You are invited to become a member of our Community Centre. All ages are welcome! Enjoy some of our regular weekly activities as well as our Special Events. Or, if you have a skill or talent to share, you can start your own group within the Centre. Choir? Knitting? Dance group? There are lots of possibilities!
Members own the Centre
The Centre has always operated as a non-profit organization. The building and land is 100% owned and run by its member volunteers. There are no paid employees, and at this time, no grant monies.
The current membership owes much to the original folks who brought the building and membership into being, as well as to all the dedicated past Board members who have devoted much of their time and energy keeping the Centre vibrant. Keep reading to find out how the Centre came into being, and how it has transformed.
In the 1960’s, there wasn’t much for seniors to do in Summerland. Locals Harry Dracas and his wife Ida were appointed by the BC government to consult with seniors in town to find out what they would enjoy doing in terms of a social life.
As a result of these consultations, Harry and his group of seniors obtained $200 from the government to start a “senior’s drop in”. They started off by renting the I.O.O.F. Hall with the funds. Seniors began to participate in dances, play carpet bowling, shuffleboard, and then eventually Bingo.
After six years at I.O.O.F., however, the membership grew too large for the space. Plus the rent kept going up! (Sound familiar?)
In 1975, after much consultation, Summerland Council offered the group a piece of land to build on. The senior’s group received a grant from the BC NDP government of the day, and they organized other fundraising events as well. The building officially opened on August 5, 1976, as the Summerland Seniors Drop In Centre. With continued fundraising, just over a year later, the mortgage was paid off. Plus, the building was valued at almost double what it cost them to build!
That the building on Brown Street exists today is a tribute to the many senior volunteers who had the necessary professional skills to raise it. They donated their time and skills, and only hired workers to do jobs they could not do themselves.
A large number of people are enjoying what the initial amazing group of seniors worked so hard to build.
Things are different these days concerning the membership and seniors’ needs. There have been many seniors complexes that have their own recreation programs. As a result, many don’t have to leave their buildings to enjoy recreation, music, and many other things. So the building and membership needs have changed.
In around 2018, then President Sean McCarthy and the Board decided that in order to remain relevant into the future, the Centre had to be re-imagined and opened to the wider community. It needed a new focus, a new name to meet that focus, and new energy from the community. Thanks to their vision, and a little trial and error along with hard work, the present Summerland Community Centre came into being!
The current Board is taking their vision and moving with it into the heart of our community to help make it a family-friendly and inexpensive place to gather and enjoy doing things together.