From left to right – Mission Coun. Pam Alexis draws the winning name from for a gold bar

From left to right – Mission Coun. Pam Alexis draws the winning name from for a gold bar

‘Inventory of skills’ created thanks to Mission seniors survey

Howard Bismeyer was the lucky winner of a one ounce gold bar, but the Mission Seniors Centre Association was the real winner.

Mission’s Howard Bismeyer may be the proud owner of a one ounce gold bar, but it’s the Mission Seniors Centre Association that were the real winners on Thursday night.

Bismeyer’s won the gold when his name was randomly drawn from all of the local seniors who participated in a survey, created by the association with the help of The Mission Record.

The survey asked Mission residents aged 55 and over for information on their work experience, training and knowledge and their willingness to share it with others through volunteer work.

The association will now take that information and build a database that can be used to help establish  seniors-orientated programs and activities.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone that participated in this survey,” said Bob Ingram, president of the association.

“We are, at the present time, working with the district of Mission to build a new seniors’ centre and we’re trying to get a little ahead of the game. The idea behind this project was to build an inventory of skills,” added Ingram.

Ingram said they also want to join forces with community services to build a volunteer registry. However, he noted that nobody’s information will be used without first getting their permission.

He’s hoping the list of volunteers will continue to grow.

“If we are successful with community services in putting together a volunteer registry it’s got no where to go but grow.”

Ken Selvaraja of Lanka Jewels was instrumental in getting the survey project off the ground and even donated the gold bar – worth between $1,300 and $1,400 (depending on the current price of gold) – that was offered up for grabs to participants.

“Mission is known as a community that functions very well with volunteers. I have been here over 40 years and even then we had great volunteers,” said Selvaraja.

He wanted to find a way to harness all of that experience and bring it together. After speaking to Andrew Franklin, publisher of the Mission Record and the Abbotsford News, the survey idea began.

Franklin was on hand for the gold bar draw and took the opportunity to share some of the survey results with the crowd.

“We received about 50 different classifications of professional expertise and when you think about it, things like accounting and finances, we  had multiple people under that category,” he said.

But it wasn’t the top response.

Franklin said the top three professions listed  were medical, managerial and business entrepreneurs.

Other fields of expertise that were reported included human resources, secretarial, plumbing, gardening, heating, dentistry, lawyer education and more.

“As you can see it is very diverse.”

Other results from the survey include:

51 per cent of responders are retired;

26 per cent were employed full-time;

51 per cent said they frequently volunteer and 22 per cent of them want to know more about other volunteer opportunities;

61 per cent want to be contacted as quickly as possible about volunteer opportunities.