GWSA 2020-21 Annual Report

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Board Overview

On behalf of the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association, we present the 2021 Annual Report.

This report describes a year unlike any other as the GWSA works to modify our programs to

remain relevant in the midst of a global pandemic.

The Board of Directors would like to express our gratitude for the support we receive from the

donors listed in this report. In the past year, the United Way and the City of Guelph have

provided generous support to our hard-working Community Support Services Team which

allowed them to provide frozen meals and produce box deliveries to Guelph’s most vulnerable

seniors. The City of Guelph has waived fees we usually pay for our use of the Evergreen. This is

a substantial cost savings reflected in the budget. Finally, anonymous community members have

made generous contributions to support the food delivery program.

The Board would also like to extend our appreciation to the many volunteers that serve on

GWSA Committees and as Activity Group Leaders. These individuals have continued to offer

outstanding programming for our members. Although we could not meet in-person over the last

year, many of our members and leaders were actively working online and behind the scenes. A

few of their many accomplishments include:

The COVID Response Team, Email Update Editor and Webmaster partnered to provide

GWSA Email Updates sharing information about government programs and local

initiatives to keep members safe and entertained as they sheltered in place.

The quilting group revved up their sewing machines to hold two successful sidewalk

sales of reusable cloth masks.

Several activity group leaders converted their activities to virtual formats. They have

started making plans to safely return to in-person meetings as soon as public health

guidance allows it.

The web team, with the able assistance of a young professional volunteer, rolled out a

new website which we update frequently.

The volunteers at The Sentinel continued to produce monthly newsletters online as well

as the annual report you are reading.



The Board began work on a new strategic plan.

Several Directors, with the assistance of Ann Sneyd and Doreen Muir, submitted a

successful proposal to the New Horizons for Seniors Program which will fund ukuleles

for the Silver Strummers as well as a studio and technician to help the GWSA offer

virtual content to our members.

The GWSA Board of Directors remains committed to the GWSA vision of a future that is

inclusive, progressive and innovative in offering opportunities for the older adults in Guelph.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to offer new challenges, but this report celebrates the

accomplishments of our resilient staff and our creative volunteers.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS ..………………………………………………………………. 4

GWSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS ..…………………………………………………….. 5

CITY OF GUELPH STAFF ..……………………………………………………………. 7

ORGANIZATION CHART AND STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS ..…………... 8

SECTION OVERVIEW ……………………………………………………………………….. 9

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT ………………………………………………………….. 9

HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE REPORT ……………………………………………….... 9

FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT …………………………………………………………….. 10

TREASURER’S REPORT ……………………………………………………………….……. 11

FROZEN MEAL DELIVERY PROGRAM ……………………………………………………… 11

CHARTS FOR INCOME AND EXPENSES …………………………………………..…………. 12

GWSA BUDGET 2021-2022 ($) ……………………………………………………………. 13

GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE REPORT ……………………………………………………….. 14

PROGRAM COMMITTEE REPORT …………………………………………………………… 15

COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES REPORT ………………………………………………… 16

MEMBERSHIP & MARKETING COMMITTEE REPORT ………………..……………………... 16

VOLUNTEER ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT …….……………………..……………….. 17

SUCCESSION PLANNING & NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT ………………..…………. 18

THE SENTINEL REPORT …………………………………………………………………….. 19

THE WEB TEAM REPORT ………………….…….………………………………………….. 20

ACTIVITY GROUP REPORTS ………………………………………………………….. 21

WATERCOLOURS GROUP REPORT ………………………………..……………………….... 21

INTO FOCUS PHOTOGRAPHY REPORT ………………………………….…………………… 21

SILVERTONES CHOIR REPORT ……………………………………………….……………… 22

SILVER STRUMMERS REPORT ………..……………………………………………………... 23

ART STUDIO IN 2 REPORT …………………..………………………………………………. 24

BOOK CLUB 1 REPORT ……………………………………………………………………… 24

VARIETY SHOW REPORT ………………………………………………………………….... 25

CRIBBAGE REPORT …………………………………………………………………………. 25

LINE DANCING REPORT ……………………………………………………………………. 25

TABLE TENNIS REPORT …………………………………………………………..………… 25

SCRABBLE REPORT …………………………………..……………………………………. 26

QUILTING GROUP REPORT …………………………..…………………………………….. 27

CITY OF GUELPH SENIOR SERVICES REPORT .…………….……………………………….. 28

THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS ………………………………………………………..… 29

DONORS AND SUPPORTERS .…………………………….…………………………… 30

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GWSA 2020-2021 Board of Directors

Becky Fiedler has served as GWSA President and as a member of the Governance Committee.

She is active with the Monday afternoon quilters and occasionally provides Computer Mentoring

for members who use Apple products. She is a sometimes-techie who helps out where she can at

the Evergreen Centre. Becky was elected to the Board in May 2019.

Ken Fugler has been an active member of GWSA for several years. He was elected as President

of the Evergreen Canoe Club at its inception in 2009 and, more recently, joined the Membership

and Marketing Committee. He is a Graduate of Ryerson in Aeronautical Engineering and was an

Officer in the RCAF military. His career was in project management and sales of custom

manufactured machinery, where he gained experience dealing with complicated legal quote

requests and purchases. Ken was elected to a two-year term on the Board in May 2019.

Pat Gage came to the Board with a background in administration and human resources. She

worked at Trent University for over 20 years and at Gage Health Systems, and you know her best

for her time at the Evergreen Seniors Community Centre as the administrative assistant for

Community Support Services for the past 12 years.

She sat on the board for the Guelph Curling Club, Treasurer for the board of the Volunteer

Association of Guelph General Hospital, and presently is on the board for her Condo

Association.

She is also a crafter, she belongs to the Royal City Quilt Guild and the GWSA Quilt Group.

She is a knitter, patient photographer, and enjoys her little garden.

She is presently the chair of the Program Committee, knows most of the activity group leaders,

and looks forward to working with them to regain a “new normal” at the Evergreen Seniors

Community Centre when our isolation is slowly lifted.

Athar Noman Khan has 40 years of experience in managing commercial and manufacturing

operations in the pharmaceutical industry. He moved to Guelph in 2014 from Mississauga.

Athar fell in love with the city and decided to give time to the community after retiring in 2017.

