Q&A with Rob Hampton, vice president of Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society

Rob Hampton is vice president of the Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society, which manages the Blueberry Mountain Community Hall.

You became a registered society on August 31, 1962. How did the Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society come about?
The society started out as Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Club, formed in 1939 by the ladies of the community. The main function of the club was to provide or sponsor community events. The club also supported charitable organizations. At the time the club was instrumental in donating items and money to the Red Cross to support Canadian soldiers in combat.

In 1959 the club took over the operation of the Blueberry Mountain Hall from the Blueberry Mountain Community Recreational Association. In 1962 the club became the registered society, and it remains so today.

How many members does the society have?
We have eight board members and many additional members that volunteer for our events. We try to encourage community members to become involved and welcome anyone to become a member and to attend our meetings.

How do you attract new members?
Advertising on our Facebook page and word of mouth.

Is the Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society a way to keep a community connected?
Yes, all community events are held at the hall and all community members are welcome to attend.

Has the area changed since the Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society first started?
Yes, we have larger farms and smaller families so Blueberry Mountain does not have the population of the 60’s and 70’s, where there was a family almost every two miles. We also saw the closure of the Blueberry Creek School in the late 80’s, which eliminated that as a place of gathering for concerts, picnics, etc.

You have a new community hall. What difference has this made for the community?
We now have a better functioning hall on our own land. One of the advantages of having our own land is that in the future we plan to provide dry RV parking for events or for anyone that needs or would like a place to park for a few days. We are also going to establish walking trails between the hall and our church. These trails will also encompass some pioneer buildings along the way. The operational costs of the new hall are also more viable than the old hall, and we have a modern commercial kitchen.

What is the capacity of the new hall?
Seating capacity is approximately 100 people.

Do you host events?
We host three major events every year – the Father’s Day Breakfast, Fall Supper and the Concession at the Moonshine Lake Family Day in February.

What is your biggest event of the year?
Our “Toonie” Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast. The hall is usually filled to capacity for this event.

Does the Blueberry Hall get rented out on a regular basis?
Yes.

What are the rates to rent the hall?
Our rates vary according to the type and length of the function. Our rates are advertised on our Facebook Page or can be obtained at the time of booking.

Is a community group such as yours still just as relevant today as it was when it first started?
Yes, but perhaps in a different capacity. The society now manages the hall and the historic church in Blueberry Mountain. The hall remains the nucleus of community events. When the club was first formed it was also a social outing for the many ladies of the community and a way for a newcomer to get to know her neighbours. With social media, this is no longer one of the focuses. The society holds a meeting every month to discuss upcoming events and details involving the ongoing maintenance or improvements to the hall or the church.

What do you hope the future will hold forthe Blueberry Mountain Goodwill Society?
Additional membership, continued support of community events, support and use of our new hall. We hope to host more events in the future.