Featured Club: EJCA 55 & up Club
A huge part of EJCA is that it has so many diverse and exciting clubs and affiliated groups, suitable for all ages - and you may be interested to learn some more about them. So we have interviewed some of our leaders to tell us a bit more...
For this edition, we have talked to Alan Davis.
Q1: What is the official name of your club?
EJCA 55 & up Club. However, we are commonly referred to as the Matsu no Kai Club (Pine Tree Club).
Q2: In one sentence, how would you describe your club?
Matsu no Kai is primarily a social gathering with the added benefits of encouraging general wellness.
Q3: Can you tell us a bit about the history of your club? In what year was it started?
1977. At that time it was called the Century Old Timers Club.
Q4: Are there any stories on how the club was established? (What was the original motivation or reasons that led to its creation? Perhaps there is any interesting background story the readers would be interested to learn?)
Initially there were 21 Issei members who met monthly on the first Sunday of the month in the basement of the McDougall United Church. In March 1997 the former “Century Old-Timers Club of Edmonton” became the EJCA Seniors Club. (c-"History of the EJCA Seniors Club/Matsu no Kai" by Jim Hoyano).
Q5: What is your club’s main focus? Please give us some insights into the purpose and activities your club offers.
We encourage wellness in an informal and relaxed setting. Each meeting includes a short exercise program suitable for any level of fitness, a bento lunch for those who wish to order, and opportunities to learn and have fun in the company of new acquaintances and old friends. Afternoon activities like table games, friendly competitions, speakers, quizzes, movies and do-it-yourself projects keep everyone thinking and learning.
A monthly outing takes us to places in and around Edmonton, and usually includes a lunch at a familiar favourite or new restaurant.
We take part in EJCA’s events like Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival) and bazaar, either as EJCA volunteers or at our own sales table. We also support agencies that help the homeless by contributing hygiene items, socks, and hand-made mitts, hats and scarves.
Car-pooling is available to attend meetings or to join the outings.
Because there are members whose first language is English or Japanese, everyone can feel comfortable and welcomed, and enjoy the fun.
Q6: How many members do you roughly have, and are you looking for new members?
Currently 45. And yes anyone 55 and older, and a member of EJCA is welcome to join us.
Q7: Who is your 'target group'? Who should join you, and why? Are there any age restrictions?
Members of the EJCA who are 55 and older.
Q8: Are new club members expected to know or speak Japanese, or is being able to communicate in English sufficient?
Although most members speak English primarily, we have members whose first language is Japanese, as well as English-speaking members who can communicate in Japanese.
Q9: Now let's talk about the cultural background of your club. How did your arts/sport/craft develop? What's the most fascinating thing about this today?
That's easy. You will all get to be 55 or older.
Q10: In addition to what you’ve already provided, are there any fun facts or trivias about your club or the arts/craft/sport?
Have you ever been challenged to name a new honey & mead beverage or participated in a Thanksgiving auction or dressed up as a space alien to win a Halloween prize or shocked a distillery owner when mostly over 65 year olds have cleaned out their stock after the tour?? Join Matsu no Kai and be part of the fun!
How do you usually engage/meet/train? How often do you meet? Where do you meet? Who are the instructors or leaders?*
Q11: How do you usually engage/meet/train? How often and where do you meet? Who are the instructors or leaders?
We meet 11 times a year at EJCA. A business meeting is followed by a short exercise program, lunch, and an activity, entertainment or presentation. Our monthly outings are chosen by club members.
To end the year, we enjoy a delicious Christmas lunch together at a restaurant like Ernest’s at NAIT.
Q12: Any feedback or testimonials from your existing (or previous) club members about the club? What stands out for them? Any recommendations? Do you have a few quotes for us?
- “It’s nice to have people to go places with.” “…places I’ve never been to”
- “The Meaderie tour was so much fun …the owner was so funny telling about how he lived in Japan and then came back to Alberta and started the business … could talk in Japanese and English.”
- “I’m stuffed … I just made a meal out of the appetizers and dessert.” (Following the buffet lunch by the graduating culinary arts students at NAIT.)
- “My mother thoroughly enjoyed the monthly Matsu no Kai meetings and events over the years. Matsu no Kai always meant so much to her.” (Son of a long-time member)
-“The bentos are delicious.”
- “Let’s have another Men’s Lunch!” (Lunch prepared by the men)
Q13: What is the 'next big exciting thing' you have planned for in 2023? Any highlights you are looking forward to?
With the return of EJCA’s Natsu Matsuri after a 3-year hiatus due to COVID, we are excited to showcase some traditional Japanese treats at our sales table (chirashizushi-flavoured rice with mixed veggies; tokoroten-Japanese custard noodles; karinto-sweet, crunchy Japanese snack) and our twist on the hotdog with Japanese condiments. We’ll all have fun enjoying the festival activities and atmosphere!
Q14: As a club leader, what is a message you would like to get out to prospective members?
We welcome anyone 55 and over to come out and join us for a meeting without any obligation to join. It’s a great place to make new friends, maintain social connections and always share a laugh!
Q15: And lastly, how can people contact you for questions and/or to join? (A website or an email? Whom should they reach out to?)
Alan Davis (President) - email@example.com
Louise Wong (Membership) - firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoyed this and will consider getting in touch if you want to join or like to have more info. Please also see the latest updates and details on our individual clubs pages.