Pakenham Age-Friendly Pakenham “Bridging Generations” Dispatch

‘DISPATCHES FROM AN AGE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY #9’ comes from Sherryl Smith of -Back in 2015 Mills Community Support (Carebridge) initiated a series of 3 workshops in Pakenham with funding through the Seniors Secretariat. The purpose of these workshops was well described by an area resident Sherryl Smith who was also concerned about her future needs being met. Her invitation to neighbours and friends expressed it well.” I just had a significant birthday (70) and it made me consider the inevitable fact that I am getting “oldish”. None of us wants to admit to being ‘a senior’ but…We also love living in Pakenham and plan to stay here as we get really old! Will that be possible? What will we need to do to make that possible? Others are probably thinking along these same lines….so we have organized an opportunity to discuss what Pakenham already offers and what we can build on. What are the opportunities to make this a supportive and age-friendly community? What will life be like in Pakenham in 2021?Well here it is 2021 and that initial gathering of ideas and issues, spurred on with support from Carebridge and Mississippi Mills staff has kept a strong group of committed volunteers going and accomplishing a lot! We call ourselves Bridging Generations because our effort is a whole community approach based on an Age Friendly process. As Margaret Wheatley, the great authority on leadership and change said; “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about”Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs recognized our efforts and invited us to present at their Teeny Tiny Summit in 2018 because they saw Bridging Generations as-• “Genuinely community led, with a community volunteer organization taking it on and delivering it• High level of engagement from other community members• Clear action items identified with responsibilities assigned and a plan coming together• Has a simple process with strong impact”

And here is the list of Bridging Generations’ accomplishments over the past 5 years :-• Organized 3 Forums/Potluck dinners to discuss age-friendly issues with the community (2016-17)…and plan a renewal in 2022 • Organized WaterWays – a one day educational event about waste water solutions (August 2017) • Advocated for a pharmacy in Pakenham (active in 2017)• Advocated for the 2 crosswalks on #29 (completed fall 2019)• Presented our success at the Teeny Tiny Summit in Tweed (2018) • Advocated for and supported a senior’s gathering space in the renovated Pakenham Library And we continue to:- • Coordinate The Feeling Good speakers’ series with the Pakenham Library – hope to start again in January 2022• Work with Mississippi Mills Council to develop a Loop Trail around Pakenham to enhance outdoor recreation• Collaborate with Pakenham PS School Council to ensure the school stays open and remains a vibrant part of our community•

Support the Pakenham Business and Tourism Association e.g. Business owners Forum 2018, sign at the Bridge, Country Christmas• Assess our working group membership as needs evolve e.g. involve younger people, LGL Public Health, the MM Library, School Council, Seniors Club • Advocate for health and community support services in Pakenham – ongoing through our affiliate membership in the LLG Ontario Health TeamAnd we aren’t done yet! We have plans for the future which include:• Partner with Miss Mills Council to develop a Vision for Pakenham’s ‘Village Vitality’, part of the Community Official Plan strategy“If you design for the young, you exclude the old; design for the old and you include the young” Check us out on Facebook or email BridgingGenerations624@gmail.com

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