August 19 - 25, 2012: Issue 72    

Carol Harrison, Art Group

Ted Blackwell, Artist, who  recently taught the Art Group about 'Painting In the Third Eye'; here

Barbara Tuna, Marianne Curry, Carol Harrison, Joanne Grech, Margaret Lowe, Barbara Seaton AASG Art Group

 Avalon Active Seniors Group

Our seniors join Probus clubs, are the backbone of many of our Surf Club programs and are out in all weathers educating younger sailors from decades of experience on our waterways. Others form groups for social interaction which share a wide range of interests and activities. Engaging the mind, hands and heart in exercises and practice, allowing yourself to expand through joining in on any cultural experience while inviting others with something to teach to share their knowledge with you is at the core of many of these groups. Meeting to enjoy these activities in our Community Centres epitomises what these structures were built for. Meeting to enjoy the great Pittwater outdoors has a ‘side effect’ benefit of maintaining fitness and filling up on good fresh air and sunshine. As we mature meeting peers is not just about shared history and the instant connection and understanding of experience this brings, it is also about enjoying the moment and doing something or creating something for here, for now.

In July this year we attended the annual Art Exhibition of the Avalon Active Seniors Art Group and enjoyed how individual expression and wonderful creations flow from those who have taken up a brush and palette. The conviviality in the room between the artists, the sense of each other and each other’s works revealed that although creating can and is work done in isolation, working beside others, having fun while you are, is very conducive to the spirit of any work. There is more then creating and good conversation to this group though… we thank Barbara Seaton, Secretary of the Avalon Active Seniors Group, for her assistance with this insight…

How did the Avalon Active Seniors Group begin?

Avalon Active Seniors Group was formed at the commencement of 2005. It was composed of a Craft Group, Soapbox Discussion Group, and some energetic Walkers. A committee was formed and the AASG was linked to Northern Beaches Creative Leisure and Learning which was the Incorporated body. In May 2005 a group of painters who had been trying to function independently was asked if they would like to join the AASG.  This was an excellent opportunity and the offer was quickly accepted. All of this activity was taking place in the Avalon Recreation Centre, with support from Pittwater Council, who assist our endeavours to this day. In 2009 the committee decided to become an independent Incorporated body and left the parentage of Northern Beaches Creative Leisure and Learning Inc. 

What are the main changes that have occurred during this time?

Changes have been few as we move towards the end of our seventh year of operation. The Craft Group has faded away, Art and Walking have both swelled and then contracted in size as changes in the senior population, and the weather dictate. Two new groups have formed within the last twelve months, My Word, for creative writing, and Scrabble which is expected to expand into more table games as time goes on. 

Our present range of activities is, therefore, two Art groups, Soapbox being a discussion group, the Walkers who are quite 'expansive' in their field of operation, My Word and Scrabble, the latter two explained already. The Art participants invite an occasional visiting artist to deliver a tutorial, also enjoy two lunches out together each year, and sometimes a trip to a local point of interest to paint en plain air. The Walkers took a bus trip to the Blue Mountains to walk in that area, so some extra-curricular activities do take place. 

Who are the members?

Our members are Seniors of 55 years of age or more with an interest in making friends and enjoying in sharing a hobby with like minded people. Gentlemen are welcome, but have been very few in number over the years of the AASG. 

What have been two of the most memorable achievements so far?

Memorable achievements are difficult to name as we do not set out to achieve specific goals.    We have achieved a means of offering lonely people some cheerful company, others have become fitter and healthier due to joining AASG Walkers, a sharpening of the mind has also been achieved by those who have joined Soapbox, Scrabble or My Word.    Our five annual Art exhibitions have inspired the painters to heights which they would not have anticipated before joining our groups.  When these achievements are listed it seems to me that it is all very much worth while, and what is even better, we have a lot of fun doing it. 

What is slated for your future activities?

Our future activities will proceed much along the same vein, no doubt other activities will be suggested and implemented, firstly on a trial basis, then if successful remain in the programme.   We are prepared to “carry” a new venture financially to give it time to become established and for seniors to learn about it.    As we do not have an advertising budget, and run on minimal funds, we must wait for word of mouth for new ideas to become known. 

What is the Avalon Active Seniors 'motto for life' or a favourite phrase it tries to live by ?

A suggestion at our meeting was “Use it or lose it”, and that is it in a nutshell. Not officially of course! 

What is the Avalon Active Seniors favourite place in Pittwater and why ?

AASG centre of operations is the Avalon Recreation  Centre, our Walkers may name a destination on a walk as their favourite place, our artists may name any of the wonderful places of beauty on the Peninsula as their favourite, but we all met at the Recreation Centre, so that is the hub. 

To become a member, it is only necessary to phone the Leader of the group in which you are interested. There are flyers in the foyer of the Rec Centre. New flyers will be printed shortly updating activities and times.  In the meantime the Secretary is happy to help out with any information required.  (9918 0424). 

photos by Michael Mannington.