The Happy Oldtimers seniors’ group has been an integral contributing force since the early 1970s, including being instrumental in fundraising efforts to build the current Community Hall and Seniors Centre — the place the group calls home.
“They used to meet in a church that was on the main street and then when the town decided to build a community centre the seniors did a lot of fundraising and provided a fair chunk of money for that building,” said Elaine King, president of the Happy Oldtimers or H.O.T. seniors, which some have jokingly dubbed the group.
According to King, the whole attitude or verve of the organization is its activity within the community and abroad, which has always been a part of the group’s history.
King said she has been asked by community members how she gets seniors to do the things they do and her answer has always been the seniors just do it. “It’s the attitude that was somehow in this town,” she added.
“I think as a seniors’ organization, what they did — now remember they were much younger — they travelled a lot. They went on week-long trips to the U.S. Now, that whole group is in the eighties and nineties, so they even hesitate now to go out of their building because of the difficulty and mobility but we’re trying to inspire a lot of younger folks to join us and we have a few — 55 is the age to come and we have a few now that are joining at 55 and that really helps. It even helps the older folks, it keeps them going,” said King, adding the group is over 100 members strong.
Happy Oldtimers provide opportunities for Picture Butte seniors, King said, with fundraising efforts such as casinos to raise money to go towards travelling subsidies for bus fares and much more.
The group also holds a bingo, exercise classes and outreach activities with the community, including a soup and sandwich meet and greet and a pancake breakfast/supper.
“We feel that it’s good to be a part of the community and let the community know that we are a part of them,” said King.
The group has also donated funds to Picture Butte Emergency Services for new equipment, to the Picture Butte High School (PBHS) band program and the Prairie Tractor and Engine Museum Society.
Looking ahead to the future, King said she hopes the Happy Oldtimers will someday soon elect a new president, so new eyes can provide new inspiration for the group.
“I think it’s always nice for seniors to be recognized for what they’ve done for our community and for our lives. I’m talking about my 95-year-old people that are still active and still giving me advice. I value that. I think there’s such a tremendous history and wisdom out of our seniors,” said King.
Our group is fun and funny, said King, and they’re happy.
One other thing the group does, according to King, is the Happy Oldtimers provide a bursary each year to four students at PBHS.
“We have allowed for four $1,000 bursaries to students who are coming into the health system,” said King, adding the bursaries are for students going into nursing, lab work, as an Emergency Medical Technician or in other related fields.
Seniors’ Week 2014: “Seniors Rock!” is June 2–8