The Happy Gang 50+ Society of Strathmore is open for use and once again is helping to keep local seniors active and social.
The organization, which has been operational since February 1967, has previously had to cease operations through the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Lorraine Bishop, who spoke on behalf of the Happy Gang, the facility was only able to officially reopen in August.
On Oct. 14 the Happy Gang met for their annual general meeting to discuss their board of directors and host a barbeque for members.
“It’s an annual general meeting where we ratify the board of directors – president, secretary and treasurer. Because we’re registered with the government (as a not for profit), we have to always send returns and financial statements to Alberta and to the federal government,” said Bishop.
The Happy Gang has maintained a membership of over 180 over the past two years and advocates that their facilities are very well used.
Since their reopening, if members wished to make use of the facilities, they must be confirmed to have been previously vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s been running for a while, but anytime anybody comes in, we check them off – their vaccination proof and in somebody comes with no vaccination, they can’t come in. That’s the only way we control the ability to stay open,” said Bishop.
She added ideally, members are able to return to participating in normal functions sooner rather than later.
“It depends on COVID-19 entirely. We’d like to be able to have potluck suppers once a month, that type of thing, but we can’t have that until all the restrictions are lifted,” said Bishop.
“If we weren’t restricted by COVID-19, we like to do things as a group, go for a meal somewhere or go to a play … but due to COVID-19 we haven’t been doing any of that and we won’t start until we have a committee and this is over.”
The current space dedicated for the Happy Gang, sits attached to the Strathmore Municipal Library and is leased from the Town of Strathmore at little cost to the organization.
Regarding the future of the organization during and post-pandemic, Bishop said simply she hopes to see monthly potlucks once again allowed to be hosted, as well as the organization’s continued existence.
“Hopefully we can keep operating, but that will depend if people keep their masks on.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times