In July 2017, he joined GWSA and became a member of the Volunteer Advisory Committee. In

June 2018, he was elected to serve on the GWSA Board for a three-year term. In July 2018, he

also took on the role of Co-Chair of the Program Committee until the end of 2019. He also

serves on the Executive Committee. His aspirations for GWSA in the coming years are to

expand the organization and bring more of the seniors living on the fringes to enjoy and be

happy in retirement.

Wenda King was an Administrative Manager for quite a number of years, and she earned her

Fellowship of Life Management while still working. After she retired, she helped set up offices

in Guelph for two Incorporated advisors; and has continued to handle the accounting for them.

She volunteered as a Brownie leader when her daughter was in public school. She was a

member of the La Sertoma Club in Kitchener for 25 years, and held a number of offices also.

She volunteered with the Guelph General Hospital for 24 years. Upon retiring after 8 years, she

became a buyer for the Hospital Boutique, which she has been doing for 9 years. She assisted on

Fridays at Gateway School with the breakfast club for 4 years when her grandsons were

attending that school. She is a member of Knox Presbyterian Church, held the position of

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Human Resources Convenor for 6 years, and was on session for the same amount of time. She is

now a member/trustee of the Endowment Committee and has been for 4 years. She thoroughly

enjoys her volunteering work in the community.

Ross Knechtel is active with the Computer Club as President, Computer Mentoring, the Into

Focus Photography Club, the Silvertones Choir, the Membership & Marketing Committee, and

the Program Committee. He is the current GWSA Webmaster. Ross is looking forward to a

supportive role with the Board, providing technical support for the Board itself, the programs,

committees, and events that the Board delivers, as well as providing mental health support. Ross

was elected to the GWSA Board of Directors in 2017 and he resigned in March of 2019 in order

to go public about the controversial “secret meeting” regarding the future of GWSA Community

Support Services. He was re-elected at the Special Members Meeting held on May 13, 2019, to

serve the balance of a three-year term.

Tonie MacInnis is Recreation Program Co-ordinator – Seniors and Recreation Services –

Culture and Recreation. She has worked in various roles within the Corporation of the City of

Guelph over the past seven years, but recently, all of her attention has been put into developing

new and exciting recreational programs for the senior community. Most recently, Tonie was

appointed co-secretary for the GWSA and looks forward to working alongside all GWSA

members to support their initiatives and goals.

Adam Rutherford is the City of Guelph’s Program Manager of Programming and Community

Development. For more than 20 years, Adam has been working with, advocating for, and

developing programs in partnership with community members of all ages. Adam’s work has

focused on engagement, innovative program development, and the needs of marginalized and

underserved populations. Middle-aged skateboarder, lover of film and music, big thinker that

prefers intimate environments, and always on the run. If his door’s open, come say hi!

Brian Smith was elected in 2019 to a two-year term with the GWSA, currently serving as

GWSA Vice-President, chair of the Governance Committee, and member of the GWSA web

team. He brings diverse experience from a career in education. As principal at several schools,

Brian served on many committees, was a founding member of the local Ontario Principals’

Council, and achieved a Master of Education, and Supervisory Officer qualifications from the

Ministry of Education. Brian is also active on the Board of Directors for Shelldale Family

Gateway, which supports a diverse community, including many of Guelph’s most vulnerable

children, youth, and adults.

Roger Stevens is a volunteer for the CSS Outreach program, along with his wife Kathy. He is

also a member of the Canoe Club. He previously has served as Treasurer for the Canadian

Speedway Racing Association. Roger was elected to the Board in May 2019 and is serving on

the GWSA Board as Treasurer.

Mike Woof came to Guelph in 1975 with a 33-year background in engineering, which included

Product Design and Project Management, along with Product Training and Marketing. He has

been a member of the GWSA for 13 years but was only able to get more involved a few years

ago after retirement, working on the annual Variety Show. You have probably seen him working

on our new sound system console, which he designed and built. Mike was elected to the Board

in May 2019.

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City of Guelph Staff

The GWSA appreciates the support and diligence of City Staff who work directly with us.

Danna Evans

Lynne Briggs

Adam Rutherford

Becky MacDonald

Jocelynn Desroches

Tonie MacInnis

TBD

Don Harris

General Manager of Culture and Recreation

Manager of Recreation Services

Manager of Senior Services: Board Member,

Executive, Advocacy, Governance, Finance,

Community Support Services Advisory Committees

Recreation Co-ordinator – Volunteers

Chef

Recreation Program Co-ordinator – Seniors Recreation

Services - Culture and Recreation

Customer Service Clerk: Membership & Marketing

Committee

Facility Cleaner – assisting with room set-ups, cleaning

and maintaining of GWSA physical assets

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Organization Chart and Standing Committee Reports

______________________________________________________

BOARD OF

DIRECTORS

Executive

Committee *

Human

Resources

Committee

Finance

Committee **

Governance

Committee

Food Services

Advisory

Committee

Volunteer

Advisory

Committee

Program

Committee

Travel

Committee

Membership and

Marketing

Committee ***

Community

Support Services

Succession

Planning &

Nominating

Committee

* Asset Co-ordinator,

IT Co-ordinator, and

Accessibility Co-ordinator

Report to Executive

GWSA Services

** Financial Advisory Administrator

reports to Treasurer/President

Committee

*** Webmaster reports to

M&M

Variety Show

Dances

The & Marketing

Committee

The

Sentinel

Special

Events

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Section Overview

An Annual Report presents the accomplishments and results of the previous year. Because all of

us have been operating under a global pandemic, much has been put on hold as Seniors were told

to avoid non-essential interactions with others. Several GWSA Committees suspended

operations. The others share a summary of activities and efforts for the recent year.

Executive Committee Report

Committee Members: Becky Fiedler (Chair), Brian Smith, Roger Stevens, Athar Khan, Adam

Rutherford, and Tonie MacInnis.

The purpose of the GWSA Executive Committee is to handle matters referred to it by the full

Board. In mid-March 2020, and consistent with the GWSA Business Continuity and Pandemic

Plan, the Executive Committee identified a COVID Response Team to allow for quick response

to the emergency as needed. The Response Team included the majority of the members of the

Executive Committee along with the CSS Manager. Since that time, the COVID Response Team

has regularly reported to the full Board about their efforts working with City Staff, the GWSA

webmaster, Email Update Editor, and the chairs of the Program Committee and Membership and

Marketing Committee to provide timely responses to matters that arise and to communicate with

GWSA members and friends.

