Consider this seniors’ club with second thoughts

Not so long ago, I was a member of a seniors’ club in PICKERING. I was even an executive in the club, Activities coordinator, a responsibility I held for more than two years. Then, I made the mistake of crossing swords with an executive whose spouse was the president of the club. To my amazement, the president had me removed not only from my executive position but also as a member of the club. If you are going to inflict a wound on the ‘king,’ it must be a mortal wound. I lack the killer instinct other seniors have.

I learned from this experience
 “Politicking” never stops…anywhere

Behind the scenes” politics never disappears from any association. Positional power is abused everywhere, in any organization no matter how principled, no matter how moral, how supposedly responsible or how presumably wise one thinks it may be. Even organized religions have had examples of power abuse at high administrative levels.

 Wisdom, integrity, values are not guaranteed with ageing 

Age does not guarantee wisdom, integrity, or ethical values. Corruption, abuse and lack of integrity exist within almost any organization. Even the hierarchy of the Catholic church sins this way.

The corollaries to this second aspect of ageing without guarantees is this: ageing de-energizes people. The aged may claim to be non-apathetic but the energy, the indignation and the proactive spirit possessed in younger days wanes to the extent they no longer have the interest to challenge corrupt and abusive power. They may disagree with this abuse but they have aged too much to actively combat it. Look around, activists almost anywhere are the younger generation; they take up the banners; they take up causes which surprise the older generation. The “green revolution,” “saving our planet,” and “saving our natural resources” may not sound like causes to be led by youth, but they are. It was a foolish assumption to think ethical values, moral integrity and high principles trump miscarriage of proper process among the senior crowd. A very naive assumption! In trying to defend myself publicly, the chief executive of the club manipulated my ejection from the club. Incredible. Censorship lives even among the supposedly wiser demographic; autocratic abuse thrives.

So what have I learned that would be of value to older people who are considering joining a seniors’ club? 

  1. STAY AWAY FROM POLITICS which may have the corollary: do not become involved with administration. I have been an activist for justice, integrity and responsibility in every position I have ever held. When I saw wrong I spoke out, publically and openly. Don’t! Join a club for socialising and friendship. Leave the political manoeuvring to the political world.
  2. CODE OF CONDUCT: If you are considering joining a club but are determined to retain your integrity and ethical values, see if the club has a CODE OF CONDUCT applicable to all members of the club, executives included. Some clubs do not have a code of conduct. There are no safeguards against abuses and misuses of power by the executive. There should be, means to deal with unprofessional and irresponsible conduct within any club.
  3. Old age brings with it reduced energy, reduced passion, and psychological calcification. We all run out of gas in life. I will too. Hence, recognize that you will slow down; you will not be able to do all that you think you can do. Be all that as it may, join a club; make some new friends; get socially involved with others. It is good for your heart, good for your mind, good for your body and good for your soul. There a number of other seniors’ club available in Pickering: The Rouge Valley Club and the Italian Club hold meetings at the Petticoat Creek Branch Library. The East Shore Seniors’ Club holds its meetings at the East Shore Community centre on Bayly St. (Information about both clubs can be found on this website.)
  4. Leaders do not reflect the club: Leadership changes and like all humans, some leaders will be strong, principled, responsible and have integrity. Others, not so much. And others, perhaps not at all. Be observant but steer clear of manipulative leaders, whether they be in the highest positions of the club or in subordinate positions such as minor club moderators. There is nothing to gain by engaging in battles with these leaders. You cannot win; they will, no matter how unfair they may be. They hold the reins of power.
  5. CHARITY and GIVING: Finally, it is a very sad comment when a club incorporates NO CHARITY in its constitution. Perhaps “NO CHARITY” isn’t a direct quote but it is what the constitution one PICKERING seniors club has incorporated. Hence, they do not ‘give’ back to the community, to its needy: no clothing, no donations, no food bank support. That bothers me as I feel I am better off than some others in the community and I should be able to help them if I wish.
  6. HOW THEY DEAL WITH DISLIKED MEMBERS: Here is how the Probus executive deals with members they want to be removed. They call the police for removal of the “miscreant.”
  7. FULL TREASURY: Be wary of a ‘non-profit’ club which thousands of dollars in its treasury.

However, there are good clubs in Pickering with professionally responsible leadership. Choose carefully but most importantly, get involved; join something. It will be good for you in many, many ways and the City of Pickering, the Pickering Public Library, the Rouge Valley Club, the Italian Club and the East Shore Seniors’ Club are great places to start.

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