A new executive and board have been elected for the coming year at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.
There was no change at the top of the organization as Margaret Jerome was returned as president and Abbie Crook was again chosen vice-president at the organization’s annual general meeting on Sept. 26.
The two newcomers to the executive are Beatrice Lepine as treasurer and Sharon Pekok as secretary.
The board members are Sharon Caudron, Dinah Carnogursky, Ann Firth-Jones, Tamara Fabian and elders’ representative Julia Trennert.
Much of the AGM involved the results of an audit from a representative of Ashton’s Chartered Accountants for the fiscal year which ended on March 31.
The audit found the friendship centre in a solid financial situation
“The centre is in a good place right now,” said Crook, who thanked those, including former executive director Sharon Pekok, who helped bring the organization out of financial problems several years ago.
“This reflects on the kind of staff we have and the kind of board we have,” said Crook.
Because of financial difficulties, the centre had been closed for nearly 18 months until reopening in June 2013.
The friendship centre ended the last fiscal year with a bottom line surplus of $59,077.
Its major sources of revenue are the National Association of Friendship Centres, the GNWT, office rental and fundraising.
The centre ran about 20 programs, including work-readiness training and a drop-in centre for youth.
One topic of discussion at the AGM was the future of the Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60, which at one time was a major fundraiser for the centre.
“As a fundraising event, it’s not very effective,” said Lepine, adding it is expensive to present and the centre is not funded for it.
Crook said that, while it is a fundraiser, the event is also designed to promote culture and is a community gathering, pointing out it attracted people from all over the North, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“But I agree that in the future we should have some other fundraising so that we have that continuity and so that we’re not going to be using our other funds to cover that,” she said.
The Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60 was held as recently as 2013 but has since ceased.
“The annual Fiddling and Jigging North of 60 competition was not held this year due to the town strike and, as well, there was no one available to facilitate this activity,” said Jerome, who added that an unsuccessful attempt was made to have a joint event with the Hay River Metis Government Council.
Crook said, if the centre is ever to again present the event in the future, she would suggest bingos be set aside to raise money for it and sponsors be found.