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‘They become your family’: Kelowna social centre for seniors a hub of activity, friendship

WATCH ABOVE: Community reporter Shay Galor visits the Kelowna Senior Citizens’ Society, a social club that offers all types of activities for seniors such as bingo, bridge, dancing, accordion playing and mahjong.

From bridge to bingo, accordion playing and dancing, there’s always something to do at the Kelowna Senior Citizens’ Society, the longest-running senior social club in the city.

“We were founded in the early 1950s when the B.C. government was trying to get senior citizens’ activities going,” said Cecilia Buckley, president of the society.

The club is located on Richter Street in the downtown core and offers activities most days of the week.

“We have bingo on Saturdays, accordion club and dancing Tuesday nights, bridge on Mondays and Fridays at noon and mahjong on Wednesday afternoons,” Buckley said.

There are other activities as well, such as rug hooking, lectures and chair yoga.

The goal of the club is mainly social – getting seniors out of their homes and participating in activities that encourage collaboration and friendship.

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“When I joined I was fairly young and I joined because some of my family members wanted me to go to help them play bingo and I just sort of kept on coming,” said bingo volunteer Marion McCallum. “My husband loved playing and I like playing and have met so many people.”

McCallum said attending the club is a great way to keep the mind active and connect with others.

“I’ve made some long-lasting friends that have lasted easily 20 years,” McCallum said.

Another member and volunteer, Irene Nadain, turned to the centre when she needed to fill a void with the passing of her husband.

“I just wandered in here one night in 2004 after my husband died,” Nadain remembers. “He said he would never come to a senior centre because he doesn’t want to be with all these old people. I wandered in and discovered they were a lot younger than he was.”

Nadian has been returning to the centre ever since, attending the Tuesday evening accordion dance.

“I love it,” Nadian said. “They really do become your family after a while.”

Club membership is only $5 per year with an additional $3 drop-in rate per event.

“You’re more than welcome to come and try two or three times,” said volunteer Lillian Poulton. “And, if it’s something that you like, then you join up and be a member.”

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The Kelowna Senior Citizens’ Society is always looking for new members as well as accordion players for the Tuesday evening festivities.

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