Human Resources Committee Report

Committee members: Becky Fiedler, Roger Stevens, Cem Kaner (through Sept 2020), Cheri

Herdman (through December 2020), Emma Whittaker (beginning January 2021), and Adam

Rutherford.

The Human Resources Management Committee is responsible for administering policies,

procedures, legal and legislative requirements relating to its role as an employer. During the past

year, the Committee:

Accepted Cheri Herdman’s resignation as Community Support Services Manager;

Hired Emma Whittaker as the new CSS Manager;



Extended contracts for CSS staff and the financial administrator; and

Drafted a position description for a new Studio Technician funded by the New Horizons

Seniors Program effective April 1.

We were saddened that Sophia Podrozny, a valued CSS staff member, passed away November

12, 2020, at the age of 59. Molly Roberts has assumed Sophia’s duties in the Eat Well program.

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Finance Committee Report

Roger Stevens (Treasurer), Ann Marie Desiderio, Ruth Slavin (Secretary), Wendi Hake, Randy

Taylor, Earlby Wakefield, Joe Freamo

The Finance Committee was established to advise and assist the GWSA Board and the Treasurer

in the development and monitoring of:

● Financial Policies and Procedures of the GWSA

● Financial Operations of all Activities and Services of the GWSA

The Finance Committee met at 1:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of several months throughout the

year; it was not accomplished monthly because of the ongoing pandemic and the lack of

meaningful activities. What meetings we had over Zoom were to discuss Financial Statements

and any other item that needed to be resolved.

In March, the Committee reviewed the 2021/2022 budget and forwarded recommendations to the

Board.

The final Board-approved budget is included in the Annual Report.

The annual budget is a critical tool for the Treasurer and Finance Committee to judge if the

Association is staying on course, ensuring financial health. GWSA’s 40+ activity groups played

a large part in preparing the overall GWSA budget.

Each activity group normally submits their requirements for the coming year, but it was deemed

that, as nothing had happened for one entire fiscal year, the budget would just be resubmitted

from the previous year with minor changes.

The Committee is also responsible for reviewing investment strategies to assist in mitigating risk

of GWSA’s funds. The Committee forwards their findings to the Board for approval.

If you have experience in non-profit organizations and are interested in working on the Finance

Committee, please fill out a Committee Volunteer form indicating your availability.

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Treasurer’s Report

Another difficult year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 destroyed just about all our plans for the year.

We can only hope for better times ahead.

Financially, we are in good shape at the end of the 2020-2021 financial year, mainly because of

the City of Guelph not charging for all lease costs and disbursements for the entire year, and for

that, I hope you will be joining me in a huge THANK YOU to the City.

Our investments are still in good shape and we are looking to invest more in this coming year.

I look forward to the coming financial year in the hope we can all bring our vaccinated selves

back to the Evergreen to enjoy what the GWSA has to offer.

I extend my thanks to our Financial Administrator throughout the year.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Frozen Meal Delivery Program

The Evergreen Seniors Community Centre and the GWSA’s Community Support Services staff,

saw a need to provide meals to vulnerable people in Guelph and Wellington County early in the

pandemic.

The meal program started as a temporary program, utilizing existing food supplies at the Centre,

but soon grew to assist other organizations, including neighbourhood groups, emergency

shelters, and the Guelph-Wellington COVID-19 Isolation Shelter Program. Initially, the program

provided 300 meals a week, with this number reaching 900 meals per week by summer 2020.

To date, the Evergreen Restaurant has prepared over 30,000 meals since the start of the

pandemic, distributed with the help of CSS, The SEED program, and other community partners.

“The SEED has given us a place to do all of the packing and have helped us obtain fresh

produce,” Molly Roberts says.

“We have such dedicated staff who have shifted from their usual programming to packing,

delivering, and connecting by phone. We talk to our clients at least once a week just to check in

with them and this is something they really appreciate.”

The program is a great success and many individuals throughout the City of Guelph continue to

benefit from the emergency food services that the Evergreen Restaurant is able to provide.

Submitted by Becky MacDonald

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GWSA Budget 2021-2022 ($)

Income

Membership Fees 30,551.00

Donations 2,915.00

Interest Income 10,195.00

Other Income 17,636.00

HST Retained (40%) 1,652.00

Community Support Services 156,514.00

Activity Groups – Taxable 14,594.00

Activity Groups – Non Taxable 2,430.00

Sentinal Newspaper 10,132.00

Travel Group 6,600.00

Total Income $ 253,219.00

Expenses

Annual General Meeting 1,000.00

Audit 8,453.00

Accounting 5,971.00

Bank Charges 617.00

Consulting Fees 2,500.00

GWSA Board Expenses 2,500.00

GWSA Computer Expenses 2,433.00

GWSA Website Expenses 1,338.00

Charitable Donations 4,000.00

Insurance 9,763.00

Lease – COG 26,000.00

Disbursement – COG 4,000.00

Legal 3,000.00

COVID-19 Expenses 100.00

Membership & Marketing 8,500.00

Membership Dues 326.00

Office Expense 250.00

Off-site Storage 1,896.00

CSS Services Expense 156,514.00

Activity Groups – Taxable 6,593.00

Sentinel Expense 17,417.00

Capital Expenditure

Computer Equipment 3,000.00

Furniture & Fixtures 35,000.00

Total Capital Expenditure 38,000.00

Total Expense $ 306,621.00

Total Surplus (Deficit) $ (53,402.00)

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Governance Committee Report

The Governance Committee advises and assists the Board in the development, implementation

and review of the Constitution, By-law, and Policies and Procedures. During 2020-2021, the

Governance Committee included Brian Smith (chair), Becky Fiedler, Lloyd LeBlanc, Mike

Woof, Adam Rutherford, and Cem Kaner (who served until September 2020).

Although meetings were traditionally held at 9:30 am on the second Monday of each month in

the Board Room, we transitioned to online meetings through Zoom after the Evergreen Centre

closed to members. Although the pandemic caught us by surprise, we found that revisions we

had made to the Business Continuity and Pandemic Planning Policies by early 2020 became

useful as we encountered the disruption to facility, programs, and services caused by COVID-19.

