Sand­pipers Sur­vey

Wiarton Echo - - FRONT PAGE - ZOE KESSLER Edi­tor

The sur­vey went out and the re­sults are in: mem­bers of the Sauble Sand­pipers like soup. A lot.

“Soup’s On,” open to mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike, was by far and away the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity hosted by the Sauble Sand­pipers a re­cent sur­vey showed.

The sur­vey was con­ducted ear­lier this year by Jer­rie Traynor, of Traynor Home­stead En­ter­prises, who shared the re­sults with the Sand­pipers mem­ber­ship at a meet­ing at the Sauble Beach Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Nov. 23. Traynor was con­tracted by the Sand­pipers to help de­velop a plan to im­ple­ment new pro­grams and train vol­un­teer lead­ers to en­sure the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sus­tain­abil­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Sand­pipers’ web­site.

Traynor, a cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sional con­sul­tant on ag­ing, was hired on a con­tract ba­sis with about $9,600 in fund­ing from the On­tario Se­niors Com­mu­nity Grant Pro­gram, Judy Nafziger, Pres­i­dent of the Sauble Sand­pipers, said in an in­ter­view.

“We want to make sure our Sand­pipers are looked af­ter, and in­ter­est oth­ers in be­com­ing Sand­pipers,” she said.

“We’re look­ing at mov­ing for­ward in the next year; how we can im­prove what we do for our se­nior mem­bers and how we can do bet­ter for the com­mu­nity.”

Nafziger said Traynor’s work will pro­vide a guide­line or roadmap to move for­ward.

In ad­di­tion to the mem­ber­ship sur­vey, Traynor has con­tracted a Ge­or­gian Col­lege place­ment stu­dent to cre­ate a directory of ac­tiv­i­ties that ex­ist for se­niors in South Bruce Penin­sula.

Of a pos­si­ble 246 re­spon­dents, 145 sur­veys were com­pleted via Sur­vey Mon­key (an on­line plat­form), by tele­phone or mailed in. Many mem­bers who had a part­ner com­pleted one sur­vey be­tween them, Traynor said.

“We re­ceived an over­whelm­ing re­sponse. We were well above the av­er­age to say the least,” she said.

“Usu­ally you can get about maybe 20 per cent; we got 59 per cent,” Traynor said in an in­ter­view.

Over­all, 123 re­spon­dents said the Sand­pipers were meet­ing their needs.

“So that’s quite a high num­ber for sure,” Traynor said.

“There’s a real com­mu­nity here in it­self. Ac­tu­ally, the Sand­pipers is a fam­ily,” she said. “They care about what goes on.”

Traynor has worked with se­niors groups for about 35 years.

“I’m so im­pressed with this group. The amount of work that they do for such a small com­mu­nity and the num­ber of mem­bers they have in such a small com­mu­nity is fan­tas­tic,” she said. “It’s very im­pres­sive and prob­a­bly some­thing other groups can learn from as well.”

Traynor has of­fered to con­tinue with the Sand­pipers as a vol­un­teer af­ter her con­tract is up around the end of De­cem­ber, she said.

Next steps in­clude look­ing at de­vel­op­ing se­niors’ fo­rums and in­for­ma­tion ses­sions, look­ing at the or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture and de­vel­op­ing job de­scrip­tions.

The sur­vey asked about pre­ferred Sand­piper ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams, what new ones the mem­bers would like to see and in­for­ma­tion about volunteerism.

A slight ma­jor­ity of Sand­pipers mem­bers fall into the 65-70 age bracket, the sur­vey found. Usu­ally, the high­est per­cent­age of mem­bers in se­niors or­ga­ni­za­tions falls in the 70-75 year-old age bracket, Traynor said.

When asked to choose from a list of pro­grams or ac­tiv­i­ties the mem­bers would like to see of­fered or ex­panded, day trips topped the list with a whop­ping 75 re­spon­dents choos­ing this ac­tiv­ity. Half-day trips came in sec­ond, with 52 re­spon­dents.

Hear­ing this re­sult, a lively dis­cus­sion was held amongst the mem­bers about des­ti­na­tions, the cost of bussing ser­vices, and lo­cal op­tions avail­able for pos­si­ble out­ings.

Trips to Owen Sound to the theatre and shop­ping were two ideas.

Traynor said putting to­gether a bus trip com­mit­tee and sur­vey­ing the mem­bers to get ideas about where they’d like to travel would be a good first step. Con­nect­ing with the se­niors group in Owen Sound to learn from their ex­pe­ri­ences with bus trips - and pos­si­bly to join forces for ex­panded pro­gram­ming was also sug­gested by Traynor, who has worked with the Owen Sound se­niors group in the past.

One sur­pris­ing re­sult, Traynor said, was most peo­ple at­tend ac­tiv­i­ties in the spring and fall rather than in sum­mer.

Of the sur­vey re­spon­dents, 63 (or about 48 per cent) said they vol­un­teered for the Sand­pipers, most for 5-10 years. Many vol­un­teers had no one to back them up should they need to take time off from vol­un­teer­ing. Sev­en­teen sur­vey re­spon­dents said they vol­un­teered be­cause there was no one else to do it.

Of the club’s new­est vol­un­teers, al­most twice as many said they didn’t look for­ward to their vol­un­teer work as those who did look for­ward to it.

The mem­bers talked about the im­por­tance of at­tract­ing more vol­un­teers and sup­port­ing the ones they have.

Of those who are not cur­rently vol­un­teer­ing with the Sand­pipers, half said they had never been asked to do so. About half of those said they were - or might be - in­ter­ested.

“Un­for­tu­nately, not ev­ery­body left their name,” Traynor said.

A sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents (74) used email to get in­for­ma­tion about the Sand­pipers, with 22 re­spon­dents say­ing they got their Sand­piper news from bul­letin boards (12) or other mem­bers (10).

Ad­di­tional com­ments of­fered were over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive.

Chal­lenges in­cluded hear­ing and mo­bil­ity is­sues, which cur­tailed the par­tic­i­pa­tion of two mem­bers, and com­ments that the group could be “cliquey.”

“Ev­ery­body has to make a big­ger ef­fort to wel­come peo­ple,” Traynor said.

Sand­pipers ex­ec­u­tive have ap­proved the cre­ation of a new brochure and mem­ber­ship man­ual, are look­ing into re­vis­ing the web­site and plan to cre­ate new pro­grams if lead­ers and vol­un­teers are avail­able.

“We’ve got a great lease for this com­mu­nity cen­tre,” Nafziger said. “Fill­ing all of the time we re­al­ized is not re­al­is­tic be­cause we need to make sure the pro­grams that we have...are healthy and run­ning well and led by peo­ple who want to be there want to lead the pro­grams.”

An over­view of the sur­vey re­sults will ap­pear in the Sand­pipers’ news­let­ter.

ZOE KESSLER/WIAR­TON ECHO

Jer­rie Traynor, of Traynor Home­stead En­ter­prises, pre­sented the re­sults of a sur­vey of mem­bers of the Sauble Beach and Wiar­ton Sand­pipers at a mem­ber­ship meet­ing at the Sauble Beach Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, Nov. 23.

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