January saw the introduction of the MySeniorCenter (MSC) system. Thank you to all who took the time to complete and return their personal information form. A dedicated team of volunteers then entered and corrected your data collected from our old membership management software. On Jan 17th the MSC company support team imported our data into our new system. That allowed us to go live with the MSC kiosk and scanner on Monday January 22nd. By now you will be aware of why we moved from a membership card to the key tag. A quick scan brings you up on the system offering a plethora of options. As the months move by, we will be making use of more of the copious number of abilities of the system. The aim is to bring the wallet system on-line around mid-March. You will then be able to deposit funds into your wallet and pay from it as you check into your activity or make some purchases. Some of the after-hours activities such as Pickleball present extra issues such as rear door entry, so there will be a delay in full implementation of the system for them. Pickleball will eventually be a wallet only activity, but for now will continue with activity cards/cash payments and registration for Pickleball through SSACSign.

All members are encouraged to come in and get their key tags, to continue being able to sign into activities and events. This is particularly important for the Pickleballers and other after-hours activities.

We have 3 paid employees and a contracted janitor. Other than that, everything we do or achieve at the Centre is because of the efforts of volunteers. Since becoming President last March, I have been impressed by the dedication and diligence of all our volunteers. But the process of bringing in the MSC has left me in awe at the degree of devotion of those bringing it to life for us. The introduction of the MSC system was only possible because of an incredible effort by the transition team. Treasurer Alison Kowalewski put together the team and organized the transition process. We were very fortunate that the amazing May Jim stepped forward as Project Manager. To say that she has been working night and day on this since November is no exaggeration. Under her guidance more than 20 volunteers needed to be trained for greeter and desk positions implementing the MSC program. Under May’s guidance, Chris Twaits and Pam Demers conducted numerous training sessions to ensure that all the volunteers would be comfortable using the system when we went live on January 22nd. Largely unseen is the software and computer support for the transition that was provided by Chris Hadaway. Again, another SSAC member spending endless hours, which, in his case, ensuring that all aspects of computer support were taken care of in the transition process.

As to the cost of the MSC system, we were able to pay for it without depleting the general revenue account. The source of funds was through our BINGO activity held during the past year. Under the BC Gaming regulations, we had to create a separate BINGO gaming account. This account, which contained just over $10,000, could then be used to donate to the Centre to cover the approximately $10,000 cost to purchase the new MSC system.

You need your key tag with you to check-in. However, some members have complained that they don’t have a key ring for their tags or that the tags are too small. We are ordering some SSAC lanyards to wear from your neck that some of you might like to use to easily keep track of the key tag and/or your keys. However, you can also use your cell phone to check in! Take a photo of your key tag on your phone. When you enter, have the photo displayed on the phone, place it in front of the scanner and you are in.

Hopefully, as we introduce the MSC system it will simplify your access and use of the Centre. Despite these changes, we remain committed to keeping “your home away from home” as welcoming as always.

We have also made a change in the way that kitchen and office volunteers are being coordinated, bringing them together into the same process. For many years the kitchen volunteers were coordinated by the incredible Sally Watson and Toni Bolton. At times a thankless task, taking hours of emailing and phoning to ensure that all the prepper, dishwasher and server shifts are filled each day. We owe them a tremendous thank you for their efforts as they have shown how diligent and tenacious our volunteers can be. Sally and Toni are getting a well-deserved rest from the coordination, and they wanted it known how much they love their volunteers and appreciate their devotion to our meal service over the years. As we move to the new coordination process which combines both office and kitchen volunteers, we hope to live up to the standard that they have set.

We have undergone a lot of change in the past months. However, hopefully, you have not seen a change in the joy and comfort level in the Centre.

Richard Ward