FOCUS ON SENIORS: Bringing a youthful perspective

News Aug 27, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The core planning committee for the Age-Friendly Community Summit partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) meets once a month. This core group is comprised of several local retirees, representatives from the City of Brantford, County of Brant, Brantford Native Housing, Six Nations and New Credit, along with staff members from the offices of Levac, Brant MP Phil McColeman and GRCOA.   

The average age of committee members is 55-plus, but for the summer months, the committee was joined by two university students who brought a youthful perspective to the table.

Paige Smitiuch and Dalton Rawcliffe jumped right in.

One would think students would fetch and carry or spend their time at the photocopier.

Make no mistake, they did do some of that. Any working summer student will remember paying their dues at the copy machine and learning through experience that any task, big or small, is an important contribution to the overall success of the organization.

However, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe did so much more.   

To begin with, they attended the monthly core planning meetings. They didn’t seem intimidated by the experienced leadership sitting around the table. If they were, they certainly didn’t show it. After a very brief settling-in period, they began to speak up with growing confidence and skill. Some of their suggestions were adopted into practise.

The summit is a series of eight gatherings that focus on a different topic or aspect of daily living. During their tenure, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe experienced the first two gatherings – outdoor spaces and buildings, as well as transportation.

Working at Levac’s office, they assisted with preparing the individual folders containing background information for each gathering.

On the day of a gathering they sat at the registration table greeting participants as they arrived. They managed the sign-in process and carefully recorded the total number of people in attendance.

These very necessary and important tasks provided a myriad of opportunities for an intern to learn and grow – and they did.

But that wasn’t all. What a thrill it was to observe Smitiuch facilitating a small group discussion and later reporting its results to the large group. She was extremely confident.

Throughout it all, she displayed the attributes of a seasoned professional. She did it with verve and she did it with professionalism. She was a leader.

Early on in the planning stages, the core group was struggling to develop a visual presentation for display purposes at each gathering. With only one question for clarification, Rawcliffe quickly grasped what the group wanted and volunteered to create it. This was a huge offer. For Rawcliffe, the creation of such a display was relatively easy. He grew up with computers and technology. This was his time to shine. He left us with a beautiful photo montage of age-friendly practices.

Smitiuch and Rawcliffe finish their internship at the end of summer. They will be truly missed around the planning table.   

“As a summer intern at Dave Levac’s office, I had the opportunity to be involved in the summit,” said Smitiuch when asked to describe her internship. She went on to say, “the experience has given me insight into what an age-friendly community is and how important it is to have a community that is accessible for individuals of all ages.”

Rawcliffe agreed with the need for age-friendliness. He said, “many people feel age-friendliness simply means benefitting senior citizens, but this is far from the truth. Being a youth, I would never have thought of public parks and public transit as an age-friendly issue but they are.”

He added, “it was wonderful to take part with community members who are willing to work together to make a society for all ages.”

It is encouraging to think that when the students return to their homes, they will view the world through an age-friendly filter. As Rawcliffe pointed out, age-friendliness is not just for seniors. It’s for everyone.   

Smitiuch agreed.

“I would say that I certainly pay more attention on a daily basis to age-friendly aspects in our community. The age-friendly summit has given me the opportunity to be more understanding toward the aging population and I have gained a new perspective on the challenges they face in a community.”

It’s possible that Smitiuch and Rawcliffe will go on to challenge the people in their lives to also look at the world in different ways. We thank them for the time they spent in our community. They came to learn but we learned from them too.

We wish them every success in their futures.

Fond farewell.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Bringing a youthful perspective

Summer interns add value to GRCOA summit series

News Aug 27, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The core planning committee for the Age-Friendly Community Summit partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) meets once a month. This core group is comprised of several local retirees, representatives from the City of Brantford, County of Brant, Brantford Native Housing, Six Nations and New Credit, along with staff members from the offices of Levac, Brant MP Phil McColeman and GRCOA.   

The average age of committee members is 55-plus, but for the summer months, the committee was joined by two university students who brought a youthful perspective to the table.

Paige Smitiuch and Dalton Rawcliffe jumped right in.

One would think students would fetch and carry or spend their time at the photocopier.

Make no mistake, they did do some of that. Any working summer student will remember paying their dues at the copy machine and learning through experience that any task, big or small, is an important contribution to the overall success of the organization.

However, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe did so much more.   

To begin with, they attended the monthly core planning meetings. They didn’t seem intimidated by the experienced leadership sitting around the table. If they were, they certainly didn’t show it. After a very brief settling-in period, they began to speak up with growing confidence and skill. Some of their suggestions were adopted into practise.

The summit is a series of eight gatherings that focus on a different topic or aspect of daily living. During their tenure, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe experienced the first two gatherings – outdoor spaces and buildings, as well as transportation.

Working at Levac’s office, they assisted with preparing the individual folders containing background information for each gathering.

On the day of a gathering they sat at the registration table greeting participants as they arrived. They managed the sign-in process and carefully recorded the total number of people in attendance.

These very necessary and important tasks provided a myriad of opportunities for an intern to learn and grow – and they did.

But that wasn’t all. What a thrill it was to observe Smitiuch facilitating a small group discussion and later reporting its results to the large group. She was extremely confident.

Throughout it all, she displayed the attributes of a seasoned professional. She did it with verve and she did it with professionalism. She was a leader.

