FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Signature event’ an overwhelming success

Opinion Jul 23, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The power of networking is alive and well. A casual conversation between colleagues during a community breakfast some months ago led to the decision to host a “signature event” with a popular keynote speaker.  

Amazingly, things fell into place. Sponsors were identified and volunteers signed on. From the beginning, it was decided the event had to be “age-friendly” and it had to be affordable.

Judging by the smiles of guests as they left the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) on June 24 was an outstanding success. More than 400 gathered to hear guest speaker Hazel McCallion give the keynote address. When she finished, they all rose to their feet in a standing ovation of respect and admiration.  

What a relief. After months of discussion and planning, everything had come together and the people responded with enthusiasm.

As a non-profit organization, the GRCOA relies on sponsors and volunteers to carry out its mission. Hosting an event of this magnitude could not have happened without the support of many individuals and sponsors.  

The GRCOA was in the enviable position of having several volunteers clamouring to be a part of the excitement. Why?

It might be because the GRCOA is changing how people look at aging. When we are younger, we can’t wait to grow up. But we never look forward to being old. Encouraging people to look at the world through an age-friendly filter and listening to people discuss their lived experience – a common theme resonating through the organization is how exciting it is to look ahead to growing older.  

There are amazing role models to aspire to. Who wouldn’t want to be as healthy and spirited as Hazel McCallion?  

Those who choose to volunteer with the GRCOA quickly realize that they have a voice and that their opinions are valued. Discussions centred on “lived experience” serve as teaching points for others wanting to understand what to expect as they age and grow older.  

The core group of volunteers involved with the Council on Aging are all retired. The volunteers were involved with planning the AGM and attended several meetings to ensure every detail was taken into account. Some of them arrived early on the day of the event to assist with setup, while others stayed behind after to ensure an expedient cleanup process. Volunteers worked at the registration table to ensure that people were warmly welcomed and other volunteers distributed programs and assisted people to their seats. They all delivered.  

With a goal to make the event affordable to all, sponsors also rose to the challenge.

The GRCOA is extremely grateful to event sponsors the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, Brant News, Brokerlink, Intrigue Brantford, Millards, Nancy Tomkins, Revera Inc., Sweet Bakery and Takacs Studio.  

GRCOA president Lucy Marco acted as master of ceremonies for the evening. She kept everyone entertained as the crowd waited for dignitaries including Mayor Chris Friel, Mayor Ron Eddy, MPP Dave Levac, MP Phil McColeman and keynote speaker McCallion to arrive. Marco’s candid remarks described the work of the GRCOA. Her excitement and enthusiasm were evident as she described the vision of an age-friendly community.  

An “age-friendly” community provides safe, comfortable and respectful living for one and all, whether the age is five or 105.

The World Health Organization description of an age-friendly community optimizes opportunities for health, participation and security to enhance quality of life as people age. Municipalities are encouraged to develop policies, services, settings and structures to support and enable people to age actively.

The World Health Organization goes a step further and breaks daily living into eight major categories: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information and community support and health services.

The voices of “lived experience” provide the “filter” to be used when considering change to existing facilities, processes, procedures and services.

Hazel McCallion certainly agreed that those voices must be listened to and commended the GRCOA on its work and recognized the dedication of its volunteers.

And so, to the sponsors, volunteers, board members and staff, the GRCOA annual general meeting couldn’t have happened without you. Together, we will all continue to work toward an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant. We look forward to the day when visitors to our community will drive past highway signs that welcome them to an “age-friendly community.”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Signature event’ an overwhelming success

GRCOA continues work to build an age-friendly Brant

Opinion Jul 23, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The power of networking is alive and well. A casual conversation between colleagues during a community breakfast some months ago led to the decision to host a “signature event” with a popular keynote speaker.  

Amazingly, things fell into place. Sponsors were identified and volunteers signed on. From the beginning, it was decided the event had to be “age-friendly” and it had to be affordable.

Judging by the smiles of guests as they left the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) on June 24 was an outstanding success. More than 400 gathered to hear guest speaker Hazel McCallion give the keynote address. When she finished, they all rose to their feet in a standing ovation of respect and admiration.  

What a relief. After months of discussion and planning, everything had come together and the people responded with enthusiasm.

As a non-profit organization, the GRCOA relies on sponsors and volunteers to carry out its mission. Hosting an event of this magnitude could not have happened without the support of many individuals and sponsors.  

The GRCOA was in the enviable position of having several volunteers clamouring to be a part of the excitement. Why?

It might be because the GRCOA is changing how people look at aging. When we are younger, we can’t wait to grow up. But we never look forward to being old. Encouraging people to look at the world through an age-friendly filter and listening to people discuss their lived experience – a common theme resonating through the organization is how exciting it is to look ahead to growing older.  

There are amazing role models to aspire to. Who wouldn’t want to be as healthy and spirited as Hazel McCallion?  

Those who choose to volunteer with the GRCOA quickly realize that they have a voice and that their opinions are valued. Discussions centred on “lived experience” serve as teaching points for others wanting to understand what to expect as they age and grow older.  

The core group of volunteers involved with the Council on Aging are all retired. The volunteers were involved with planning the AGM and attended several meetings to ensure every detail was taken into account. Some of them arrived early on the day of the event to assist with setup, while others stayed behind after to ensure an expedient cleanup process. Volunteers worked at the registration table to ensure that people were warmly welcomed and other volunteers distributed programs and assisted people to their seats. They all delivered.  

