The following is a quote from our Founding Board of Directors President, Mr. Peter Isaak:

Recently I learned that for an organization to grow and thrive it needs to learn, to innovate, to do research and to experiment. I like to think that this describes our Senior Centres. We want to celebrate this and learn together and innovate and do research and experiment.

The concept of a Multi-purpose Senior Centre has existed within our province for a number of years. Age & Opportunity was established in 1957, the Brandon Civic Senior Citizens Prairie Oasis Senior Centre in 1967, the Gordon Howard Senior Centre twenty-five years ago, and the Dauphin Multi-purpose Senior Centre are almost twenty years old. Today there are 20 recognized multi-purpose senior centres throughout the province.

The idea of a formal organization like MAMSC surfaced in the mid 1990’s and the concept was presented at five locations throughout the province:

  • June 4, 1996 in Portage
  • October 1, 1996 in Brandon
  • January 16, 1997 in Winnipeg
  • June 12, 1997 in Steinbach
  • October 9, 1997 in Morden where a steering committee was struck to establish a draft constitution

Members of the steering committee were:

  • Wilf Hudson – Dauphin
  • Cheryl Barker – Portage la Prairie
  • Hilda Hildebrand – Winnipeg
  • Peter Isaak – Winnipeg
  • Irene Muzyka, Supervisor – Services to Seniors – Winnipeg
  • Hilda Giesbrecht – Steinbach

There were lively discussions and concerns were raised as to whether or not this new organization would act as a governing body or as a support. It is obvious now that the intent was to enhance communication among senior centres and to promote and support their efforts.

On April 29th, 1998, at a meeting at Good Neighbours Senior Centre in Winnipeg, our Founding Board of Directors was elected and a Constitution adopted.

The members of the Founding Board of Directors were as follows:

  • President – Peter Isaak, Good Neighbours Senior Centre,
  • Vice President – Wilf Hudson, Dauphin Multi-Purpose Senior Centre
  • Secretary – Dianna White, Steinbach 55 Plus Centre,
  • Treasurer – Jack Richmond, Age & Opportunity Centre,
  • Program – Dorothy Froman, St. James Assiniboia Senior Centre
  • Cheryl Barker, Herman Prior Senior Services Centre, Portage.

Mission Statement:

The Association will provide a forum to facilitate communication, sharing and planning among multi-purpose Senior Centres as they provide services to Manitoba’s aging population. The Association will provide a provincial focus for multi-purpose senior centres and raise their profile.

The first major goal identified for the new organization was to offer workshops both spring and fall to provide an opportunity for networking, sharing of ideas and learning. MAMSC has been successful in maintaining this objective and each year one workshop is offered at a member centre outside of Winnipeg and one within Winnipeg. In response to our members’ requests, last year we began offering a Staff Development Day. This training opportunity was repeated again each year and is proving to be a very valuable and much appreciated workshop.

MAMSC fulfills numerous other roles on behalf of its members. MAMSC continues to be very active as a participant, representing seniors’ interests, in numerous forums and committees throughout the year that address the issues of Health Care, Community Living and Security. Most of these partnerships have a provincial focus such as the Seniors Transportation Working Group in which this upcoming year, rural transportation issues will be explored.

Through such representation on our members’ behalf, the development of resource packages, and our training workshops/conferences, MAMSC endeavors to introduce new programs and services in a manner that does not tax already limited resources.

In 2005, a policy manual was developed for Centres to use as a guideline in establishing their own bylaws and operating structure. The resource is available electronically. As well, a video of approximately eight minutes was developed to assist Centres in promoting themselves and to introduce the concept of a centre to others by giving them an inside look at the programs and activities that could be offered.

In 2006, MAMSC conducted a survey amongst its member centre to determine the salary range and employee benefits throughout the province.

In 2007, MAMSC conducted a survey of member centres to gather information with respect to size, funding sources and programs/supports

MAMSC is a member of the Senior and Elders Day Planning Committee which organizes the celebrations on October 1st of each year.

The provincial Elder Abuse Awareness strategy began was established in 2002. MAMSC continues to be actively involved.