As many things moved online, we presented to the members a By-Law revision which was

approved at the 2020 AGM to permit virtual AGMs to continue in the future if needed.

The Governance Committee continues to systematically review policy documents to ensure they

are consistent with GWSA By-laws and the recently approved Community Benefits Agreement.

Over the past two years, the Governance Committee has made considerable progress reviewing

most policies and procedures, position descriptions, and committee terms of reference, and

maintains the Index of Policies and Procedures to track all reviews.

The Governance Committee has met less frequently this year while its members redirected

energy to current priorities, including help with the pandemic response, launching the first

GWSA virtual AGM, contributing to the Board’s Strategic Planning process, and collaborating

on a new GWSA website which launched in January 2021. We continued to address

requirements of the governing documents, and any issues raised by the Board and members as

they arose. To facilitate exciting new directions, we are developing Terms of Reference for a

new Technology Committee, intended to provide guidance to keep GWSA computers and audiovisual

resources current. We are also collaborating with the HR Committee to provide a position

description for a new grant-funded Studio Technician to support the GWSA’s virtual activities,

video conferencing, and recording capabilities.

One of our priorities moving forward is to consider the process and timelines for policy reviews

so that GWSA documents are maintained in a timely manner while optimizing use of

Governance Committee and Board resources. We will also consider how to proceed with a

cluster of residual policies which haven’t been revisited in a few years.

This has been a rather unusual, yet productive, year. We anticipate the Governance Committee

will serve an important role as it supports the implementation of the Board’s new Strategic Plan

in the years ahead.

If you have an interest in policy development and review, or record keeping, the Governance

Committee is a great way to become involved and learn more about the GWSA. Contact the

volunteer co-ordinator, Becky MacDonald, at becky.macdonald@guelph.ca for more

information.

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Program Committee Report

Pat Gage – Chair, February 2020 to June 2021

Eleanor Stern - Secretary, Tonie MacInnis – City Rep, and all 36 Activity Group Leaders

The Program Committee now meets at 9:30 am on the Thursday, one week following the GWSA

Board meeting, except for July and August. This change was made in order to keep Activity

Leaders informed of Board business as quickly as possible. All Activity Groups are expected to

send a representative to the meeting as they serve as a vital communication link to all GWSA

activity participants.

Objective:

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was clear that, as Activity Leaders, it was important to stay

in touch with group members to keep them informed about City and Board plans to keep

everyone safe.

Accomplishment:

The Program Committee was unable to offer some programs this year due to COVID-19 and the

restrictions placed on all of us by the Department of Health. The biggest accomplishment this

past year was the use of Zoom and showing our group members how they can stay in touch

through teleconferencing. Some Activity Group Leaders took up the challenge to keep their

groups engaged, provide emotional support, social participation, and some laughter. The

Silvertones Choir and Silver Strummers, Peer Learning, the Into Focus Photography Group,

Book Club, and Watercolour Painters all turned to using Zoom to stay connected with their

members. Scrabble turned to Zoom to socialize and to keeping themselves safe through

communication. These GWSA members have appreciated the efforts of their group leaders to

help relieve the fear of social isolation and uplift their spirits.

Goals for 2021:

Return to active status, as many Activity Groups as possible – either in-person or online.

Respectfully submitted - Pat Gage, Chair, Program Committee

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Community Support Services

CSS Staff

Emma Whittaker - Program Manager

Audrey Bishop - Administrative Assistant

Margaret Iutzi - Move Well Program Co-ordinator

Molly Roberts - Eat Well Program Co-ordinator

Paula Frappier - Outreach Co-ordinator

CSS supported over 680 adults in 2020-2021 through the pivot of programming to remote/

virtual models and the development of new programming:

Outreach: Remote Social-Recreational Program.

Expansion of SOS program and one-on-one social wellness supports.

Expansion of Feeling Better: Eat Well to Emergency Food Delivery program.

CSS client support, Information, Referral, and Support program.

COVID-19 Initiatives

Emergency Food Delivery Program:

50 weeks of food deliveries to over 200 vulnerable older adults

11, 838 frozen meals delivered

7,989 food baskets full of fresh produce and pantry items

21,129.1 lbs of fresh produce

4,247 wellness and social support phone calls

32 new volunteers who dedicated over 450 hours of volunteer support

Expanded SOS and one-on-one support programming to meet changing times

Pivoted social-recreational programming to virtual and remote models

Continuing services to address emerging social wellness and food security needs of

vulnerable older adults throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

We were saddened that Sophia Podrozny, a valued CSS staff member, passed away November

12, 2020, at the age of 59. Molly Roberts has assumed Sophia’s duties in the Eat Well program.

Membership and Marketing Committee

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors assigned an Interim Chair, Mr.

Ken Fugler.

At the same time, the Board made the decision that no new Members would be taken on by

GWSA during the Pandemic.

These two decisions meant that the M&M Committee’s mandate was considerably narrowed, for

the duration of COVID-19. As a result, the M&M committee, while still meeting on a regular

basis and keeping channels of communication open, has partnered with the Program Committee

to ensure existing members are kept informed and can participate as much as possible.

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During the second quarter of 2021, the M&M Committee will be regrouping, with new members,

and new leadership, and will spend its time laying out strategy, options, and preparation

decisions, in order to be ready to ‘hit the deck running’ once the Pandemic is sufficiently under

control that GWSA can take on new members.

Volunteer Advisory Committee Report

Becky MacDonald, City of Guelph Recreation Co-ordinator – Volunteers (Chair)

Joan Ksenych

Athar Khan (GWSA Board representative)

Lloyd Le Blanc

Kerry Detlor

The Volunteer Advisory Committee has been on hold for the last year due to the pandemic. The

Committee, when active, meets monthly to review and support the GWSA Volunteer Program.

In my role as the City of Guelph Recreation Co-ordinator, Volunteers, I provide support to the

GWSA with co-ordination of the Volunteer Program. The GWSA Board representative liaises

between the Board and the Committee to provide on-going support from the Board with

accomplishments and goals set for the Volunteer program.

