CARP Community Development Annual Report 2011 – 2012

November 2, 2012 – CARP’s 300,000 members and 55 Chapters are the source of our strength.  The CARP Community plays an essential role in advancing CARP’s mission for a new vision of aging for all Canadians.

Throughout 2011-2012, CARP’s Network of Chapters was larger, more active, and more influential than ever, giving generously of their time and expertise to support CARP’s advocacy, membership growth, and community service.

Working with CARP’s Community Development and Advocacy teams, our Chapters worked towards the following core objectives:

  1. Membership – support the growth of membership that strengthens the voice, influence, and vitality of CARP as a proud membership organization
  2. National Advocacy – Promote and advance CARP’s advocacy, including issues that are more local or regional
  3. Community Engagement – Develop and set an action plan for 1-2 local issues that the chapter can help influence.
  4. Operational – Hold meetings at least quarterly to plan and track chapter goals and achievements and encourage new members to get involved
  5. Community Events – Organize one of the following: Job fair, volunteer fair, lifestyle fair, or educational conference. These can also be fund-raisers for the chapter
  6. Enjoy the Experience – People join CARP and chapters to support a good cause, do good, and feel good about the effort. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.

The growth of our Chapter network, currently at 55 and growing, has been a powerful indicator of our members’ support of CARP’s mission. Despite their busy lives, the active community-spirit of CARP Chapters was evident in how they led membership development and retention along with community outreach by organizing speaker events, recreational activities, and educational sessions on various topics. For example, Sault Ste. Marie Chapter hosted information sessions on ‘Seniors and Alzheimer’s’ and ‘Safeguarding Seniors Against Financial Abuse’ for members and the general public.

Their active contribution and influence was also witnessed as they raised their voices and concerns about issues facing Canada’s aging society. In multiple cities across the country, starting with Barrie Ontario, CARP Chapters raised their flags on City Halls. At various government round tables, CARP Chapters represented the interests of seniors, such as at the Round Table on Pensions where our BC Representative attended as one of the panellists voicing CARP’s position.

CARP Chapters proved this year that there is true power in numbers. Across the country, our members engage with local politicians and leaders to advocate seniors` concerns and influence government decisions. In Alberta, the Fort McMurray Chapter helped mobilize seniors to save a seniors’ facility, while in Quebec, the Montreal West Island Chapter hosted a meeting with Quebec Cabinet Minister, Geoffrey Kelley, who spoke about improving seniors’ lives in Quebec. In addition, the Edmonton and Calgary Chapters participated together with the Public Interest Alberta Seniors Task Force in meeting with the Minister of Health, Fred Horne, and Associate Minister of Seniors George Vanderburg.

Several of our Chapter Chairs received recognition from respective provincial governments for their outstanding volunteer service in their communities. Within our own CARP family, we recognized the passionate work of Terry Little, a well-respected and long-serving CARP volunteer who suddenly passed away this summer. A memorial award was created in Terry’s honour, which will be presented annually to recognize exceptional volunteer commitment to the mission and values of CARP.

These are only small glimpses of the great work that has been taking place. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments and ongoing work of our Chapters, and we gladly welcome new Chapters to the CARP family. Without efforts of our Chapters and members across the country, CARP could not be the effective and relevant organization that it is today.

For more on the work and accomplishments of our Chapter communities, read the full Community Report.