History of the Citizens Club of Drayton Valley

At a meeting on January 30th 1968, sponsored by the Order Of the Royal Purple ladies, the idea of a forming a Senior Citizens' Club was discussed and it was felt by all present that steps should be taken to form such a Club. By the usual democratic process, Mr. William J. Gray was elected as President; Mr. William H. Louth was elected Secretary; Mr. Albert Thompson was elected Treasurer; Mrs. Gladys McMorris and a Mrs. Duperron from the Royal Purple ladies were elected Honorary Directors. The new club had a total of 64 members.

At a meeting on February 15, 1968 Mr. Edward F. Hines was elected Vice-President. A committee was designated and charged with preparing a set of By-Laws for the new Club, which would include listing the membership requirement of being Age 50 or greater, and a membership fee of $ 2.00 per year.

By-Laws were drawn up, approved and forwarded to the Alberta Registrar of Companies. These By-Laws were accepted and on April 17th 1968 the Senior Citizens' Club of Drayton Valley was officially incorporated as a Non-Profit Society and a Certificate of Incorporation issued.

Meetings were mostly held in the Elks Hall and with guidance and assistance from the Town of Drayton Valley Recreation Department, various social and recreational activities were held over the next several years.

In the early 1970's the Club asked the Town for assistance in acquiring a piece of property for them to build a Seniors Drop-In Centre Building. In early 1973 the Town acquired Lot B, Block 22, Plan 1303 MC, the address 4905 - 50th Street, and offered the lot to the Seniors. The Club accepted the lot and plans began for construction of their Drop-In Centre Building. In February of 1974 the Club received a Grant in the amount of$ 16,200.00 from the Province of Alberta for construction of the building. A contract was given to Mers Construction Ltd. in the amount of $ 24,000.00 for the construction of the building.

The first meeting was held in the building in January of 1975. With their small membership this building fulfilled the needs of the Club for many years, but was a little small for some activities. So in April of 1979 the Town granted the Club $29,000.00 from the Neighborhood Improvement Program funds for an expansion to the building. In return for these funds, the Club granted the Town permission to use the building for Town sponsored programs for a period of 10 years with no rental charges.

Federal census figures showed that there were over 2000 people over the age of 55 years in our immediate area. In the mid 1990's in anticipation of increased membership, with no room for expansion and the building needing some major repairs, the Club decided to look for property that would accommodate a larger building or an existing larger building that would be suitable. After a great deal of time searching, the Committee discovered our present building at 5140 52 Ave. and worked out a money and trade of buildings with owners Ivan and Mae To. The only obstacle was the money. The Committee approached the Town Council with a request for funding assistance and a plan to raise additional funds through donations from individuals, local businesses, and oil companies. The Town agreed to provide a substantial amount of funds, the County made a significant contribution, and the fund raising was underway. Because fund raising is a bit of a slow process, to close the deal and secure the building, a loan had to be arranged. The local Credit Union Branch agreed to provide the Club with $250,000.00 to be secured by a mortgage on the building. We took possession of the building in mid-August of 1998 and the real work began.

Despite the misgivings of some Club Members, a small but determined group of Club Members buckled down to work. The downstairs required some renovation and a major cleaning and the upstairs required major renovations to provide an area for floor curling and such. With many hours of hard work, it was all done and we held an official opening in mid-October of 1998 The success of the fund raising committee was evident with the payment in full of the Credit Union loan and a mortgage burning ceremony in October of 1999

The Club is very happy with our 55+ Recreation Centre Building. We have more than enough room for our present activities and more. We have had a membership of around 225 for several years, have no debts and are financially sound. We have managed to make all ends meet for the last 10 years with very little outside financial assistance. Although we have maintained the building in good condition over the years, there are some upgrades that would be beneficial and the Club will be addressing these in the years ahead.

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In 2008 the club celebrated it's 40th anniversary and it's 10th year in present building at 5140 52 Ave. The following article was written in the Western Review following the week long festivities.

Seniors celebrate

By Amanda Jeffery - The Western Review

The 55+ Club celebrated two milestones last week as their club turned 40 and their building turned 10. The celebrations for these two events went all week from Sept. 29-Oct.4 and included free coffee and doughnuts each morning for anyone wishing to stop by the centre as well as dinner and entertainment on both Friday and Saturday.

An arts and craft show was also part of the event, set up on Oct. 3 so that guests coming to the banquet could peruse the talent of members. Everything from scrap booking, to woodworking, to paintings to books was displayed and everyone was impressed at the craftsmanship.

Those who came to the banquet were treated to a scrumptious dinner that included perogies, stuffed turkey, Greek salad, cabbage rolls and potatoes. For dessert there was carrot cake and a chocolate fountain, which was quite a hit. Tea, coffee and wine were also served as beverages.

The event was emceed by Dave Michaels, host of the morning show at Big West Country radio, and he got things moving after the dinner with speeches from dignitaries from the Drayton Valley area.

County Reeve Wes Tweedle had the crowd laughing with his jokes as he said a few words of congratulations to the club. "We're certainly happy we were able to contribute," concluded Tweedle. Michaels then passed on MLA Diana McQueen's regrets that she could not make it to the event. Michaels played the recording from his interview with McQueen earlier that morning for everyone to hear. Unfortunately McQueen was in Jasper for a meeting with her party.

Gordon Davidson, president of the 55+ Club, gave a speech as well. Davidson listed all of the past presidents of the club from the the beginning and talked about how impressed they would be to see how far the club has come. Davidson also presented a plaque from McQueen commemorating the club's two anniversaries to Charlie Miner, treasurer for the club.

Then the main entertainer for the evening, Jerry Huck, took the stage.Huck is an entertainer from Devon who has been in the entertainment business since the 1970s. Some of his previous work includes The Huck Finn Show and work with the Emeralds, a band best known for their song The Chicken Dance. Huck led the crowd through the history of country music going back to the earliest song ever written in the country music genre. He sang many old favourites that had the whole crowd singing along and tapping their shoes. Two other entertainers performed for the crowd after a lunch of beef on a bun on Oct. 4 getting the crowd laughing with their antics.

End of Western Review story

In addition to the above, on Saturday Oct 4th the celebration carried on with a delicious Beef on a Bun with trimmings served at the lunch hour. The craft tables were still on display with many people awed by the local craft talent and talking with the craftsmen. Shortly after lunch Orla and Travis Neilsen of Spruce View, Alberta entertained the crowd on the second floor recreational area. The two hour show included many Wilf Carter songs by Orla who's voice is reminiscent of Wilf Carter. The two entertainers showed their talents by playing a number of different musical instruments and telling stories.

Saturday afternoon, the party was over and all was quiet, the clean up begins. There was a lot of hard work and many hours donated in the preparation and unwinding of the party. To add to the hustle and bustle, plans were made to repaint the building interior for the celebration. The paint job was finished with only a few days to spare. Crews worked many hours cleaning the building from top to bottom and front to back.

This 40th/10th Anniversary Celebration was a big success for the club due to the support of our members and community.

This page under construction, anyone with additional information and willing to share that material would be appreciated. Stories, facts, events, corrections, pictures etc wanted, please contact us using the email link from "Club Information" page if you can contribute.