Princeton Branch 185 of the BC Seniors & Pensioners Organization (formerly known as OAPO) welcomed the provincial board and delegates from around the province to a three day Annual General Meeting June 11th – 13th in Princeton. Although not affiliated with OAPO, Princeton Seniors Branch 30 rented their hall and catered the convention, with coffee breaks, lunches and dinners that were enjoyed by everyone.
The meeting kicked off with a warm welcome by Princeton OAPO Branch President Joanne Nicholls, followed by Mayor Frank Armitage, extending his personal welcome to all visitors and giving some background and highlights of Princeton. Provincial OAPO President Jenifer Coburn chaired the meeting and delved into an ambitious agenda of provincial business and issues.
The BC Seniors & Pensioners Organization (OAPO) is all about ‘Seniors Serving Seniors’ and they advocate on behalf of all seniors regarding the health, housing and financial issues facing today’s elders. Seniors comprise the largest single demographic in Canada and as the Baby Boomers retire in large numbers, lobbying and advocacy for this growing group (sometimes called the Grey Tsunami) is more important than ever. OAPO is affiliated with the Council of Senior Citizens Organization, (COSCO) who have an impressive membership of over 90,000. The combined influence and support of the two groups is used to lobby elected officials at all levels to shape policy and initiate change. OAPO is responsible for the development of the Old Age Pension program in Canada, back in the 1930s and they continue to fight today to support seniors in all areas.
Resolutions are an integral part of OAPO’s annual meeting agenda and the Provincial Board and attending delegates table the various issues of the day and vote on the topics that will be the focus of their advocacy in the coming year. Princeton Branch 185 resubmitted another resolution to keep pressure on restoring full services to Princeton General Hospital. Princeton had presented this as an Emergency Resolution last year and although there has been some progress, our Emergency Room is still not open 24/7 and it was unanimously carried that this is extremely important for our community and area.
Workshops, round table discussions and keynote speakers rounded out the meeting agenda and Wednesday evening provided a chance to socialize with a dinner and dance. All feedback on the meeting was positive and everyone said Princeton was a great venue.
Special thanks are due to Carol Seaman Secretary/Treasurer of OAPO Princeton Branch for her efforts to liaise with the Provincial Board and coordinate the event. Thanks also to Seniors Branch 30 catering staff for the great job they did keeping the delegates fed and making everyone feel so welcome in their house. With over 80 delegates, visitors and presenters in attendance this was no small task. Great job – many thanks!!