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