Enriching the minds of Alberta seniors with canvas and ceramics

Carmangay Senior Citizens Club inspires independence and imagination with Creative Minds Project

Kids can keep their summer camps. The members at Carmangay Senior Citizens Club have activities all year-round.

A trip to Calgary’s Stage West Theatre Restaurant in March, a chili cookoff in April, and a community barbecue in summertime may sound like the yearly quota for activities on the calendar.

But this winter, club members in the southern Alberta town are being introduced to the Creative Minds Project as a way to get them out of their homes and lost in a canvas.

“Getting people out and active is important, especially in the winter when it’s easy to stay home,” says club treasurer Joyce Cook, the architect of the Creative Minds Project.

“Not only does it give our members an outlet to exercise their minds, but it has benefits as great as delaying when seniors move out of their homes and into long-term care facilities.”

Through the Creative Minds Project, participants might find themselves painting canvas, glass or ceramics. No matter the skill level, seniors are encouraged to pick up a stencil or paint brush and get crafting.

With 22 participants already signed up for the January to April 2019 program, it’s no question the program is filling a need.

“I’m thrilled with the response so far. Everyone was so excited that we started the program in November,” says Cook. “Art is as involved as you make it, and everyone will be getting something different out of the project.”

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In addition to exercising one’s mind, a type of art club like the Creative Minds Project presents opportunity to socialize with others in the Village of Carmangay and get involved with the community.

Enbridge is invested in quality of life in the communities where we operate—including Carmangay, which is adjacent to the 301-megawatt Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, a partnership between Enbridge and EDF Renewables. Our recent donation of $2,500 will help purchase art supplies and hire ceramics teachers for the Creative Minds Project.

And where versatility is concerned, the Creative Minds Project will also host yoga once a month.

“I have two artificial knees, so I can’t get on the floor. But I promise anyone can do it—it’s more meditation yoga,” says Cook.

The Carmangay Senior Citizens Club is considered more of an activity center. It’s not a care facility, although nurses visit once a month. Those who pay for annual memberships also reap benefits such as pension seminars and a built-in community.

Looking forward, Cook hopes to continue expanding the club in terms of both size and program offerings.

“I do this work for the Carmangay folks because I want to, as do several others that are members here,” she says. “They see the value in this environment and we want to help our seniors keep their independence for as long as possible.”