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.
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
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
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
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.
City of Guelph Staff
The GWSA appreciates the support and diligence of City Staff who work directly with us.
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
Recreation Program Co-ordinator – Seniors Recreation
Services - Culture and Recreation
Customer Service Clerk: Membership & Marketing
Facility Cleaner – assisting with room set-ups, cleaning
and maintaining of GWSA physical assets
Organization Chart and Standing Committee Reports
* Asset Co-ordinator,
IT Co-ordinator, and
Report to Executive
** Financial Advisory Administrator
reports to Treasurer/President
*** Webmaster reports to
The & Marketing
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
GWSA Budget 2021-2022 ($)
Membership Fees 30,551.00
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
Annual General Meeting 1,000.00
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
Lease – COG 26,000.00
Disbursement – COG 4,000.00
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
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more
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
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
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
Community Support Services
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.
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.
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.
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)
Athar Khan (GWSA Board representative)
Lloyd Le Blanc
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Submitted by Carol Croft and Linda Green.
Yorkie-Poo Therapy pup visiting the Evergreen.
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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, email@example.com
Submitted by Doreen Muir, Chairman
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
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
Community organizations like Guelph Public Library, Community Support Services, 10
Carden’s Connecting Circles, the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario (OACAO),
as well as Guelph Family Health Team and Canadian Mental Health Assoc. Waterloo-
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
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
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
Adam Rutherford – Program Manager Evergreen Seniors Centre
Thanks To Our Contributors
For the 12 Months Ending March 31, 2021
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
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
We extend special thanks to all the volunteers for our CSS
Seniors’ Pandemic Emergency Food Delivery program volunteers
All CSS volunteers who make our CSS community great