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HOMETOWN HERO: Seniors Centre president helping group emerge from pandemic

Doug Service is the president of the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Society
Directors of the Quesnel Seniors’ Society. (Back row left to right) Linda LeComte (Director and Booking Agent); Nancy Preston (Director and Memberships); Tish Tunney (Secretary); Brenda Bare (Director); Doug Service (President); and Mike McKie (Director). (Front row left to right) Rae Daggitt (Past President); Jude Kennedy (Director); Marion Gordon (Director); Dave Peeke-Vout (2nd Vice-President) and Marj Hessels (Treasurer) Missing Directors Mary Maglio and Carol Krasniuk. (Photo Submitted)

“A solid B-plus.”

That’s the grade Quesnel and District Seniors’ Society president Doug Service gives his group for their performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first year of the pandemic was really hurtful,” Service said.

“We were shut down for six months, but we still had bills to pay. We started being able to operate them as things opened up.”

The Quesnel Seniors’ Centre is now beginning to return to full programming, including crib and canasta on Tuesday afternoons, bridge on Wednesdays, and the return of bell ringers and a cappella music groups.

They also are open each day from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“We started keeping the roundtable going during the daytime,” Service said.

“That kept everyone involved… We feel now that hopefully all this stuff is over, we’ll get a better drop in rate.”

The centre will also be hosting a garage sale, set to take place the same day as the first Quesnel Farmers’ Market of the year, on Saturday, May 7.

The centre is run entirely by volunteers, and Service said bookings are starting to pick up. A huge help has been the vaccine clinics hosted out of the centre. Clinics are still running out of the centre, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Service said it wasn’t the money from rentals making the difference, but the publicity and community visibility which has really helped.

READ MORE: Quesnel COVID-19 vaccine clinic moving to Seniors’ Centre

“We want people coming in,” he said.

“Which is why we have the flu clinic in the fall, we give it to Northern Health for nothing, because people come in and get used to this place.”

The centre is also looking to bring in more events, as their members undergo a generational shift. Service said there are differences in preferences between older members of the Seniors’ Society, and the new, younger members joining now.

“I think there is a bit of a generational divide,” Service said.

“I have friends who are seniors, but they are younger than I am, and they don’t like to be called seniors.”

One of the proposed new events is a golf tournament.

Service thanked everyone who volunteers at the centre, and anyone 40 years or older is welcome to join the society. A new executive was elected earlier this year.

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READ MORE: HOMETOWN HERO: CCRR volunteer describes emotions of her work

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Doug Service is the President of the Quesnel Seniors’ Society. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)