With a goal to make the event affordable to all, sponsors also rose to the challenge.

The GRCOA is extremely grateful to event sponsors the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, Brant News, Brokerlink, Intrigue Brantford, Millards, Nancy Tomkins, Revera Inc., Sweet Bakery and Takacs Studio.  

GRCOA president Lucy Marco acted as master of ceremonies for the evening. She kept everyone entertained as the crowd waited for dignitaries including Mayor Chris Friel, Mayor Ron Eddy, MPP Dave Levac, MP Phil McColeman and keynote speaker McCallion to arrive. Marco’s candid remarks described the work of the GRCOA. Her excitement and enthusiasm were evident as she described the vision of an age-friendly community.  

An “age-friendly” community provides safe, comfortable and respectful living for one and all, whether the age is five or 105.

The World Health Organization description of an age-friendly community optimizes opportunities for health, participation and security to enhance quality of life as people age. Municipalities are encouraged to develop policies, services, settings and structures to support and enable people to age actively.

The World Health Organization goes a step further and breaks daily living into eight major categories: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information and community support and health services.

The voices of “lived experience” provide the “filter” to be used when considering change to existing facilities, processes, procedures and services.

Hazel McCallion certainly agreed that those voices must be listened to and commended the GRCOA on its work and recognized the dedication of its volunteers.

And so, to the sponsors, volunteers, board members and staff, the GRCOA annual general meeting couldn’t have happened without you. Together, we will all continue to work toward an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant. We look forward to the day when visitors to our community will drive past highway signs that welcome them to an “age-friendly community.”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: ‘Signature event’ an overwhelming success

GRCOA continues work to build an age-friendly Brant

Opinion Jul 23, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The power of networking is alive and well. A casual conversation between colleagues during a community breakfast some months ago led to the decision to host a “signature event” with a popular keynote speaker.  

Amazingly, things fell into place. Sponsors were identified and volunteers signed on. From the beginning, it was decided the event had to be “age-friendly” and it had to be affordable.

Judging by the smiles of guests as they left the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) on June 24 was an outstanding success. More than 400 gathered to hear guest speaker Hazel McCallion give the keynote address. When she finished, they all rose to their feet in a standing ovation of respect and admiration.  

What a relief. After months of discussion and planning, everything had come together and the people responded with enthusiasm.

As a non-profit organization, the GRCOA relies on sponsors and volunteers to carry out its mission. Hosting an event of this magnitude could not have happened without the support of many individuals and sponsors.  

The GRCOA was in the enviable position of having several volunteers clamouring to be a part of the excitement. Why?

It might be because the GRCOA is changing how people look at aging. When we are younger, we can’t wait to grow up. But we never look forward to being old. Encouraging people to look at the world through an age-friendly filter and listening to people discuss their lived experience – a common theme resonating through the organization is how exciting it is to look ahead to growing older.  

There are amazing role models to aspire to. Who wouldn’t want to be as healthy and spirited as Hazel McCallion?  

Those who choose to volunteer with the GRCOA quickly realize that they have a voice and that their opinions are valued. Discussions centred on “lived experience” serve as teaching points for others wanting to understand what to expect as they age and grow older.  

The core group of volunteers involved with the Council on Aging are all retired. The volunteers were involved with planning the AGM and attended several meetings to ensure every detail was taken into account. Some of them arrived early on the day of the event to assist with setup, while others stayed behind after to ensure an expedient cleanup process. Volunteers worked at the registration table to ensure that people were warmly welcomed and other volunteers distributed programs and assisted people to their seats. They all delivered.  

With a goal to make the event affordable to all, sponsors also rose to the challenge.

The GRCOA is extremely grateful to event sponsors the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn, Brant News, Brokerlink, Intrigue Brantford, Millards, Nancy Tomkins, Revera Inc., Sweet Bakery and Takacs Studio.  

GRCOA president Lucy Marco acted as master of ceremonies for the evening. She kept everyone entertained as the crowd waited for dignitaries including Mayor Chris Friel, Mayor Ron Eddy, MPP Dave Levac, MP Phil McColeman and keynote speaker McCallion to arrive. Marco’s candid remarks described the work of the GRCOA. Her excitement and enthusiasm were evident as she described the vision of an age-friendly community.  

An “age-friendly” community provides safe, comfortable and respectful living for one and all, whether the age is five or 105.

The World Health Organization description of an age-friendly community optimizes opportunities for health, participation and security to enhance quality of life as people age. Municipalities are encouraged to develop policies, services, settings and structures to support and enable people to age actively.

The World Health Organization goes a step further and breaks daily living into eight major categories: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information and community support and health services.

The voices of “lived experience” provide the “filter” to be used when considering change to existing facilities, processes, procedures and services.

Hazel McCallion certainly agreed that those voices must be listened to and commended the GRCOA on its work and recognized the dedication of its volunteers.

And so, to the sponsors, volunteers, board members and staff, the GRCOA annual general meeting couldn’t have happened without you. Together, we will all continue to work toward an age-friendly City of Brantford and County of Brant. We look forward to the day when visitors to our community will drive past highway signs that welcome them to an “age-friendly community.”