Vernon’s oldest senior center celebrates 49 years – Vernon Morning Star
He may not have reached his golden age yet, but a longtime center in Vernon marks quite the milestone.
The Halina Activity Center is the oldest senior center in town. He just celebrated his 49th birthday.
It was on December 10, 1954 that the Golden Age Club was recognized as a society for the elderly of Vernon and the surrounding area.
By the early 1970s, use of what was then called the Vernon Senior Citizens Center was increasing significantly.
“There was a huge increase in membership from 90 to over 400 in one year, to the point where there was actually a waiting list to become a member,” said Diana Williamson, current director of the Center.
William Halina was at the time Alderman of Vernon who made a considerable contribution to the community particularly in the field of the elderly. After leaving politics, he got even more involved and became very active in the Senior Citizens Center in Vernon.
He soon became the center’s president, and in 1972 led the campaign for a much-needed expansion of the center, which had a $150,000 prize. With help from the City of Vernon, provincial and federal governments, local businesses, clubs and donors, as well as an initial $35,000 contribution from the Golden Age Club, plans were put in place.
On September 17, 1973, in his honor, the President opened the Halina Senior Citizens Center, under the Vernon Senior Citizens Recreational Society.
The expanded space is recognized as the Halina Room.
The Halina Center is located behind the Vernon Recreation Center. You can enter through the Priest Valley or outdoor skating rink parking lot or through the Recreation Center.
“Even after being in one place for nearly 49 years, many people don’t know where the Halina Center is or how to get inside,” Williamson said. “As we like to say, come find the Halina Center hidden away in the Vernon Rec Centre.”
The center is a non-profit organization, which relies heavily on membership, rentals, artisans and the kitchen to operate.
Membership is $25/year (that’s less than 50 cents a week), with activities costing $3 for members and $5 for non-members.
The center offers rental space for meetings, activity groups and special family events, etc., free parking near the center, a hearing loop to clarify speech for the hearing impaired, a large dance floor and exercise room, billiards, billiards and billiard room and the Center Café offering soup and sandwiches.
Regular activities open to all are: bingo twice a week, bridge, bus tours, canasta, crafts, carpet bowling, dancing to live music, darts, floor curling and educational courses, plus new ones added all the time.
The Halina Activity Center also hosts special events such as a monthly pancake breakfast, Seniors’ Christmas Party, and Spring Break Out in March.
“At the Halina Center, we are: Respecting the Past, Honoring the Present, Planning for the Future.”
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