ABOUT US - HOW WE STARTED
January 2011 ... Archwood 55 Plus Comes to Life
Seven members of a former seniors organization in the area, met to discuss the possibility of forming a new organization. Our aim was to form a group that would be run by seniors for seniors. The first order of business was finding a facility that could offer a place for seniors to exercise, socialize, attend monthly lunches, teas, presentations and other activities with their peers. A proposal was prepared to be presented to the Board of Archwood Community Centre asking their approval to use the facility during the day. Ongoing discussions and meetings continued with the group over the next few weeks.
February 2011 ... Let's Get Going
Our proposal was presented and approved by the Archwood Community Centre executive giving our group permission to use the Centre during the day. We held our first official meeting and all present (7) were appointed to positions on the Interim Board of Directors. The Interim Board unanimously agreed that the name should be ARCHWOOD 55 PLUS and that the annual membership fee would be $20.00. All the officers immediately paid their membership dues giving us a start up amount of $140.00 ! During this initial meeting the group agreed that March 21, 2011 would be our first Annual Open House to be held at Archwood Community Centre, 565 Guilbault Street.
Membership starts with 7
March / April / May 2011 ... Moving On
Our first Annual Open House was held at Archwood Community Club. Our Interim Board contacted friends and acquaintances in the area asking them to spread the word that we had formed the group and were having our first event. Close to 100 people attended our very successful Open House. We explained that our aim was to give senors a safe, healthy, friendly place to meet and all in attendance were asked to provide input as to the type of activities and classes they would be interested in us offering. Our next order of business was to register Archwood 55 Plus as a not-for-profit organization. Archwood 55 Plus started advertising in the Growing Older section of the Winnipeg Free Press. Soon after, we also started advertising in the Senior Scope newspaper. We have continued to advertise in these two papers ever since.
In April, the President and Vice President attended the Companies Branch to file the Articles of Incorporation to register our group as a not-for-profit organization called ARCHWOOD 55 PLUS INC.
An Easter bonnet contest was featured at our monthly luncheon with three prizes awarded for best decorated hats. A number of members requested that a cycling group be formed and the first cycling meeting was held at Archwood Community Centre.
May saw the commencement of our exercise classes with qualified instructors as well as the start of a wise women’s circle. Our monthly luncheon, a Mother’s Day celebration, was well attended. A Mature Driver Workshop was offered through Safety Services Manitoba in Partnership with MPI.
Membership blossoms to 94
June / July / August 2011 ... Archwood 55 Heats Up
In early June we finally received the Certificate of Incorporation from the Companies Branch. At the request of members we ran a bus trip to the South Beach Casino where we enjoyed a great buffet and some of us returned home slightly richer than when we left. Our Father's Day barbeque was held at Archwood Community Centre and we held a loudest shirt competition for the men where three prizes were given out.
July kicked off with a Canada Day Celebration at the President’s home as we didn’t have adequate funds to reserve a spot at St. Vital Park. Our local MP provided flags and pins for the event and Archwood 55 Plus supplied the hot dogs. Approximately 50 people attended and brought along some additional BBQ fare for their fellow members to relish eating. Towards the end of July a bus trip was organized to Neepawa for the Lily festival. The bus was filled to capacity and an excellent day was had by all.
In August members travelled to Kenora to enjoy an afternoon boat cruise around Lake-of-the-Woods. Another excellent day and the scenery was wonderful. Acquaintances who got on the bus soon became friends. Again our bus was full to capacity. In fact, we had a waiting list in case someone decided to give up their seat.
Membership sails into triple digits at 124
September / October / November 2011 ... Onward and Upward
Registration was held for our fall classes to run from September to December. A full complement of fitness classes (Pole Walking, Yoga, Strength & Balance, Zumba, Cardio-Strengthening, Beginner Line Dancing) as well as Painting & Drawing were offered. Also at the beginning of September our members went on a bus trip to Manitou to experience the Honey, Garlic, and Maple Syrup Festival and we held a Fall Barbeque at Archwood Community Club. We also held our first fundraiser “Arts from the Heart Sale and Show”. This event included the sale of arts, crafts, and baking along with a silent auction. Refreshments were offered to all in attendance. This event provided the opportunity for our talented members to display the wonderful work that they had completed in the art classes that they had participated in. A local community newspaper, The LANCE, sent a reporter to cover the event, and the following week a full page article appeared in this newspaper.
Our first Meet & Greet was held in October to attract new members. Another full bus load of adventurous members headed to St Joseph’s fall supper which featured roast beef and tourtière plus a large selection of pies for dessert including the traditional sugar pie and the unique bean pie! For those who like shopping for bargains across the border, a bus trip to Grand Forks was arranged.
A Remembrance Day lunch was held at Archwood where we held a short service to remember the fallen. Although we could not find anyone to play the Last Post, we were able to borrow a CD from the Legion that included the last post, etc. Again this event was well attended. The highlight of November was our International Day pot luck luncheon. Our membership is multicultural and very proud of their ancestry and it was wonderful that so many brought their favourite dishes from their culture to share. As with all our luncheons there was excellent food and plenty of it. A number of our members dressed in their national dress so it turned into a very colourful and festive event.
Membership soars to 191
December 2011 ... Food, Fun & Friendship
A bus trip was organized to Portage la Prairie for a buffet supper at Altos followed by a tour of the Christmas Light show at Island Park. En-route home the bus drove through Red River Exhibition Park for the passengers to view more light displays at Canad Inns Winter Wonderland. Our first annual Christmas party and lunch for members took place at Archwood Community Centre. The Board members went to the hall the night before to decorate and set the tables. One hundred and five members attended and enjoyed the catered meal, friendship, and entertainment. Each member was given a small gift from Santa.
. . . and we continue to grow with our current membership standing around 240