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Homemade fun in the sun; OPAO craft and garage sale fundraiser set for Aug 19 in Lac La Hache

Come check out all that local vendors have to offer at the Cariboo Pioneer Centre.
The events put on by the OAPO are integral to the community of Lac La Hache. (Photo submitted))

All are welcome to attend the Lac La Hache Old Age Pensioners Organization’s (OAPO) indoor-outdoor craft and garage sale this weekend (Aug. 19).

The event is being held at Cariboo Pioneer Centre from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees can expect a range of 25 different vendors offering sweet treats, canned goods, jewelry, illustrations, and massages.

Newly established event coordinator and OAPO member Heather Balaam said she rented out the centre in March and co-hosted a very successful spring craft market and hopes to make this event even more significant.

“I am 71, and this was a first-time experience for me, and it was wonderful. At this point, I joined the OAPO, not knowing anything about the organization. I attended my first meeting and was given a booklet explaining and giving the history,” said Balaam.

The OAPO was first established in 1932 and was one of North America’s first senior advocacy groups. Its goal is to help seniors and other residents organize events and community gatherings and to keep members active, free of cost.

The Cariboo Pioneer Centre is affiliated with the OAPO but is independent of the Lac La Hache Community Club. However, the Cariboo Pioneer Centre is an integral part of Lac La Hache. The group has hosted many community events throughout the years and, with continued support, will host more in the future.

When Balaam joined, she assumed it was just a meeting place for the local seniors but discovered it was so much more.

The small group of members strives to see more emphasis on pensions, taxation, finances, health issues, home support, Medicare, and Pharmacare. Balaam noted that it’s not just seniors who can utilize the club and that anyone over 35 can join and participate in the decision-making process of how the center can be used.

“We want to urge people to join and help bring great events to our community,” said Balaam. “I hope it brings some attention to the pioneer centre as well. It needs that little push for the local community to realize they are more than welcome to utilize the services.”

Balaam says they have been short volunteers this summer because of all the ongoing events in Lac La Hache and 100 Mile House, and encourages anyone that can help to reach out. She says she wants to pave the way for the traditions and fundraisers to continue and inspire future generations to create traditions of their own.

Many of the current volunteers are getting older and younger members are needed to step up and help keep the organization going.

She says to help boost engagement, she has been utilizing Facebook to pique the public interest and get the word out about how fun these events are and that with more support, there will be more to come.

Contact Balaam at 250-644-8683 or visit the OAPO’s Facebook post for more information.

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