The Limerick Township Recreation Committee is looking for volunteers to help out with their initiatives and events in the coming year, according to Limerick Township’s website and their Facebook page. Anyone who is interested can get in touch with the new chair of the committee, Natalie Phillips, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-847-5413. As the new chair, Phillips also gives a history of the committee and an overview of what the LTRC has planned for the coming year and beyond.
The LTRC was formed in 2019 to create and promote an atmosphere of volunteerism and recreational activities within the community. Bonnie Weise co-founded the committee and was its first chair. Phillips took over for Weise in March, 2021 after she stepped down at their most recent committee meeting.
“She asked me prior to that meeting if I would be interested in chairing the committee. I said yes, and was nominated by Ingo Weise and the vote for me to be chair was unanimous. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and for the faith that Bonnie, Ingo [Weise], and the rest of the committee has placed in me. I have only been on the committee since Nov. 2019 and have so much to learn,” she says.
Phillips says that the goal going forward is to continue what Weise began. She says the LTRC is looking to bring programs back to the community that will encourage participation from local residents as well as the surrounding areas. She would also like to see programs geared especially to seniors and youth. Phillips has been chairing the fundraising arm of the LTRC since late 2019 and their mission has always been to support those programs.
Phillips points to COVID-19 as being difficult for everyone but also to the LTRC’s activities.
“Many of our plans were cancelled. Even the Community Art Walk that the fundraising committee hosted in October 2020 saw its share of difficulties. It had originally been planned for May, however, due to the lockdowns the event was cancelled. In July we got the go ahead to proceed, yet come September it was cancelled again. Although we were fortunate to host the event, the attendance and even the number of participating artists was affected due to COVID-19,” she says.
Gary Pattison and his wife Lillian own The Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery in Ormsby and are current members of the LTRC. He says they were approached by the committee as they were trying to expand the range of participants by reaching out to the business community.
“In Limerick Township, that leaves very few options beyond us. Joining when COVID-19 started meant that there hasn’t been a lot of activity. But I have attended a few meetings and have mostly been taking in the different elements and ideas of the group. When things are allowed to go ahead, I’ll be able to offer more input,” he says.
So far, 2021 has been a challenge with regard to planning and hosting events too, according to Phillips. With the Limerick Recreation Centre closed until further notice, events like dinners and Open Mic Nights are unable to be held.
“Looking to the future however, when things open back up again, we definitely want to bring back the dinners and Open Mic Night as well as other gatherings hosted by the LTRC,” she says.
Phillips says it is essential that once it is safe to do so, that they reignite their fundraising initiatives for future programs. She would like to see the Community Art Walk happen again this year perhaps in the summer or fall. She also wants to look at procuring grants for the committee’s endeavors, but will wait until next year, as she sees little point in getting funding if they will be unable to use it in any meaningful way with COVID-19 restrictions likely being in place in some form until later on in the year.
Phillips' goal as the new chair of the LTRC is to take this time to meet with the members and to examine what they can do better as a committee and see what new ideas and new plans they can come up with going into 2022.
Phillips says that at present, they are looking for new members to be on the committee.
“I have had one interested person so far, which is great! In the future, we will definitely be looking for volunteers who would like to help out at events; a list of people we can call when we need the extra help,” she says. “In the meantime, however, as things are still uncertain, we will see what the rest of the year brings.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times