Getting things ready for the future
The last 18 months have been a genuine struggle for small organizations. With most events cancelled due to the pandemic, many not-for-profit groups are finding it a challenge to stay afloat.
That’s certainly the case for the Hampton Community Historical Society, which oversees the Hampton School site at the intersection of Highway 26 and Highway 834 (the Round Hill road), including the school building, a gazebo, shed and public washrooms.
The school was built in 1904 and operated until 1952. Following that, the building was used as a community centre – home to square dances and the Rural Electrification Association, sewing circles, horseshoe tournaments and more. Since 1983, the Hampton Community Historical Society has been in place to help preserve the school, buildings and site.
During this time of closures, the Historical Society has not been able to host its usual fundraising pancake breakfast or any of the family reunions and other events that help to pay the bills. And that means covering the cost of maintaining the grounds and outbuildings has become more difficult. In fact, according to Karen Norrie, the society’s secretary-treasurer, it’s been hard to keep the yard light on, even though it’s considered a beacon for area travellers.
Regardless of these hard times, the Historical Society is determined to rebound. That’s why they were grateful to receive a grant from the Battle River Community Foundation to reshingle the gazebo and shed; and to build and paint two new picnic tables.
“Even when we can’t host events, our site is used,” Karen explains. “People stop there all the time – they take the opportunity to get off their bike or out of their car and stretch their legs. They have picnics in the gazebo or even just use the washrooms. So it’s important that everything be kept in a well maintained condition. And when we can host events again, we want to be ready. We’re already looking forward to having a pancake breakfast next year.”
The work is all done by volunteers, including Karen’s brother Keith Nelson who acts as the Society’s President, Dale Bowal who serves as Vice President and Bernie Banack, maintenance coordinator.
“It’s an honour for us to help preserve the school and it’s history,” says Karen. “We’re looking forward to continuing to play a role in serving the Hampton community.”