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These seniors aren't letting pandemic slow them down

Askennonia continues to offer a wide range of in-person and virtual programming

A Midland seniors’ organization hasn’t let a global pandemic stop its work.

With classes outdoors and via Zoom, the Askennonia Senior Centre continues to offer a wide range of unique programs to its thriving membership.

“The programs are going very well,” said Judy Contin, the centre’s executive director.

Since August, Askennonia has been hosting a wide range of programming at the picnic pavillon in Little Lake Park. From yoga, zumba and woodcarving to line dancing, tai chi and ‘hustle muscle,’ the pavillon has become a sort of second home to the centre that had to close its North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre base in mid-March as the pandemic hit.

“We’re still carrying on at the picnic pavillon as weather permits,” said Contin, noting markers placed on the picnic shelter’s floor help ensure each participant has his or her own space.

“We are still able to social distance," she added. "We go with eight feet rather than six feet."

As for what happens to the outdoor groups when the weather gets too cold, Contin said they’re still not 100 per cent sure.

“It’s going to depend on what happens out there in our community. Indoors is totally different from outdoors,” she said, noting that while parts of the recreation centre have reopened, it’s not known how long it will take before Askennonia can return given the demographic it serves.

“We’ll probably wait unti the new year.”

But the centre, which has close to 1,300 members, has also established a strong virtual presence with its writing, ukulele and art therapy groups, French classes along with other offerings via the worldwide web.

As well, Askennonia is offering a helping hand to members who are having difficulty connecting with the online get-togethers.

“We have free tablets available for people who need them,” Contin said. “We want everybody out there who needs a tablet to be able to stay engaged. We’ve also developed some how-to videos that are really good at explaining how a tablet works. They’re really nice quality and easy to understand.”

For the time being, the centre is gearing up for next week’s virtual annual general meeting slated for Tuesday at 10 a.m. via Zoom.

Those wishing to request a tablet are asked to call the centre at 705-526-7609 and leave a message with their name and phone number. For information on the AGM, click here.

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Community Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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