PORT Dover Board of Trade has now officially handed over operations of the Port Dover Senior Centre to the centre’s volunteer board of directors.
Without the pandemic, this transition was supposed to happen by autumn of 2020, but repeated delays due to COVID restrictions prolonged the Board of Trade’s commitment to the project. The Board of Trade’s financial oversight of the senior centre project concluded at the end of August.
The Board of Trade took a leadership role in establishing the senior centre in 2019 when it received an Ontario Trillium Fund Seed Grant to oversee its formation and early stages operation. The organization’s requirements included incorporating the senior centre as its own not-for-profit corporation, finding a suitable location, assembling a board of directors consisting of senior volunteers, and offering programming.
The Board of Trade worked with Project Manager Adam Veri to deliver the Port Dover Senior Centre.
The senior centre was on-track to open in April of 2020, until being delayed for two years due to the global pandemic. Despite those delays, incorporation proceeded, and the senior centre received its not-for-profit status in October of 2021.
When the senior centre finally opened at the Port Dover Lions Community Centre in March of this year, a slate of programs including fitness, yoga, art, and information classes was offered. A volunteer board comprised of members of the Senior Centre was formed shortly afterwards, and began preparations to take over operations, governance, and management responsibilities.
“This was a challenging project, especially with the two-year delay,” Mr. Veri said. “It took a lot of planning and re-planning, plus building strong working relationships with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, Norfolk County’s Community Services Department, and the Port Dover Lions Club to get us where we are today. The Port Dover Senior Centre is an achievement we can all be proud of.”
In six months of operations, the Senior Centre already has registered 207 members, and has expanded its programming accordingly.
There are now two fitness classes and three yoga classes per week, euchre, pickleball, art and creative writing classes, and a connections café drop-in group for meet-ups and recreational activities. There are also occasional speakers and opportunities to learn new skills. More special events, fundraisers, and seasonal activities are underway.
Port Dover Board of Trade is a registered not-for-profit organization that has served Port Dover and the surrounding area since 1912. It has led many community projects throughout its history, including the annual Perch Derby, Summer Festival Art in the Park, and Christmasfest events; co-coordinating Friday the 13th events in partnership with Norfolk County and the Port Dover Kinsmen; hosting Sunday night concerts in the park; downtown beautification; and operating a member service office on Market Street West. Visit portdover.ca for more information about the Board of Trade.
Port Dover Senior Centre board looks to the future
THE future of the Port Dover Senior Centre will now be determined by its members. On September 1, the senior centre’s own board of directors took over control of all operations, including programming, financial management, and strategic direction. The centre had been managed by the Port Dover Board of Trade since the project was formalized in 2019.
The Port Dover Senior Centre Board includes nine volunteer members of the community, each with a different set of skills and experience. The board is chaired by Jackie Misner-Hilton, and also includes Vice Chair Sue Finnie, Secretary Sherry Thodt, Treasurer Kim Murphy, and Directors-at-Large Ev Demming, Steve Brightman, Patti Fleischmann, Margaret Barron, and Lee Garrett. Project Manager Adam Veri is continuing to assist the group as a volunteer.
“On behalf of the board of directors and membership, I thank the Port Dover Board of Trade and especially Adam Veri for providing the community leadership required to make the Port Dover Senior Centre a reality. Adam’s contract is over, and we are thrilled that he is staying in his coordinator role as a volunteer to continue providing assistance to the board, volunteers, and members, and ultimately the success of the centre,” said the Senior Centre Board’s chair Jackie Misner-Hilton.
The senior centre board has significant work ahead. In addition to taking over program delivery, the board must also create a plan for increasing membership and ensuring the organization brings in enough revenue to sustain its operations. To that end, Ms Misner-Hilton says there are updates on the way.
“The board is currently working on new funding partnerships to ensure the ongoing operations and growth of the Port Dover Senior Centre,” Ms Misner-Hilton said. “We have several fundraising events and activities in the works that the whole community can participate in, not just seniors.
“Our goal is to make the Port Dover Senior Centre known for being a fun, engaging, active organization that contributes to the betterment of Port Dover in many ways, not just to its members,” she added.
The senior centre board is also looking for volunteers to join its strategic planning, marketing and communications, community events, and membership committees. Previous experience is not required. Experienced board members will be assigned to each committee to help guide the meetings.
Port Dover Senior Centre membership dues are $50 per year. During the first year, memberships include access to all programs without any additional charge, with the exception of programs that require the use of consumable materials. The board will review its membership policy at the end of its first year in March, 2023.
The senior centre currently offers three weekly yoga classes; two fitness classes; weekly pickleball, euchre, line dancing, and creative writing groups; and bi-weekly community connections café meetups. Art and ukulele lessons, tech classes, and guest speakers are also frequently offered.
For membership information and a weekly schedule, visit portdoverseniors.ca. A weekly online newsletter is also available. To join the mailing list, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org