Departing HUB board member Bernadette Rymer (left) receives a gift from chair Juanita Little as thanks for her work. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Volunteers get high praise at Ashcroft HUB Society AGM

It was rough going at first, but the HUB is busier than ever, with more additions all the time.

The Ashcroft HUB Society held its second Annual General Meeting on October 2, with society chair Juanita Little welcoming the dozen or so attendees. “I don’t know where this second year has gone,” she said, before thanking all the volunteers who hold classes at the facility, do maintenance and general work, and more. “We couldn’t do the HUB without you.”

She said that the HUB continues to grow (“I didn’t think we could keep growing so fast!”), and pointed to the number of new businesses and groups that have set up shop at the HUB within the past year. “Every time I turn around there’s something new here.” She noted, however, that while the camps scheduled for the summer went ahead as planned, they were affected by the wildfires in the area.

On a more positive note, she said that the HUB threw open its doors to everyone during the period when smoke was heaviest, giving people a place where they could go to exercise and socialize in safety. Vicky Trill, the HUB’s executive director, added that “People were cooped up and recovering after the fire, so we said ‘Come enjoy our spaces’, and people did. It was a busy, busy place, and people enjoyed it.”

Little detailed some of the many activities going on at the HUB, including dance and fitness classes, yoga, teen nights, pickleball, courses offered by Thompson Rivers University, rehearsals by the Sage Sound Singers, the Desert Bells handbell choir, the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society, and more. “People say ‘Nothing happens here,’ and I want to tap them on the shoulder and say ‘Hello?’”

She noted that the HUB is trying to sustain itself, and is applying for grants. “We have ongoing costs such as hydro, and we have done upgrades to the gym. We’re now looking to make the building more accessible.” It was also noted that the HUB building is aging, so it is in the back of people’s minds that something major, such as roofing or heating, could give up the ghost.

Trill spoke about the hard work to get the HUB going back in 2015. “Most people would have quit. It’s hard, and sometimes we get frustrated. At the beginning I didn’t know where to go, who to ask. We’re still working through it; but thank you to the board for not giving up. It’s really worth it. It’s been fun to see the building go from empty to nearly full.”

She noted that there are more than 1,500 accesses to services each month at the HUB (not including the businesses), and commented on the thousands of hours of volunteer effort that go into keeping the HUB operating. “The heart of the HUB is volunteerism. It makes the HUB the HUB. People take ownership of it.”

Board members Stefanie Walker and Bernadette Rymer had previously announced their intention of stepping down, and they were both offered a hearty thank you for their work. Sandy Agatiello and Gerry Peters both put their names forward as directors, and were accepted.

Rymer, accepting a parting gift, said “I’ve received so much more than I’ve given. The HUB creates so many different opportunities for so many people. It’s such a gift to the community and the area.”

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