A COMMUNITY CENTRE Sean McCarthy, president of the Summerland Drop In Recreation Centre board of directors, said the facility on Brown Street has plenty of space for meetings and special events. The centre today is not as busy as in previous years. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Community centre has served Summerland for 50 years

Summerland Drop In Recreation Centre was formed in February, 1969

For the past 50 years, a drop-in community centre in Summerland has provided a location for a variety of functions and special events.

But today, the Summerland Drop In Recreation Centre does not have the same level of activity as in previous years.

“Nobody knows it’s here,” said Sean McCarthy, president of the centre’s board of directors.

What’s more, few people realize Summerland has had the centre for the past half-century.

“Nobody knows it’s our 50th anniversary,” he said.

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The centre began on Feb. 3, 1969. At that time it was set up as a seniors’ facility and it met in the IOOF Hall on Main Street.

Membership at the time was $1 a month and the centre offered activities including cribbage, crokinole, dances, carpet bowling and shuffleboard.

Later, the centre acquired a bingo license.

Within a few years, the IOOF Hall was no longer sufficient to accommodate the needs of the growing seniors’ centre.

The present facility, on Brown Street, was opened in 1976. The facility was then known as the Summerland Senior Citizens Drop-In Centre.

A 50th anniversary celebration will be held in September.

Although the facility had been a vibrant place in past years, McCarthy said today it does not see nearly the same level of activity as in previous years.

“If it’s not used, we’ll lose it,” he said.

The name of the centre has been changed to show the facility is no longer restricted to seniors.

There are organizations which use the facility, including the South Okanagan Dog Activities Association which uses the lower level on a regular basis. The building has been used as a polling station during numerous elections.

A crokinole tournament will be held at the facility on April 27 and the South Okanagan Big Band will perform at a special concert on May 22.

McCarthy said he would love to have weekly events and activities for all ages at the centre. He is encouraging local organizations to consider using the space for their meetings and events.

“There’s so much potential,” he said. “We have the facility. Tell us what you want. We’ll do our level best to accommodate you.”

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