11:30 a.m., April 20)
Rendez-vous des aînés honours current, past
By Fred Sherwin
Rendez-vous des aînés francophones dOttawa
(RAFO) is celebrating its 15th anniversary this
year and on Sunday they honoured the men who have been
instrumental in the senior clubs enduring success.
Poulin is the clubs founding president and the man
who had the vision and determination to give the club
a permanent home on Navan Road.
Presidents Club (l to r) Gerry Poulin,
Marcel Guilbeault and Lucien Brisebois. Fred
came up with the idea for the francophone seniors club
in 2000 during a chance meeting with the clubs founding
vice-president Fern Leduc, who at that time was a member
of the Sarsfield Seniors Club.
bumped into Fern at McDonalds one day and he said,
Gerry we should have a seniors club in Orléans,
and if theres anybody that can do that its
you. recalled Poulin. So we founded
the club in 2001 and this year we are going to celebrate
our 15th anniversary,"
its first four years in existence, the clubs membership
hovered between 60 to 120 members. It wasnt until
the club moved into its current home on Navan Road
that the membership began to take off under the leadership
of Marcel Guilbeault, who took over from Poulin in 2005.
had just retired in January and in February Gerry came
to see me and said, I need your help. We need to
prepare a business plan to buy this building, which
I did and eventually we bought the building, said
It was a good retirement project. Aand secondly, we needed
a place for francophone seniors to get together and have
activities and get involved in the community."
Poulin first approached Guilbeault to help put a business
plan together, the club had just $4,000 in the bank.
The asking price for the former school which the club
now calls home was $750,000.
seller was a Muslim organization that wanted to relocate
to the west end. When they found out that Poulin wanted
to use the building for a community seniors centre, they
lowered the price to $615,000.
order to raise the $260,000 downpayment they needed, Poulin
came up with the clever idea to sell corporate bonds.
wrote down 50 names of people I thought might be interested
in investing and by the time I had gotten to the 30th
name on the list I had raised $378,000, says Poulin.
clubs current president, Lucien Brisebois, took
over from Guilbeault in 2011, but the retired lawyers
involvement with the club dates back to 2005 when was
approached by Poulin to help with the negotiations for
he first came to me I thought he was dreaming. But you
need dreamers and then you need practical guys like Marcel
and I who can help turn the dream into a reality,
the club has over 700 members who can take part in a variety
of social activities organized on a daily basis, including
lunches, board games, field trips, etc. There are a number
of events planned to celebrate the 15th anniversary over
the coming months culminating in a gala dinner on October
more information about the Rendez-vous des aînés
francophones dOttawa visit www.rafo.ca.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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