The Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre has been back in business for more than a year and has to all appearances successfully dug itself out of the hole.
“We’ve worked so hard to get the centre back in the positive, we want to make sure it stays there,” said executive director Sharon Pekok at last week’s annual general meeting. “This year, you can see all the programs we have started and that’s the way we want to keep going.”
Although the centre’s financial position is largely better than it was at this time last year, Pekok said it wasn’t an easy road. The deal between friendship centres across Canada and the federal government was altered and for a period of time, no funding was coming through for youth programming. A new deal was reached and the funding came back into play Dec. 4, but it now no longer exclusively allocated to Friendship Centres. Anyone can apply for it.
“They’re getting much stricter with what they require for proposals,” said Pekok. “You have to have everything they want ready before they’ll even look at your application. It’s kind of scary, but that’s how it is now.”
Despite government dollars being scarce, newly acclaimed president of the centre, Margaret Jerome, said she is hopeful for the future.
“I’m happy to report we’ve gotten back on our feet, even if it was slowly,” she said. “I look on it as a fresh start.”
Along with that fresh start come some fresh and some returning faces to the board of directors. Jerome, who had been interim president, was acclaimed along with Dinah Carnogursky as treasurer and Abbie Crook as vice-president. Tamara Fabian will be continuing her role as secretary for the group.
Ida Studney and Sharon Caudron returned as regular board members, now joined by Wendy Dumas and elders’ representative Elsie Gresl. The board is still looking for a youth representative.
“The past is in the past,” said Jerome. “We’ve come through a lot, and it took a lot of hard work, but as we can see, we’re sitting positively and where we should be.”