Erith Manby sounds more active than someone half her age.
The Southdale resident is the president of Archwood 55 Plus — a volunteer-run group that promotes the health and well-being of adults in the community aged 55 and older through numerous programming and services.
Whether it is belly dancing at Archwood Community Centre (where the group is based), swimming at Bonivital Pool, bowling at Windsor Bowling Lanes or taking a bus trip to an attraction outside city limits; the group offers a smorgasbord of activities and events, as well as a monthly luncheon.
"Some of our members join for the exercise classes, some for the lunches and social activities and others for the bus trips," Manby said, noting recent trips to Richardson International Airport and Manitoba Hydro Place as well as a fundraiser in October featuring a performance by the Sisters of the Holy Rock.
On Dec. 19, at noon, the group will hold a catered Christmas lunch, at which each guest will receive a small gift and be treated to a short line-dancing demonstration. The menu will include turkey, meatballs, perogies, mashed potatoes and cabbage rolls.
Even though membership has grown expeditiously in the past year, Manby said the event will be a perfect opportunity for potential new members to get a taste of the Archwood 55 Plus community.
Since the group was formed last year — "it started with six of us around a dining room table" — membership has grown to around 240.
Manby said the closure of Age & Opportunity’s St. Boniface/St. Vital chapter at Southdale Community Centre in 2010 created a void in the community for older adults.
"They had around 600 members and they decided not to operate out of there anymore. I had former members coming up to me saying they needed something to do," she said.
Manby — who noted the group "enhances and supports the physical, emotional and graceful aging process" — said it’s important for older adults to remain active and mobile.
"It gets people out their homes and get involved socially with others," she said. "A lot of members live alone in apartments, so it’s a way of getting them out, which is important, as lots of seniors get very depressed. They want to feel part of a group."
The Christmas lunch costs $15 for members and $22 for non-members. While organizers prefer that guests pre-purchase their seat, nobody will be turned away on the day, Manby said. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.
Archwood Community Centre is located at 565 Guilbault St. For more information, email email@example.com or call 204-416-1067.