Story and photos by Lorraine Gibson-Alcock
As I woke up the other day after my first exercise class in over 30 years, with my body aching in unfamiliar places, the old expression came to mind, “In for a penny, in for a pound!” A pound of flesh, that is!
A neighbour of mine talked to me about this exercise club, ‘The Silver Foxes’, she was starting up a few years ago, but as I was still working full time I did not research it further. But as I got older and worried about the formidable aches and pains of getting older, plus the additional pounds going on my frame, I decided now was the time!
I arrived at the Marmora Community Centre and there was my neighbour along with a number of ‘silver foxes.’ They ranged in age from 55 to over 80, with hair colour from red to white. Why the ‘Silver Foxes’ moniker, I wondered? I soon found out as the DVD playing on the new flat screen TV showed Richard Simmons in a much younger form encouraging ‘The Silver Foxes.’ These were women and men in varying degrees of advancing years doing leg lifts, knee bends and arm movements, all low impact activities to enhance and sustain better fitness levels for ‘Silver Citizens.’ It was a great workout.
My neighbour Dorothy Caverly, now in her 80’s, had been in Florida about 13 years ago and upon returning home realized she needed to have a regular exercise program. She saw the VHS tape and purchased it. After coming home she gathered a group of like-minded people together and started the local ‘Silver Foxes’. Expensive you say? $100 a month…$50? They meet every Monday and Thursday, at 9 AM and do the routines for about 45 minutes all for a low cost of a toonie for each class. Before and after there is a social element, where everyone chats and catches up on their lives.
The membership fluctuates between summer and winter – some go south in the winter and in the summer cottagers attend. The club operates 12 months a year – no time off for the summer as many classes seem to do. This has become a real community. Several members are either in the throes of cancer treatment or recovering from this or other illnesses; many are newcomers to the area; all have varying reasons for attending. It has become an unofficial support network and all are welcome, newcomers, incomers, old-timers alike. They get together socially a couple of times a year for a summer BBQ and Christmas lunch to honour their achievements, either physical or financial.
And what financial achievements! The Silver Foxes of Marmora and area have much to crow about! From their first class date of April 11, 2005, those toonies have accumulated and given back to the community to an amazing amount of $11,835.60. The group does not support just one or two endeavours but many, including the Marmora Medical Centre, local Fire Department, Library, Memorial Park, Community Centre, Food Bank and Historical Society; as well as other organizations sorely in need of funds like Three Oaks, Campbellford Memorial Hospital, and the Heart of Hastings Hospice.
So a Toonie can make a world of difference, not only in your own life but in the lives of many.