It has been a year of tremendous growth. Growth both in numbers of members and in the sense of community at the Centre. It is wonderful to see the smiling faces of our volunteers and those coming into the Centre. It truly is becoming a home away from home for many members. The donation campaign mounted in September was very successful, as so many members showed their generosity to others. It was particularly gratifying to see the response to the Affordable Lunch Program, allowing us to keep a check on meal prices. Food security for seniors is such a huge problem that it is beholden upon us to do whatever we can to help. The gifts to the General Revenue Program proved to be invaluable, enabling us to withstand costs for ventilation repairs and upgrades, along with many other infrastructure expenses. There are more ventilation costs to come as we address fresh air intake to the front of the building, but we are well positioned to withstand those costs.

The Bus was underutilised this year, primarily because we only had one driver. This has been remedied as we now have some backup drivers. Also, we have an exciting collaboration with Harmony Hall Seniors Centre in Gibsons. We have agreed upon reciprocal membership whereby a full paid-up member at Harmony Hall can buy an accompanying SSAC membership for half price ($17.50) and a fully paid-up member at SSAC can buy an accompanying Harmony Hall membership for half price ($12.50).

At the beginning of January, we will all be meeting to plan out a series of trips through to the end of March. These will encompass the usual casino and shopping events, but in addition we plan to include cultural events both on the Coast and mainland, with the exciting addition of eco-trips with short guided educational walks into the rain forest of the Sunshine Coast.

During our usual Christmas closure after the Christmas lunch (December 19th to January 1st) we opened on six days for drop-in afternoon sessions in the lunchroom. Although some sessions were sparsely attended, they proved very valuable to those that did come. Christmas is a bad time to be alone. On the last day (December 29th) soup at noon followed by the Echoes Ukulele group, led by Mark Trevis was a tremendous success. Thanks also go to members of the Sechelt Rotary Club who volunteered at the sessions. Special thanks have to go to Rotarian Tanya Hall for her dedication to the events and of course her mother Shirley for preparing her delicious soups. We are especially grateful to Dr. Paul Dhillon of Cowrie Medical Clinic, who sponsored the complimentary treats that were available at the sessions.

In the new year the biggest change will be the introduction of the MySeniorCenter membership system (described in another article here). Not only will it make us more efficient, but we will also be better able to offer the services and welcoming environment you all deserve. I hope your blessings keep multiplying in the coming year.

Richard Ward