Pioneer Circle

ELK POINT SENIOR CITIZENS DROP-IN-CENTRE

by (Mrs.) Anne Kates

It was early in 1973 that the writer was invited to attend a meeting called by the members of the local P.5.5. Board. Also present were members of the regional office of P.S S., as well as people representing government. The purpose of the meeting was to determine whether there were enough senior citizens in the district interested in organizing a Drop-in Centre. My husband and I were interested, and were invited to a meeting in the United Church, when several more seniors were asked to get involved in helping establish such a centre.

On March 27, 1973, ten of us motored to St. Paul and then to Two Hills to look at their established drop-in centres. We were very well received. We met people who praised these organizations, and they told us they were very happy to be part of their group.

We came away very enthusiastic to try to organize such a centre in our town. Our biggest obstacle at that time was that there was not a vacant building we could use to hold our meetings. Town council heard of our plight and they invited us to hold our meetings in the library. This we did. On April 3, 1973, with about twenty-two people present, we elected our first executive. The following were elected: Bill Bartling, president; Lawrence Garneau, vice-president; (Mrs.) Anne Kates, secretary-treasurer.

It was decided to canvass for memberships at a charge of $2.00 a member a year. In no time, we had 159 paid-up members. We met in the library again. Because we couldn't continue on this basis, we were invited by the Lions Club to hold our gatherings in the Legion Hall, which they were leasing. At a meeting on May 8 the name of "Pioneer Circle" was chosen for or organization.

On June 27, 1973, we opened our centre for a weekly social gathering - to enjoy cards, bingo, and a light lunch at the end of the aftemoon. The centre is now open every day from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

We contacted New Horizons and were informed that we could obtain funds for renovating any building we could find to use as a drop-in centre. It was thought that the Legion Hall would be ideal because it was centrally located and could be enlarged. The ex-service men were contacted and they were very much in favor of turning over the building for this purpose. They contacted the Alberta Command, and in the spring of 1975, the building was turned over to the senior citizens of Elk Point.

In May, 1975, the renovation was started, and completed in the fall. The centre was officially opened on October 20, 1976. It is a fine building, 90 x 30 feet, frame, stuccoed, and trimmed with colored rock. The senior citizens did most of the interior finishing, such as wall panelling, painting, laying of floor covering, and many, many tasks too numerous to mention.

This was all accomplished through the help of New Horizons, PSS of Alberta, town of Elk Point. Also Pioneer Circle employed many fund raising methods to help with the cost. Through private, business and organizational help, we received well over $3,000 towards the building fund.

Our centre is very well equipped with a kitchen area, living room section, and many recreational facilities, such as pool, shuffleboard, table tennis, bingo, etc. There are crafts done, such as ceramics, quilting, etc. Bingo and cards are enjoyed also. The present paid-up membership is at the 200 mark.

Elk Point Pioneer Circle Drop-in Centre, 1977.

We are very proud of the close fellowship that persists among us. We are a mixed ethnic lot, yet we function as one happy family.

Our present executive is as follows: Arthur Miller, president; Lawrence Garneau, vice-president; Annie Habiak, second vice-president; Anne Kates, secretary; Nellie Merrick, Pioneer Circle treasurer; Hazel Hannah, New Horizons treasurer.

Our objective in belonging to a senior citizens group is to identify with people of our own age. We have always been ready to help where we could in any avenue of need, such as belonging to the Elk Point Historical Society, and helping in that capacity. We are involved in further education, home nursing care, a nursing home for Elk Point. We stand ready to help in any way we can.

As one person who has worked very closely with elderly people, I am very pleased to see so many seniors actively involved in doing as much as possible to keep such a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere in our centre, thus making the sunset of their lives very meaningful. My fervent hope for the future is that this atmosphere will persist.