Ac­tive old-timers


It is a well-known fact New­found­land and Labrador has an aging pop­u­la­tion. That leaves a lot of older folks look­ing for things to do, and in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, that can be es­pe­cially hard.

Joy Dob­bie of Cavendish felt her com­mu­nity could use more events geared to­wards res­i­dents in the 50-plus age bracket, so she did some­thing about it. One year later, she’s pleased with the re­sults.

“I didn’t think it was go­ing to take off like it did,” she says.

The Cavendish 50-Plus Club was started by Dob­bie in Jan­uary of last year.

“ I wanted to get peo­ple mov­ing,” says Dob­bie. “ There was noth­ing much here for the older gen­er­a­tion at all, ex­cept for Satur­day night cards and darts. We’ve got a lot of ac­tive older peo­ple who would be ac­tive if they had the op­por­tu­nity.”

The group, led by chair Dave Legge, vice-chair Dob­bie, and ac­tiv­ity di­rec­tor Bud Dob­bie ( Joy’s hus­band), or­ga­nizes bowl­ing, off-ice curl­ing, and other ac­tiv­i­ties for its 80-plus mem­bers. It also held a win­ter games event last March.

A meet­ing was held to get the group up and run­ning, which was at­tended by 20 peo­ple. Since then its mem­ber­ship has grown to in­clude peo­ple from neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties such as Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton, White­way, Ho­peall, and Heart’s De­sire. It even has mem­bers from away in On­tario and Florida.

A $4,000 grant from the Depart­ment of Health and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices in­tended for pro­grams pro- mot­ing se­nior well­ness helped get the club started. Lo­cal MHA Char­lene John­son has also of­fered fi­nan­cial sup­port. Other­wise, it re­lies on funds do­nated by its mem­ber­ship through col­lec­tions and fundrais­ers.

“A lot of it is in­di­vid­ual mem­bers’ ex­penses are cov­ered by them­selves,” says Dob­bie, of­fer­ing last year’s trip to Woody Is­land as an ex­am­ple.

Bowl­ing, which started as a once-a-month event, is now held bi- weekly, and there are also plans in the works for in­door golf, a win­ter car­ni­val, a so­cial night in April, a sum­mer games event in June, and fur­ther ac­tiv­i­ties in the sum­mer and fall. The group is also con­sid­er­ing a re­turn trip to Woody Is­land or in­stead trav­el­ling to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

Dob­bie has some ad­vice for oth­ers hop­ing to form such a group — fol­low through on your ideas and make things hap­pen.

“If you’ve got a leader or some­body to start some­thing, you’ll get fol­low­ers. That’s all there is to it. It’s not magic.”

Photo by Shirley Ge­orge

Pearl Bishop, Ag­gie Jack­son, Betty Jack­son, Nel­lie Jack­son and Sheila Jer­rett made up Team Rus­sia at the Cavendish 50-Plus Club’s win­ter games in 2010.

Photo by Shirley Ge­orge

Nina and Jet Jack­son dance the Vir­gina Reel at a club event held last month.

Photo by Shirley Ge­orge

At­ten­dees of a so­cial event held in con­junc­tion with the Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton 50-Plus Club get to know one an­other. Richard Woodrow pro­vided mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment.

Max Bishop, Patsy Bishop, Hazel Legge and Ron Strick­land served as Team USA for the club’s win­ter games last year.

Club mem­bers had a fine time dur­ing last Septem­ber’s trip to Woody Is­land.

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