2020 was off to a great start in January and, unfortunately, came to a halt in March due to the

pandemic that put all services, programs and interactions on hold. Many volunteers continued to

perform their tasks virtually, taking on a large leadership role supporting members in their

groups to keep the social and interactive commitment on-going. This is the true meaning to

volunteering.

As 2021 moves forward, I look forward to reconnecting with all volunteers and working together

providing the programs and services and building on your volunteer roles that engage the older

adult population.

Goals for 2021

Orientation and Training module for all volunteers offered virtually online for volunteers to

access and complete

Recruiting new volunteers and increase awareness of the vast number and diversity of volunteer

positions available

Continue to update Policies and Procedures that are related to volunteers

Continue to update the Volunteer Handbooks as a resource for volunteers to utilize and have a

better understanding of their roles and expectations

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Succession Planning & Nominating Committee Report

The purpose of the GWSA Succession Planning and Nominating Committee is to seek people

with leadership qualities who would be appropriate candidates for the Board of Directors.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has made recruiting for leaders exceedingly difficult.

No one volunteered to serve on the committee and previous committee members declined to

continue serving in this capacity.

In the absence of a functioning committee, the City Volunteer co-ordinator has listed Directorlevel

opportunities with the People and Information Network. Current Directors have approached

personal contacts seeking new Directors. The Board explored the possibility of engaging a

professional recruiter to help with this task but doing so was cost prohibitive. This is an area of

need for the GWSA organization. Please consider whether you or someone you know would like

to identify future leadership for our organization.

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The Sentinel Report

The Sentinel office was a very busy place until the COVID-19 Pandemic shut us down from working

in the office at the Evergreen in March 2020. Linda has been doing a great job of putting together

each monthly issue of the Sentinel since then, which has been put online each month. This includes,

for the very first time since its inception in September 1976, issues in July and August of 2020. We

continue to put together our monthly newsletter and post it online each month so that all our

members and advertisers can continue to keep up-to-date with information regarding the Pandemic

and keep safe and healthy.

The Sentinel Team tries to keep all the members

included in one way or another. Remember, if

you want your birthday or anniversary put into

the Sentinel, you yourself MUST let us know by

the first of the month PRIOR to the occasion

(i.e., August for September, April for May,

etc.). If, by chance, you ‘forget’ and still want

it put in, we can do that in the following

month’s edition. Also, we aren’t familiar

with all of the GWSA members, so, if you

hear or know of a member’s passing, please

let us know at the Sentinel so we can include their information in the Passages. Our email

address is always near the front of each issue but here it is in case you don’t have a copy handy

(sentinel@gwsa-guelph.ca).

We apologize to any members who do not have a computer but hope that a friend or relative will

share viewing the Sentinel with you. We have been working from our homes to keep all our

members informed of what has been going on in and around the City and our Evergreen Centre,

especially with our Evergreen Restaurant and the CSS helping out our senior members and others

who are in need of a good healthy meal. Thank you to them all.

The Sentinel Team doesn’t normally take the summer off as many members presume. We prepare

the documents for the Annual Report for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held near the end of

June. Last year, the AGM was held virtually in September. This year, the AGM will be held online

again via Zoom on June 8 at 1:30 pm. Be sure to contact the

GWSA if you wish to be included in the Zoom meeting. This is

very important. If you don’t ask, you won’t be able to link in.

We wish everyone to stay safe and healthy during this trying

time.

Submitted by Carol Croft and Linda Green.

Yorkie-Poo Therapy pup visiting the Evergreen.

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The Web Team Report

Members: Ross Knechtel (webmaster), Brenda Prine (Email Update editor through December

2020), Sue Wi-Afedzi (Email Update editor beginning March 2021), Brian Smith and Becky

Fiedler.

GWSA Web Team volunteers provide support in three areas: the GWSA website, the GWSA

Email Update and the GWSA’s social media accounts. The Membership and Marketing

Committee provides oversight.

The GWSA website started in 2008 and outlines the programs and services offered by the GWSA

to its members, as well as the City of Guelph programs for older adults carried out at the

Evergreen Seniors Community Centre and elsewhere. In December 2020, we launched a new

website with a new WordPress theme, where members can experience optimized speed,

simplified menus, and improved readability. News posts receive primary placement on the home

page blog, so users can source the latest updates from the Board, and other relevant information.

Everything about the GWSA can be found through the main menus, with details on all the

Activity Groups and their status, and the range of GWSA Services, including Community

Support Services and the Evergreen Kitchen. Links to GWSA social media platforms, the

monthly Sentinel Newsletter and GWSA Email Updates are also included on the website.

We monitor website usage for anonymous data, including number of site visitors, popular pages

and site performance. We implemented SSL and other security features to protect the site from

hacking attempts. In addition, a secure, offsite, and daily backup system ensures that the

GWSA’s website and its updates are available to GWSA members.

We welcome all feedback to the webmaster through the Contact Us page and invite Activity

Group leaders to update information on their Activity Group pages frequently to keep members

well informed on group status and how to become involved.

We encourage all GWSA members to check our website often at https://gwsa-guelph.ca to learn

about everything new and exciting at the GWSA.

The GWSA Email Update is powered by MailChimp – an email list provider that facilitates our

email communication with members and other interested parties who subscribe to receive regular

updates. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic until the end of June 2020, the COVID

response team and Email Update editor sent 17 Pandemic Response Updates to subscribers. In

these updates, the editors included pandemic-related updates and reminders from the City,

Province and federal government. Email Updates shared information about local businesses’

seniors-related services; virtual events that seniors could enjoy; and compiled a web page

identifying Activities for Mind and Body (https://gwsa-guelph.ca/2044-2/). The Pandemic

Response Updates have been archived in the May through August 2020 issues of The Sentinel. In

July, the Email Update schedule returned to its monthly schedule.

The GWSA social media accounts include Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These platforms are

used to notify followers about important news, programs and events as well as the availability of

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new issues of The Sentinel. All social media links are accessible from our main web pages. We

made revisions to many of our YouTube videos in March 2021 and intend to complete further

updates as resources become available.

The GWSA web team would like to thank JM, a young professional living in Guelph who

provided substantial assistance to us in launching the updated GWSA website.

