GCRS celebrates more than 40 years in Golden

The Golden Community Resource Society (GCRS) has a long history, and finding its true beginning proved difficult, but Leslie Adams traced its roots back as far as 1974.

Now, the 40th birthday party for the GCRS is being dubbed the “40th-ish” at the Golden and District Museum on September 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is open to everyone to go out, enjoy some family fun, live music, a BBQ, games, and cake.

Chances are, everyone in the community, or someone they know, have accessed one of GCRS’ many programs from employment services, to childcare, senior’s living, the food bank, and many programs in between.

The birthday party is a celebration of the many achievements the GCRS has accomplished over the year, and a fun way to invite people from the community to learn about what the society does, and its lengthy history in the community.

“There are so many people in this community that have been touched in some way,” Adams said. “They either had their first job here, or they contributed and helped out, or were volunteers at the food bank, or worked here for a long time. There’s so many different ways. Almost everyone in town has somehow been a client of something or has someone close that has been.”

Connie Barlow has been the executive director at GCRS for nearly 20 years. When she started, there were only 11 employees and a small budget.

Since then, GCRS has grown to employ 40 people, and the budget has tripled. Evelyn Keenleyside is one of the founding members that took GCRS from its beginnings into the success it is today.

Originally as an executive director, Kennleyside still sits on the board of directors, and has been involved with GCRS since its beginning.

“She was always so into it and interested, and she was always in a good mood, and the greatest boss ever,” Barlow said. “It’s a great place to work, and we’ve always had an amazing board.”

In the 1970s, the NDP premier of B.C. Dave Barrett set a standard to improve childcare in the province, and built community resource societies to fill the need. Golden’s society began as a result of this, and has grown to encompass many community groups under its large umbrella, giving many of them a start before forming their own committees, and fostering other programs as their own throughout the years.

“It’s almost like, ethically if we don’t do it, nobody will, and we get pulled into a lot of stuff that way because we have the capacity,” Barlow said. “Our mandate is so broad, it’s to evaluate what’s going on in town and assess, and identify gaps, and fill those gaps if we can. Anything that comes up could be under there.”

Because of its broad scope, GCRS takes on many projects and programs, and isn’t overly constrained by what type of work they take on.

“A number of years ago, we were all in a class together, and a young mom said that she was interested in making a spray park happen, and she came to talk to [Barlow] and they worked together, and now there’s a spray park,” Adams remembers. “It is that kind of thing that happens here.”

Although they aren’t yet sure how many people will attend the birthday celebration, Adams and Barlow speculated that if every child and their parents from Mountainside Childcare attended, they would have 300 people in attendance.

They hope everyone from the community will come out to enjoy the family-style picnic at the museum, and check out the display boards that will be up featuring past work from the GCRS, and take a walk down memory lane. A lot of community members are featured in pictures and articles from the past that people may find interesting.

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