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Memories of the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House work program

This week's Hammertime looks at the origins of the blue box recycling program of the Rising Sun Clubhouse.

Whenever I drive around Ponoka, my attention span really perks up when I see a blue box packed with recyclables ready for pick-up on the boulevard or in front of many local residences. As a staff member of the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House inthe late 1990s, I was so very fortunate to have been involved with many others in the organization of the first Club House and later of a unique new community work program.

With the great support and encouragement of the Town of Ponoka, the Alberta Hospital (Centennial Centre), and the community, the members of the Club House program were given the opportunity to take on the existing blue box recycling service throughout the town. The program was very well accepted and expanded quickly with the addition of weekly cardboard, paper, and bottle and can pick-up at businesses and schools, as well as yard service and odd jobs, which later included assisting with clean-up and other tasks at the new Ponoka Recycle Depot. Through fundraising and grants, theRising Sun Club House was also able to purchase a trailer and equipment for their work program, as well as a large van which was also used for transportation and other social activities and events throughout the community.

As one of the early supervisors of this busy program for eight years, it was extremely gratifying to see upwards of 30 ClubHouse members a week taking part in the many facets of the work program, each being encouraged within set guidelines to work a certain amount of hours, with all receiving the same hourly pay for their efforts as a team member on a week-day schedule. The Club House staff has always been very impressed by the ongoing enthusiasm of the members of the RisingSun Community Work Program as they look forward to showing up at the Club House each day on time for their shift,proudly put on their coveralls or Ponoka Recycle program jackets, then help to load up the trailer before heading out in the van to pick up the rest of the crew to take part in the job ahead. For more than 20 exciting years, a great number of past,former, and present members of the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House have shared this wonderful experience helping out and enjoying the many support and social programs offered at the bright and happy facility, as well as being a part of the community work program if they were able. It has and always will be a special and exciting treat for each and every one of these men and women of all ages to meet new members and friends, to chat with and assist customers on the work program, to greet visitors and family at the Club House, all of which has greatly contributed to the enhancement of their daily quality of life by becoming an active part of the Town of Ponoka, which they are so very proud to call their home all year round. Over the years, the members, staff, and board of the Ponoka Rising Club House have also willingly volunteered their time and efforts to countless community events and causes, and have avidly promoted the importance of the Ponoka Recycling programs, as well encouraging everyone to work together to enhance and beautify our family-friendly town and surrounding districts.

The Ponoka Rising Sun Club House has proudly been an active and respected part of our community for the past 21 years,have always been made to feel very welcome and have continued to enjoy a great deal of successes and growth in their busy programs and goals over the years. It is the sincere hope of myself and so many others that our Town of Ponoka Council and administration will continue to promote and support the Rising Sun Club House members as a vital part of the local community Blue Box and Recycling programs, both today and long into the future. Everyone is free to pop into the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House at 5216-50 Street, Ponoka or phone 403-783-5810 for more information.

Just a little of this and that

As our gung-ho political party leaders and the rest of the wanna-be-MPs are busy racing around the hustings putting up signs and knocking doors trying to gather votes for the forthcoming federal election on October 19, they will as always make all sorts of promises for the future, but will also be quick to remind us that we will ‘have to tighten our belts’ just a little to get through the current economical crisis.

The election chatter and finger-pointing is now going hot and heavy in the coffee shops, through the media, and at countless public forums throughout our great nation, and certainly promises to be a great race and a tough choice for all of us who get out and cast our ballots. Just as a little pre-election appetizer I read with great interest the other day that the yearly wages of a retired Prime Minister is $450,000 for life, while those former politicians who have stepped down or lost their post will be able to dry their tears with a hefty compensation of $174,000 a year. In the meantime, the average salary of our soldiers is $40,000 a year, the average yearly pay-perk for us pensioners is $12,000 a year, and so may we dare to ask why the very first cuts and crunch should not come right at the top of that political dynasty? Now just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.