Watercolours Group

ACTIVITY GROUP REPORTS

The watercolour painters did not meet during the spring and summer of 2020, though members

exchanged emails. In September, our program committee members suggested getting together

remotely on Zoom. With the assistance of the GWSA account, we had our first virtual meeting

on September 16. We have continued throughout the winter, sharing views of our painting

endeavours. We meet on the bi-weekly afternoons that would be our normal in-person

Wednesdays. In recent months, for added interest, we have set optional subject assignments:

snow scenes, still life, birds, flowers, children, hands, streetscapes, pets. For Christmas, we

enjoyed a Secret Santa exchange of our original painted cards. The Zoom activities have helped

to keep us motivated, creative and sane!

Mary Mulholland

Into Focus Photography Club

Like all the Activity Groups, the IFPC cancelled all in-person meetings and photography field

trips due to the coronavirus pandemic. This certainly put a damper on the social interactions

enjoyed by the members but it did not stop each individual from continuing on with their hobby.

Thanks to the success and popularity of meeting virtually via Zoom, we have been able to

maintain a regular schedule of two sessions per month. The mid-month Chit-Chat gatherings

have been popular and well attended, as have been the month-end formal meetings consisting of

photo-sharing via our regular Theme-of-The-Month, Monthly Challenge, and educational

presentations. Uploads of photos to our SmugMug website have continued despite COVID-

19. Our Flickr and Facebook group pages have also enjoyed steady participation.

We really miss our monthly field trips as an organized group, however, most of us manage to get

outdoors and chase those Kodak moments on an individual basis.

On a sad note, over the past year, we have lost two of our prominent members due to non-

COVID-related health issues. Jean McClelland and Alan Pickersgill, sorely missed by us all,

will live on in our memories.

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Silvertones Choir

When the Evergreen Centre closed in March 2020, and then announced they would remain

closed until further notice, we were disappointed but not surprised. Our last choir practice at the

Evergreen Centre was March 13, 2020. We then had to cancel our planned sing outs at eight (8)

nursing/retirement homes. Another disappointment because we know how much our audience

really enjoyed seeing us come, and what a wonderful feeling it was for us to see a smile creep

onto the faces of some of our most elderly and frail seniors. And yet another disappointment

when our beloved Accompanist, MaryLynn Woods, retired from the choir, with a small send off

and a thank you for all she has done for the choir and for many GWSA events with our very best

wishes.

We are a family of more than 50 members and still growing despite this pandemic. The

Executive knew that, if we wanted to stay safe and be well, we would have to get creative in

order to keep our choir together. Who best to do this of course is our two fearless leaders, Ann

Sneyd, Director, and Doreen Muir, President. There would be no choir without their inspiring

and creative leadership.

Weekly emails began to arrive in our inboxes from Ann Sneyd. It was agreed that we need to

keep in touch with members, and the Executive began monthly wellness phone calls to members

to ensure they are coping well with the isolation most of us have been feeling. Much

appreciation has been expressed by members for our concern about everyone’s well-being.

Most of our members had no experience with Zoom. We would like to thank the GWSA for

providing loaner iPads to some of our members and for assisting them in learning this new skill.

Thank you also to Ross Knechtel for getting us started on Zoom. Also thank you to our new

Zoom Hosts who have taken on the challenges of learning to Zoom on behalf of all of us:

Doreen Muir, Barbara Moldenhauer and Lynda Annis. We began with an Executive meeting,

followed by the Strummers who have now formed a group of their own. The Lullabye Grannies

had a practice on Zoom and soon all 54 members were practicing every two weeks.

In the Fall of 2020, and with emails and phone calls flying around, we settled on our music. As

volunteers have not had access to the GWSA building because of the pandemic, Tonie MacInnis

from the City pulled music from our files and arranged for pick up by our Music Co-ordinators,

Patti DuGuid and Marion Cassolato. Our many thanks to them for sorting and getting music out

to our members, some even delivered (safely) to their homes. Listening to Ann play the piano on

Zoom and practicing in the confines of our own home by singing to the computer has been a

most hilarious and challenging time for us all. But we are doing it and feeling so much better for

keeping in touch.

We have managed for over a year to keep our members informed and engaged through Ann’s

Monthly emails and all the work she does to prepare for our bi-weekly Zoom practices, Doreen’s

involvement with the Program Committee, and a willing Executive who go beyond what is

required. We have not stopped thinking about the future. We look forward to practicing

together when it is safe to do so in a comfortable space. We want to celebrate our 40 th +

Anniversary in a special way when we are able and to catch up on each other’s lives in person.

Music brings so much joy to us all.

Submitted by Thelma Smeltzer

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Silver Strummers

The Evergreen’s Silver Strummers emerged from the Silvertones Choir, which has been a vibrant

and enthusiastic group of seniors for many years. It was no surprise when their energetic

Director, Ann Sneyd, suggested that, just maybe, a number of choir members might like to start

strumming the ukulele. And, it also just happened the very talented Carolyn McLeod McCarthy

was prepared to take us on and teach us how to play. (It probably helped that Carolyn is the

daughter of one of our Strummers.) The brand new Silver Strummers was born!!! We started

with approximately 20 players, and as of this month, there are 35 members listed on our roster.

A number of our members already owned a ukulele, and our teacher was able to order new

instruments and tuners for all who wanted them. All of us anticipated participating around a

campfire with friends and family. Maybe even jamming in our garage with like-minded

entertainers!!!

Our official startup was January 31, 2020! Our group stayed after Silvertones choir practice on

Friday afternoons to begin our new ukulele lessons. However, early 2020 turned out to be a

rocky beginning. Not for lack of enthusiasm or arthritic fingers on the chords, but, this thing

called COVID-19. In March, we were shut down, along with all the other activities at the

Evergreen Centre. At the time, there was every expectation we would be back at the Centre in

September, if not before. Wrong expectation…………

Enter the wonderful new technology called ZOOM!!! Due to the strong leadership of Ann

Sneyd and the “techie” knowledge of Carolyn McLeod McCarthy, we started up our virtual

ukulele lessons on November 6, 2020. During that time of set-up, we certainly wish to

acknowledge the support of our President, Becky Fiedler. On November 19, we formed the

Silver Strummers Executive: Chairperson, Ann Sneyd; Instructor, Carolyn McLeod McCarthy;

Vice-Chairperson, Darlene Pembleton; Secretary, Barbara Moldenhauer; Treasurer, Lynda

Annis.