Early on in the planning stages, the core group was struggling to develop a visual presentation for display purposes at each gathering. With only one question for clarification, Rawcliffe quickly grasped what the group wanted and volunteered to create it. This was a huge offer. For Rawcliffe, the creation of such a display was relatively easy. He grew up with computers and technology. This was his time to shine. He left us with a beautiful photo montage of age-friendly practices.

Smitiuch and Rawcliffe finish their internship at the end of summer. They will be truly missed around the planning table.   

“As a summer intern at Dave Levac’s office, I had the opportunity to be involved in the summit,” said Smitiuch when asked to describe her internship. She went on to say, “the experience has given me insight into what an age-friendly community is and how important it is to have a community that is accessible for individuals of all ages.”

Rawcliffe agreed with the need for age-friendliness. He said, “many people feel age-friendliness simply means benefitting senior citizens, but this is far from the truth. Being a youth, I would never have thought of public parks and public transit as an age-friendly issue but they are.”

He added, “it was wonderful to take part with community members who are willing to work together to make a society for all ages.”

It is encouraging to think that when the students return to their homes, they will view the world through an age-friendly filter. As Rawcliffe pointed out, age-friendliness is not just for seniors. It’s for everyone.   

Smitiuch agreed.

“I would say that I certainly pay more attention on a daily basis to age-friendly aspects in our community. The age-friendly summit has given me the opportunity to be more understanding toward the aging population and I have gained a new perspective on the challenges they face in a community.”

It’s possible that Smitiuch and Rawcliffe will go on to challenge the people in their lives to also look at the world in different ways. We thank them for the time they spent in our community. They came to learn but we learned from them too.

We wish them every success in their futures.

Fond farewell.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Bringing a youthful perspective

Summer interns add value to GRCOA summit series

News Aug 27, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The core planning committee for the Age-Friendly Community Summit partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) meets once a month. This core group is comprised of several local retirees, representatives from the City of Brantford, County of Brant, Brantford Native Housing, Six Nations and New Credit, along with staff members from the offices of Levac, Brant MP Phil McColeman and GRCOA.   

The average age of committee members is 55-plus, but for the summer months, the committee was joined by two university students who brought a youthful perspective to the table.

Paige Smitiuch and Dalton Rawcliffe jumped right in.

One would think students would fetch and carry or spend their time at the photocopier.

Make no mistake, they did do some of that. Any working summer student will remember paying their dues at the copy machine and learning through experience that any task, big or small, is an important contribution to the overall success of the organization.

However, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe did so much more.   

To begin with, they attended the monthly core planning meetings. They didn’t seem intimidated by the experienced leadership sitting around the table. If they were, they certainly didn’t show it. After a very brief settling-in period, they began to speak up with growing confidence and skill. Some of their suggestions were adopted into practise.

The summit is a series of eight gatherings that focus on a different topic or aspect of daily living. During their tenure, Smitiuch and Rawcliffe experienced the first two gatherings – outdoor spaces and buildings, as well as transportation.

Working at Levac’s office, they assisted with preparing the individual folders containing background information for each gathering.

On the day of a gathering they sat at the registration table greeting participants as they arrived. They managed the sign-in process and carefully recorded the total number of people in attendance.

These very necessary and important tasks provided a myriad of opportunities for an intern to learn and grow – and they did.

But that wasn’t all. What a thrill it was to observe Smitiuch facilitating a small group discussion and later reporting its results to the large group. She was extremely confident.

Throughout it all, she displayed the attributes of a seasoned professional. She did it with verve and she did it with professionalism. She was a leader.

Early on in the planning stages, the core group was struggling to develop a visual presentation for display purposes at each gathering. With only one question for clarification, Rawcliffe quickly grasped what the group wanted and volunteered to create it. This was a huge offer. For Rawcliffe, the creation of such a display was relatively easy. He grew up with computers and technology. This was his time to shine. He left us with a beautiful photo montage of age-friendly practices.

Smitiuch and Rawcliffe finish their internship at the end of summer. They will be truly missed around the planning table.   

“As a summer intern at Dave Levac’s office, I had the opportunity to be involved in the summit,” said Smitiuch when asked to describe her internship. She went on to say, “the experience has given me insight into what an age-friendly community is and how important it is to have a community that is accessible for individuals of all ages.”

Rawcliffe agreed with the need for age-friendliness. He said, “many people feel age-friendliness simply means benefitting senior citizens, but this is far from the truth. Being a youth, I would never have thought of public parks and public transit as an age-friendly issue but they are.”

He added, “it was wonderful to take part with community members who are willing to work together to make a society for all ages.”

It is encouraging to think that when the students return to their homes, they will view the world through an age-friendly filter. As Rawcliffe pointed out, age-friendliness is not just for seniors. It’s for everyone.   

Smitiuch agreed.

“I would say that I certainly pay more attention on a daily basis to age-friendly aspects in our community. The age-friendly summit has given me the opportunity to be more understanding toward the aging population and I have gained a new perspective on the challenges they face in a community.”

It’s possible that Smitiuch and Rawcliffe will go on to challenge the people in their lives to also look at the world in different ways. We thank them for the time they spent in our community. They came to learn but we learned from them too.

We wish them every success in their futures.

Fond farewell.