located at 55 Coronation St., is a happening place.

Monday nights the choir meets, on Tuesday afternoons bridge is the name of the game. Wednesday is carpet bowling day. On Mondays and Fridays line dancing is on tap, and cribbage and canasta are also Friday favourites.

A pool and snooker tables are always available, along with a host of other games like darts and shuffleboard.

The centre opens at 7 a.m. but most people don’t arrive until about 9 or 10 a.m., Austin said.

Unless there are special events — and there are a lot of special events — the centre closes at 3 p.m.

“People can come in at any time and play pool or do anything they want,” Austin said. Coffee is put out in the morning and lunch — fresh and homemade — is served from 11 a.m. until 1:15 p.m.

A band plays during the lunch hour on Thursdays.

“We have lots going on,” Austin said.

With special events planned through the end of this year and straight through the New Year, there really is something for everybody.

Those looking to join the Golden Agers’ Society can look forward to a modest $15 membership fee and in addition to discounts on event costs, one heck of an additional perk: “We will reimburse you for one ambulance trip per year and a lot of people have picked up on that one,” Austin said, adding a standard ambulance ride costs in the neighbourhood of $80 and that’s not a bill you can opt out of if you really need it.

With a Christmas concert and road trips and winter night get-togethers all upcoming, it’s a great time to meet some new people and perhaps even volunteer.

Many hands make light work.

“We really do a lot of neat things there but we need some fresh faces,” Austin admitted. “If you volunteer to help somewhere you maybe only have to volunteer once a month. It’s not like you have to volunteer every day or anything.”

Call 250–749–6121 or visit http://senior0.wix.com/lake-cowichan-seniors to learn more about the 50 Plus Activity Centre.