Seniors Drop In Centre looks to a year of change

New president, expansion of Ayre Manor and attracting members tops issues at AGM

The annual general meeting of the Seniors Drop In Centre brought a slew of changes to the organization, shining a new light into its future.

The most notable changes are to its leading personnel, as well as the addition of two more desperately-needed positions.

Following a long eight-year term as president, Carol Pinalski passed her role onto Jane Maude, with Pinalski filling in as treasurer.

Another long-time member of the Seniors Drop In Centre, Irene Healey, is the new vice-president, while David Bennett, remains as secretary.

Maude is certainly fit for her position to push the initiative forward. A Sooke resident for 30 years, she worked as a nurse, then later as an administrator for the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Filling in positions was only half of the AGM however, as plans for expansion at Ayre Manor as well as attracting new members also made the top of the agenda.

But a large part of the organization’s future success will rest on prioritizing its needs and communicating more with the local community, something Maude says is the main focus at this point.

“I asked all the members, go home and think about what it is that you’re missing. What did you have in that stand-alone building that we don’t have now? We have to draw the clients in and have to be much more open to the people in the community,” she said.

The biggest issue right now is attracting new members, which is difficult, because the ground floor of the Sooke Community Hall is still limited. This, in turn, limits the amount of programs the organization can run.

Maude said that can still change, even if it takes switching the times when the Seniors Drop In Centre meets per week, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as this could potentially open up the upstairs area, with it opening up new opportunities as well as clearing up what people expect from the organization.

“The kitchen and bingo area seems to be important to some people, but then again, that’s just a group of people … are other people not interested in bingo and just not coming? That’s what we need to know,” she said.

Significant optimism goes towards a proposed project at Ayre Manor that would help the Seniors Drop In Centre by a large margin, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Thing is, Sooke’s senior population isn’t going to decrease either, a concern Maude is looking to address well ahead of time.

“Our population is not going to stop aging. There will be more and more of us [seniors]. People are going to want more and more,” she said.

“We’re not as nice a generation as our parents were, we demand more, we expect more.”