Rockin’ and Talkin’ with the Clinton Seniors’ Association

To attract members, organizations have to know what people want

January brings the snow,

Makes our feet and fingers glow.

Sara Coleridge

So winter has arrived, with snow and ice and cold weather, and sometimes sunshine which makes the whole world sparkle and twinkle and look beautiful, but it can be dangerous. Be mindful that pets cannot withstand intense cold for too long, and be sure they have a warm shelter.

Road conditions are volatile. Surfaces can quickly change from satisfactory to deadly. Drive with extreme caution, and be mindful of freezing rain and black ice, sudden snow storms, and changing light. There may be inexperienced drivers on the road, or drivers who have been drinking. Expect the unexpected, be cautious, and stay well and safe.

I hope you enjoyed the festive season and had a very happy Christmas. Best wishes to all for a wonderful New Year.

At a meeting this fall, a Clinton Seniors’ Association member asked the question “Why do we have a Clinton Seniors’ Association? What do we get out of it [belonging to this group]?”

The group was polled, member by member, for an answer. The comments were varied, but had a common theme: socialization, and being a group that is aware of, and willing and able to respond to, the needs of the community. One comment stayed in my mind. It came in the form of a question: “Why do you think you have to get something out of it?” Should we go through life always expecting to be rewarded and recognized for our actions?

We want new members in our organization. We welcome them. They bring new energy, new ideas, new insights. So it follows that it is essential to understand the reasons people want to join an organization in the first place. Why? Because if an organization can meet the needs of prospective members, it is more likely to attract and maintain a strong membership. People join organizations for a combination of reasons, and it’s important to realize that fact.

The most common reason why people join an organization is because they want to be involved. So we—the Clinton Seniors’ Association—should be aware of the opportunities for involvement our organization provides. If the above statement is true, then it’s important to give that new member an opportunity to be on a committee or to be part of planning a portion of an upcoming event. It would be helpful to have a conversation with that new member about their prior experience and their skill sets before determining the tasks we would offer her or him.

Many members of the Clinton Seniors’ Association are members of other organizations in Clinton, and have passion, a love of humanity, and an innate desire to lend a hand. They work enthusiastically, giving their gift of time in the belief that their actions are constructive and will help build up and strengthen the community. Involvement provides an opportunity for people to share their lifetime’s-worth of experience and knowledge and to give back to the community.

People join an organization because they want to meet people. Members of organizations are often volunteers, and if you ask why they do volunteer work they will tell you they derive numerous benefits from it. Volunteering allows us to meet people from all walks of life. Some of these are people wanting to help others, while some others are needing help themselves. Organizations provide a place to create new friendships, a way to establish a connection to the community, and a feeling that we belong. So we should make an effort to make new members feel valued and comfortable through introductions and exchanges at meetings.

Some people want to develop skills. They join an organization because they want to hone their skills as leaders or just build up their skills in other areas, and they hope to gain the opportunity to do this from involvement.

Finally, some join a group because they believe in the cause/purpose of the organization. It would seem reasonable to suggest that if you want to be part of an organization you will consider a cause close to your heart and contact an appropriate organization to offer your services. Every organization has a mission and goal. For some organizations that mandate is more clearly defined than for others. For example, an organization to develop and promote minor hockey leaves no speculation as to its goal. Members of the Clinton Seniors’ Association may feel that they have no well-defined goal, but there is no doubt that they have a passion for the organization, and the majority would be hard-pressed to agree to disband the group.

Haven’t we all heard that in giving we get back? Our feelings of well-being are enhanced, and it makes us feel more positive towards others.

It is strange but very true—giving just enriches you.

If you give a friendly deed, if you plant a friendship seed,

If you share a laugh or song, if your giving rights a wrong.

The joy you feel and share, makes more goodness everywhere.

It is strange but very true—giving just enriches you.

Author unknown

Recruitment of new members is an ongoing process. If the Clinton Seniors’ Association stays energized and excited about the work it is doing, the enthusiasm and obvious pleasure taken in being with one another may resonate with those in the community who seek fun and fellowship, and the knowledge that their involvement makes a difference.

The Clinton Seniors’ Association had their annual Christmas Party on Dec. 3. In lieu of exchanging gifts with one another, each member made a contribution of money towards a charity determined by a member in a draw. Alice Crosson designated Operation Smile as her charity of choice, and the CSA is pleased to send $270 to that organization. Thank you to our dinner guests, who also contributed to this cause. Well done!

The next Seniors’ lunch will be on Jan. 2 at the Lodge pub. The next regular meeting will be on Jan. 16 following lunch at the Clinton Seniors’ Centre, 217 Smith Avenue. Come and join us!

[Journal note]: Happy birthday to our wonderful Clinton Seniors columnist Zee Chevalier on Jan. 29. Many happy returns!

Life isn’t about your age. Life is about living. So when your birthday comes be thankful for the year that has just past, and anticipate with a happy heart what the coming year will bring.

Catherine Pulsifer

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