Several years ago, transportation concerns by older adults/seniors in our province were studied by the Seniors Transportation Working Group. Today those concerns are being studied and monitored by the Transportation Options Network for Seniors (T.O.N.S.). MAMSC continues to be an active member of (T.O.N.S.).

The Spring Conference/AGM 2008 was of particular importance as we celebrated our 10th year anniversary and began the process of developing a critical path for our organization. The focus of our conference that year was to review our mandate, determine our relevance and identify goals for our organization as we looked ahead. By the end of that day’s session, there was a renewed sense of purpose among the membership and the strengths and accomplishments were clearly identified. Our barriers, for both our members and the organization itself were also recognized and the process of overcoming these barriers was begun.

At the 2009 Spring conference/AGM, we proceeded along our critical path and specific goals were identified for the following three years. The board will be working with the members to accomplish these goals in a timely manner.

2009 – 2010 is a significant year for MAMSC. We have the opportunity to increase our community profile and establish ourselves as primary deliverers of programs and services that enrich the lives of our older adults, helping them to stay healthy, active and living independently and thus contributing to the well-being of the community at large.

In 2009, MAMSC received a major grant of $25,000 from New Horizons which was enhanced by an additional $6,000 from the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat. The funds provided resources and training to senior serving organizations throughout the province to offer the “Police Academy: Older Adult Division” safety program. The program was first offered on a trial basis in two locations in Winnipeg and was very successful and our members have already expressed a great deal of interest in offering the program at their centres.

Again in 2009, the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat demonstrated its confidence in MAMSC by providing a grant in the amount of $70,000 for which MAMSC will provide the leadership in promoting and developing the Age Friendly Communities Initiative throughout the province. MAMSC is the most appropriate organization to accept this responsibility as our members have demonstrated that they share the same goal of this initiative in keeping the older populations healthy, active and involved within their communities and helping to identify and overcome barriers.

May 2010 our name was changed to Manitoba Association of Senior Centres (MASC). At this same time our mission statement was reviewed and became:

The Association is a provincial focal point to facilitate communication, networking and planning among senior centres and raise their profiles. The Association also assists in the development of senior centres and collaborates with other senior serving organizations.

We are connecting and collaborating with several senior serving organizations especially

  • Active Living Coalition for Older Adults-MB and the promotion of the 55+ games
  • Transportation Options Network for Seniors
  • Elder Abuse Advisory Committees: Education & Awareness, Networking, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15)
  • Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba
  • Seniors & Elders Day Advisory Committee

April 2011 MASC received a contract from the Secretariat to develop and maintain a program/website that encourages and supports intergenerational connections.

MASC also received a grant from New Horizon’s for Seniors (Federal Government) and have developed through the grant a BOARD DEVELOPMENT manual for use by Senior Centres and Senior Organizations.

In 2013, our Police Academy Advisory group were successful in applications to RCMP foundation and Federal Justice. These grant monies enabled us to hire a consultant to expand the Police Academy program to rural and remote communities throughout the 2013 – 2014 year.

MASC was again successful in an application to New Horizon’s for Seniors and are currently using the monies to enhance and promote ‘DISCOVER YOURSELF THROUGH LIFE WRITING’. Heartspace is leading this project for MASC – member centres are involved in the pilot: Charleswood Senior Centre, Gwen Secter Active Living Centre, Senior Scene (Victoria Beach), Prairie Oasis (Brandon), and Carman Active Living Centre.

MASC continues to partner with Age Friendly Manitoba. Three consultants work with communities supporting their Age Friendly Advisory Committees. In Fall 2013, the AMM district of Interlake came together to share ideas and concerns related to their local area. The committees in the AMM district of Central will come together early in March 2014.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the MB Government – Seniors Secretariat continue to support MASC in the work it is doing in connecting Centres and Age Friendly communities in Manitoba.

Prepared by K. Pirnie, May 2009
Updated by C. Newman, January 2010
Updated by C. Newman, June 2011
Updated by C. Newman, February 2014