Four Decades of Golden

Local seniors’ society celebrates 40 years

By Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Contributor

Ken Saunderson, Vice President of the Golden Years Society (GYS), Kathy Yurdiga, MP David Yurdiga and Joan Furber, President of the GYS, at the 40th anniversary celebration for the local seniors’ society on November 9. Photo by Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

Ken Saunderson, Vice President of the Golden Years Society (GYS), Kathy Yurdiga, MP David Yurdiga and Joan Furber, President of the GYS, at the 40th anniversary celebration for the local seniors’ society on November 9. Photo by Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

Did you know the Fort McMurray Golden Years Society’s first home was at Heritage Park? And, that it was founded on November 9, 1976? In addition, the Society started with only 18 members.

Today, the vibrant group for local seniors boasts 311 members, many of whom were present to mark the Society’s 40th anniversary on November 9.

MP David Yurdiga, Vaughn Jessome, constituency assistant representing MLAs Brian Jean and Tany Yao, and Lance Bussieres representing Mayor and Council were in attendance for the milestone.

Open to seniors 55 and over, Golden Years is located on Main Street downtown, and is funded by the United Way of Fort McMurray. It has evolved from a monthly meeting and few activities like crib and bowling model to become an active group volunteering in the community.

The 14-member volunteer Board of Directors ensures the society’s mission to provide wellness and fellowship to local seniors flourishes via many activities such as “card nights, weekly luncheons, bocce ball, bowling, arts and crafts, outings, social events, games, senior month activities, choir and health clinics,” as per officials.

“If the society didn’t exist many of us would just be sitting at home wondering what to do with our time. It helps our spirit exist. And, we couldn’t do this without volunteers, who are the lifeline of our organization,” said Ken Saunderson, vice president, Golden Years, and emcee for the celebration.

“We are so happy to be celebrating 40 years. Thank you to everyone here,” said Joan Furber, president, Golden Years Society.

“Congratulations Golden Years. Our community is stronger because of you. And, we are stronger, together,” said MP Yurdiga, who presented a congratulatory plaque to Furber.

Vaughn Jessome, echoed similar sentiments passing on congratulations from both MLAs who were in Legislature for the fall session.

“Thank you and congratulations to the past and present board members who worked tirelessly to provide a place for seniors to gather to chat about positive things about life, or what ails them. I remember when two of the founders of the group – Germain Routhier and Olive Woodward came to see then Mayor Guy Boutilier for the Golden Years building, they wanted the land, they wanted it now, and they wanted it for free. Needless to say they left feeling a lot lighter,” Jessome recalled.

“My personal experience with the Golden Years Society goes back to the eighties when I came to town as the chief training officer for the Air Cadets. As part of our civic duty, we used to go down to Heritage Park, and the kids would help the seniors. Olive Woodward became like a second mother to me for 30 years,” added Jessome, who also presented a congratulatory plaque on behalf of the MLAs to the group.

A cake-cutting ceremony was followed by lunch for all.

Additional information about the group can be found via: http://www.goldenyearssociety.ca

– Connect Weekly –