Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The president of the Seaside Recreation and Community Centre Association is making a desperate plea for people to step up and become part of the executive to help run the Seaside Centre.
Sandy Cross has organized a special general meeting for Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the centre, which is in Beach Meadows, Queens County, in a last-ditch attempt to find volunteers.
She has decided to step down after 27 years of volunteering at the centre. Cross currently is the only active board member remaining after a few other members resigned for various reasons. The only other member is away on maternity leave.
Cross said if no one steps up to the plate, the building that belongs to the association may have to be sold.
"I've tried several times to have meetings and get people out and get them to step-up, but no one has shown up," she lamented to LighthouseNOW. "I decided that why should I be the only person. I think the only way to get new blood in there is for me to resign and get a new group of directors."
She said stepping down was a tough decision to make after so many years of volunteering.
"I have been doing this because I want it to survive, but I'm to the point now, as I get older I still want to do it, but my back will not allow it," she said. However, she added, "I'm definitely here to give advice if people want it."
According to Cross, the lack of volunteers has been an issue for at least the last five years.
"People say they don't have time to volunteer, especially to commit to something long-term," said Cross. "Many have told me they want to commit to more family time and are busy with their children's activities, or going to their cottages over the summer."
However, she noted that fundraising efforts have been well supported every year with many people coming out to order meals and attend craft sales. This helps pay the $1,800 to $2,200 a month it takes to run the facility. However, the support doesn't translate into volunteers coming out to help.
The two-storey building, which is the former District 7 school, was purchased in 1994 for $1. Since then it's had a lot of work done to it, particularly recently.
Thanks to an accessibility grant, the entire building is now wheelchair accessible. Along with added ramps and a new, wider door, two washrooms have been combined to make one wheelchair-accessible one, which includes a shower, and there are plans for a washer and dryer for community use.
The centre serves people from Beach Meadows, Eagle Head, West and East Berlin. In addition to the hall, the property has beach access and a playground.
The five-room multipurpose facility is kept busy on a weekly basis, with crafters, yoga enthusiasts and members of the Cosmic cheerleading squad filling up the time slots. It's also used for meetings, anniversaries, birthday parties and weddings.
Despite stepping down at the end of the month, Cross intends to honour previous catering and hall commitments, including a memoir workshop, Kiwanis 90th anniversary dinner, a private family function and her free Christmas dinner that she caters on Christmas day.
The building also has a registered drinking water source that is well used by community members.
If no one steps up to the plate at this meeting, Cross expects to begin dissolving the association, looking at selling the property, and determining what to do with the remaining funds.