We alternate Zoom practices every other week with the Silvertones Choir. These lessons have

kept us all practicing our music, and, hopefully, starting to sound like we are improving our

skills. Practice makes perfect, you know – keep working on those chords! Carolyn is diligent in

forwarding us “YouTube” instruction videos, as well as numerous music sheets. We are learning

a wonderful variety of music - everything from Happy Birthday to Danny Boy to Blowin’ in the

Wind! The Strummers are an eager group and have taken on the challenge. We are picking

those strings, singing along, and enjoying ourselves staying at home in front of our computer.

Just wait till we are all together again in person!! The Silver Strummers have not only survived,

but thrived over this past year.

In March, the GWSA received a Federal New Horizons Grant! We are so thankful to have

received an allocation of $2,800. This allows for funding to purchase 8 to 10 concert-size

ukuleles, complete with cases and tuners, to have available for a “loaner” program. We have

also ordered a minimum of 10 music stands, as well as strings, finger tips, and other incidental

items to keep on hand.

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Our Chairperson, Ann Sneyd, has been sending out monthly newsletters, keeping all of us

informed and connected – and quite entertained as well! Carolyn McLeod McCarthy invites us

to her bi-weekly Zoom lessons, and regularly emails everyone music and videos. We have been

in existence for over a year now and look forward to the future. Through word-of-mouth, our

group is growing. We have met the challenge of lockdowns over the past year, and are hopeful

the Silver Strummers will soon be a new in-person activity at the Evergreen Centre.

Barbara Moldenhauer, Secretary.

Art Studio in 2

Art Studio in 2 has been inactive for the period April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. No dues were

collected from previous members for the Club or GWSA for this time period. The Club won't

return to function until the Evergreen Centre re-opens for the GWSA. At that time, membership

will be reduced from 24 to 8 (to accommodate the room size). Art Studio in 2 will continue to

cost $24.00, HST incl., for yearly membership and membership will be from April 1 to March 31

in any year.

Ted Pritchard, Acting for the President of Art in Studio 2.

Book Club 1

The GWSA Book Club 1 meets on the last Friday of every month from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in

the Board room at the Evergreen Centre. Last year at this time, we had 20 members in the club.

When the pandemic arrived in the spring of 2020, the lockdown began and the book club was

unable to continue because the Guelph Public Library was completely shut down and we get our

books primarily from the library. When the library began curbside pickup, we continued reading

the selected books and used emails for the members to discuss and distribute their reviews about

the book we were reading.

In January 2021, we began a new list of selected books, and this time, we met on Zoom for our

monthly meetings. Emails were still used by people who didn’t have Zoom.

Our numbers have decreased by two who have left the club, two more are on hiatus, and we have

8 active members who continue to stay in touch with emails and/or Zoom.

With the weather improving, we plan to meet outdoors in the future for our monthly meetings.

Submitted by Veronica Sanche.

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Variety Show

It is usually a good thing to break records, right? Well, the Variety Show will have broken a

record with a no-show for the second year in a row! Not so good. But do not despair. THERE

WILL BE ANOTHER SHOW. It may not happen this fall as usual and it may not look the

same, but a show will be created and will go on! Stay tuned.

If you want to be part of the adventure, please contact me, doreenmuir11@yahoo.com

Submitted by Doreen Muir, Chairman

Cribbage

The Cribbage group have not been meeting during this COVID-19 pandemic so we have nothing

to report at this time.

We mourn the loss of one of our long-time members, Warren Parkinson, who passed away this

April. Our sympathies go out to all his family members.

Line Dancing Report

2020/21 was a challenge for GWSA Line Dancing. To the line dancers who kept coming each

week and supported us as we worked through learning the new sound system and music format,

thank you. Our sincere thanks go to our instructors – Margaret Green, Kathy Kemp, Jill Kropf,

Eleanore Klein, Betty Chu, Patty Liberatore, Carol Lightfoot and Janet Trimble. These ladies

have continued to instruct each other and dance each week via their phones so they will be ready

to go the moment the Evergreen Centre opens again. We sent out three emails to our

membership. Included in each was a list of URLs that directed the line dancers to written

instructions as well as the music and demos for several line dances. We trust that everyone is

dancing at home at least once a week and looking forward to when we can line dance together in

the near future.

Submitted by Phyllis Carnochan and Donna Holmes, Co-Chair

Table Tennis Club

Due to the restrictions on congregating on account of COVID-19, our normally highly active

group was largely idle during the past year. In July and August, we prepared for a possible

return to playing, with COVID precautions meeting current guidelines.

Our pre-COVID format was mainly playing doubles on the seven tables in the Gym. We would

have groups of four people playing a match (best of 3 games), and then sitting down to give

those waiting a chance to play. So lots of opportunity for interaction and a chance to socialize

between games. If many people were not waiting to play, then some would prefer to play

singles, and had a chance to do so. Usually, we played in the Gym at the Evergreen Centre, with

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some days in Room 4, when the Gym was used for other events. Our playing times were

Monday late afternoon (3:30 to 6:30pm), Wednesday morning (9:00 to 12:45pm), and Saturday

mornings (9:00 to 12:00 noon). In addition, we would play on Friday afternoons (1:00 to

4:00pm) at the West End Recreation Centre in a Gym there.

What we planned for in the “COVID era” was only playing singles to maintain distancing,

having individual chairs spaced out rather than line the walls all bunched up, and adding extra

disinfecting of the tables. The expectation would be for each player to have their own racquet,

which was generally already the case. Normally, we have a few old racquets available for

anyone without, but those would be put aside. The bigger change would have been to have

people only come for half the time slot, rather than anytime as was our practice. This would

essentially halve the number of participants at any one time, to meet the recommended maximum

number of people in the gym. We surveyed everyone, and understandably, not everyone was

prepared to go back to playing just yet. We have about 75 players on our email list; from those,

about 45 were full time members, with the remainder being occasional participants. From these,

we had 47 answer the survey, with 35 indicating they would like to have come back to playing

last fall, if it was possible. We collected 33 signed waivers, separated everyone into two groups,

and made out attendance lists accordingly, to be able to do contact tracing if that was needed.

