Members of the Big Valley Drop-In Centre enjoyed a supper of flapjacks, eggs and sausage at the centre on Monday, Oct. 24, the first of the monthly pancake suppers that take place in the autumn and winter.
The first pancake supper brought out about 20 people, who came to enjoy the expertly cooked meal, made by volunteer members of the club.
“It wasn’t bad for the first, but we want more,” said Donna Clark, a member of the centre and one of the volunteers.
“We hold the pancake supper once a month, but there’s none this year in December,” she noted, explaining that the many holiday events in the last month of 2016 make it difficult to fit the pancake supper on the calendar.
The suppers will run until the end of April, and everyone is welcome to join in, regardless of age.
The club currently has a membership of about 80 members, Clark said, and hosts several weekly events to keep people coming.
Every morning during the week, between 8 and 9:30 a.m., members can come to the Drop-In Centre to enjoy coffee with friends. On Monday and Friday nights, people gather to play canasta. On Sundays, it is crib, and Thursdays bring out the floor curlers.
Even though the club is geared for seniors, ensuring the next generation know the card games that filled many a winter night is important, so younger folk are invited to come and learn to play, Clark said.
Clark herself actually started hanging out at the club long before she was a senior, as she would go there with her parents, who were members, to play a few rounds of floor curling.
Now in her mid 70s, Clark has been a part of the centre since 55 and has made it her second home.
“How long is that,” she said with a laugh. “I like to play cards, and I enjoy being around people. It’s too lonely to just stay at home alone. This is just my second home.”
The club draws in people from all over, not just Big Valley, as people come from Byemoor and Endiang to the southeast, from Erskine to the northwest, and Stettler, to name a few. Some of the larger events, like floor curling bonspiels, bring people from further away like Bawlf, Rimbey, Camrose, Halkirk, Gadsby and Botha.
The club also has a pool table, darts and shuffleboard, though their use comes in spurts, Clark said, rather than regularly like cards and floor curling.
The hall is a testament to the community, as it was built and maintained with the help of many volunteers, Clark said. The original hall was opened in 1975, with the current building standing since the late 1980s.
“When the hall was being built, everyone volunteered to help raise it,” Clark recalled. “They painted, they built. When it was done, it was all paid for.”