Volunteerism and social clubs help build strong communities. In 2019, West Nipissing was at the height of volunteerism with the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo, as over a thousand individuals and local groups pitched in to make it all happen. Then the pandemic hit, people were stuck inside for two years, squashing the ability to build on that momentum and leaving many local clubs and organizations struggling.
Now, most groups are starting to resume their meetings, gatherings, and events, yet with a devastating loss of membership. All are seeking new members and volunteers to rebuild with the same enthusiasm we saw in 2019.
Golden Age Clubs have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. These clubs still had to maintain and pay rent for their buildings or halls, yet were unable to fundraise or receive government emergency funding. Many long-time members have become unable to resume their roles or have passed on. Still, there is movement as clubs slowly begin to emerge again and plan for the community breakfasts, bingos, quilting lessons, coffee and card nights, and other fundraising and social events so important to keeping our elderly active and engaged. They are excited to start meeting again and welcome new members 50 and over, and volunteers of any age.
Field Club d’Age d’Or – 65 rue Jarbeau, contact: Yvette 705-493-1131
The hall is now ready to rent out for social events! They are looking for new members and volunteers. Before the pandemic, Wednesday mornings were full of fun at the delicious weekly community breakfast. They are hoping to resume these weekly breakfasts and would love volunteers to help make that happen!
River Valley Club d’Age d’Or – rue Jacques, contact: Thérèse 705-758-9046
The club has returned! Bingo and weekly dinners are slated to resume in September. The Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises will resume its activities in the fall: meetings in September; a draw for a certificate worth $150 at Don’s Butcher Shop or $100 cash, and a Bingo on October 16. If you would like to join or volunteer, please contact them.
Cache Bay United 50 Seniors Club – 53 Bain Av., contact: Olli 705-753-1143
The club has just resumed meeting and would like to start the Coffee Club, Card Game, and Quilting Class nights with new members and volunteers! A Facebook group is up and running. On September 9-11 is the Quilt-A-Thon (Fri. 9-9, Sat. 9-9 and Sun. 9-4). It includes all-day tea/coffee/water, and provided homemade sandwiches/light lunches and casserole dinners! Please contact Olli to become a member or volunteer.
Verner Club de l’Amitié – 11795 64 Hwy, contact: Marc or Flore 705-594-1142
The hall is now available to rent for social gatherings! Regular activities will resume in September – the monthly dinners, Card Club, and Soup n’ Sandwich Fridays. New members and volunteers are needed, and all are welcome!
Women’s Institute – North Monetville, Monetville Community Centre, contact: Anita 705-898-1489
The club has been volunteering in the community since 1948. They have joyfully resumed meeting on the last Monday of each month at 7pm (except June, July, and December). They just held the annual community yard sale and are looking forward to the annual Harvest Dinner. Their ROSE program (Rural Ontario Sharing Education) will resume with guest speakers on a variety of interesting topics and are happy to welcome visitors and new members!
Lavigne Centre Social et Culturel – Centre Communautaire de Lavigne Community Centre, contact: Michel 705-507-2519
The Lavigne Centre Social et culturel is now in the community centre. Please check their Facebook page @CentreCommunautairedeLavigneCommunityCentre.