But alas, nothing came of it, as GWSA activities remained on hold.

Some players started commuting to Kitchener to make use of a private club that continued to

operate with COVID restrictions when Public Health permitted such activity (below red level).

We are looking forward to being able to start up again, when that becomes possible, and are

hoping that widespread vaccination will reduce the risk to low enough levels for the GWSA to

resume activities, likely with some restrictions still in place.

If you enjoy an active lifestyle, we have players at different levels, and would welcome you to

join us in the future!

Submitted by Petr Vales.

Scrabble Group Report

Co-leaders: Linda Robinson and Beth Campeau Backup: B.J. Antanavicius

The year has been one of constant adjustment and change. Since March 2020, our main forms of

communications were a monthly email or an occasional phone call to those members without

computers/tablets/smartphones. If applicable, we printed and mailed any non-virtual information

to the few people without computers or printers.

The content of the communications evolved over time and the main sources used were:

COVID-19 related items from the GWSA website or Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public

Health.

Community organizations like Guelph Public Library, Community Support Services, 10

Carden’s Connecting Circles, the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario (OACAO),

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as well as Guelph Family Health Team and Canadian Mental Health Assoc. Waterloo-

Wellington.

Scrabble or word-related items

In January 2021, we began a weekly one-hour socialization time on Zoom. This engagement was

driven by concern for mental well-being, especially for members living solo. We may never use

Zoom as envisioned by the Board. However, this resource is serving an unforeseen need due to

the continued social isolation.

We want to acknowledge the wonderful assistance the Community Support Services (CSS) staff

gave us when we consulted with them to help our members. Our volunteer roles were made

easier because of their positive attitude, respectful approach, and enthusiasm for their important

role for all Guelph-Wellington seniors.

In closing, we share that, in May 2020, our group lost Paul Brummer, a former Scrabble activity

leader, a talented Watercolour Club member, and a long-time GWSA member. We miss Paul’s

welcoming nature and his obvious joy when playing with words and friends!

Submitted by B. Campeau

Quilting Group

The GWSA quilters occasionally met via Zoom and over email to complete several projects

throughout the past year. We:






held two mask sales at the Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, raising $3,400 for the GWSA

donated 125 children’s masks to Shelldale Family Gateway

donated 400 adult masks for Community Support Services clients

donated a quilt for the Shelldale Winter Warmup fundraiser

along with members of the Craft Group, sewed hand warmers, Christmas ornaments, and

microwave bowls to add Christmas cheer to the CSS food basket deliveries.

In addition, many quilters busily

sewed masks for family, friends, and

neighbours since the start of the

pandemic.

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City of Guelph Senior Services Report

Hello Guelph Wellington Seniors Association members, friends and supporters.

It’s been a challenging year to say the least. Our lives, friendships, day to day activities and

opportunities to socialize and be part of community have changed dramatically. And like the way

we face most other challenges in our lives, we gather ourselves, adjust our priorities and

persevere. City of Guelph staff are proud to have adapted and persevered with you.

A year ago, I wrote to you during the early days of the pandemic and reflected on the silver

linings of some very difficult days. Today, I write you with a similar message, but also with

reflection on what we continue to accomplish and how we continue to support each other. The

importance of social interaction, supporting our most vulnerable friends, family and community

members and resiliency are more critical now than ever. To me, these lessons and values were

already foundational to the GWSA and the City’s Senior Services team, and one of the reasons

that I know we’ll get through this stronger than ever.

Over the past year, City of Guelph staff have been busy cleaning, updating, reimagining and, in

some cases, redesigning our spaces at the Evergreen Senior Community Centre. We’ve been

closed, but we’ve also been busy painting the entire building, refinishing our Auditorium and

Room 4 floors, converting all lights to high efficiency models, cleaning and replacing blinds and

drapes, and more. When you return to the Evergreen, you’ll also find a new layout to our Dining

Room with a focus on to-go snacks and take home meals (along with our traditional service);

we’ve added a new menu board and menu items, and will be adding some unique new spaces for

dining and socializing.

Our programming staff have also been busy creating new programs and opportunities in a

COVID-informed world. We’re adding several new outdoor opportunities (including a bicycling

program that we’re very excited about), we’ve adjusted our classes to create as many

opportunities as possible, and are excited to support the GWSA as the organization ventures into

the world of online and virtual programming opportunities.

Much of 2020/21 has been focused on COVID-related tasks, but it’s days like these that

demonstrate why the GWSA and Senior Services are so important to our community. We

continue to support, adapt, role model resiliency, take care of our friends and families, and

always, always look for those silver linings.

Thank you to all of our GWSA Members, Volunteers, Program Committee Leaders, and our

Board of Directors. After 12+ months in an empty Evergreen Centre, I’m sincerely looking

forward to future days with a full Evergreen Centre, a happy and healthy membership, many

opportunities to gather, laugh and share our stories, and a chance to build new and rekindle old

friendships.

Adam Rutherford – Program Manager Evergreen Seniors Centre

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Thanks To Our Contributors

For the 12 Months Ending March 31, 2021

GWSA Activity

Groups Net Remittance $ 5,801

Individual Donors to GWSA $ 1,990

GWSA Members would like to extend the

utmost gratitude to all donors for their

generous donations.

Your donations enable us to continue offering

programs and activities at the Evergreen Seniors

Seniors Community Centre.

Thanks for generous support for these programs from:

The United Way: Guelph Wellington Dufferin, Guelph Community Foundation and The Guelph

Family Health Team, Emergency Community Support Fund and Guelph Rotary Trillium.

Also, a special thanks to new partnerships who generously

supported the Emergency Food Program:

The City of Guelph Evergreen Kitchen, Diabetes Care Guelph, and The County of Wellington

Housing Services, Church of the Apostles, Bulk Barn, Linamar, COBS Bread, Foresters’

Insurance, COSTCO, Queens Café, The Stocking Lady, With The Grain, West End Bakery,

VON Senior Support Services, Guelph Independent Living, GWSA Quilt Group, GWSA Craft

Group, and the many CSS volunteers for their dedication to our Community Support Services

community.

We extend special thanks to all the volunteers for our CSS

programs, including:




Seniors’ Pandemic Emergency Food Delivery program volunteers

SOS members

All CSS volunteers who make our CSS community great

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