The Haliburton Highlands CARP chapter is moving forward under new direction as its only-ever president Bob Stinson steps down from his position.
After six-and-a-half years at the helm, the 85-year old is stepping down into a community liaison role. No one person is set to take over as head of the chapter. Instead, his position will be filled by committee, with other members of the chapter’s board working together to manage his former duties.
“Things are catching up to me,” Stinson said. “I just don’t feel capable of doing the job that should be done … I’m disappointed that I didn’t create a situation where somebody was ready to step in and take my place.”
Running Haliburton’s CARP chapter has gone well over the past few years, Stinson said. He noted the success of its launch in 2012, with over 200 people attending, and how the chapter became the country’s fastest growing.
Today, it stands with approximately 700 members. Under his leadership, Stinson said the chapter ran workshops and advocated for senior’s issues in the county. Senior housing was foremost amongst them, especially given the county’s rising senior population.
“We simply need to concentrate on building more for the seniors that are here,” Stinson said. “We’re approaching 65 per cent of the population is seniors, that’s huge. Lots of them have to move away or they can’t live on their own because there’s nobody here for them. That’s sad because this is where they want to be.”
Stinson, who also serves on the Aging Well committee, said he had laments as president. He said he would have liked to have been able to better work with the whole County of Haliburton, instead of a focus around Haliburton village. He also commented on the struggles of grooming a successor, after the passing of vice president Peter Minaki in 2015.
CARP Haliburton acting president Elaine Schmid said it has been a struggle to find lasting board members for the group and Stinson will be sorely missed.
“To think that any one person can step in and take over for him is kind of unrealistic because he probably knows more about what CARP is about than anybody,” Schmid said. “That was his baby.”
Schmid said she proposed running the chapter without a regular president, instead taking turns running meetings. She added the idea has gotten support from CARP head office.
She said with non-profit advocacy groups being mostly run by older people, this kind of measure could prove more necessary, due to reluctance for individuals to take on a leadership position.
“They’re going to have to share responsibility in order to keep these groups alive,” Schmid said.
Stinson said he appreciated CARP’s board taking this measure, as he does not see any alternative.
“Got a lot of faith. If there’s any way to make it work, they’ll make it work,” he said.