BY GLORIA J. KATCH
Special to the VOICE
WANTED: Party and event planners! For those who enjoy expressing their inner celebratory strategies, the Town of Pelham is looking for several members to join its Hospitality Committee for the new community centre.
Vickie vanRavenswaay, Director of Recreation, Culture and Wellness, is seeking two to a maximum of six more members to assist with determining the best uses for the centre. The Hospitality Committee acts as a resource and an advisory board to council, as it assists the municipality in reaching its monetary goals. While vanRavenswaay didn’t disclose a specific figure, she said her objective is to have revenue exceed the centre’s expenditures as much as possible, and guarantees this committee will succeed. She represents the Town’s staff on the committee, which meets at the community centre once a month, down the hall from her second floor, state-of the-art office, which she acknowledged has a wonderful open-air atmosphere.
Karen Blake, administrative assistant for the Recreation, Culture and Wellness department, as well as Councillor Mike Ciolfi, who has a background in fundraising, also help administer and steer the committee. Member Jake Dilts acts as “the voice” for the many service clubs in Pelham, Blake said, adding, “which we want to keep strong.”
As far as the requirements for membership on the committee are concerned, anyone who has been in the hospitality industry understands good customer service and “best practises,” to execute events efficiently, Blake said. Chefs, event planners, restauranteurs, winemakers, facility managers and others in the culinary arts are all good matches for the hospitality committee. These are all people who know the “tricks of the trade,” she added. A committee member is required to assist with planning, but they are not required to assist with the coordination or physical labour of setting up or tearing down events.
“We have staff for that,” she said.
Committee members bring their expertise to the table, and so only a few hours a month to attend meetings is required. There is not a large time commitment needed for this position that has its rewards in seeing many people of all ages entertained and enjoying themselves.
The community centre currently rents out its many rooms for meetings and events that include anniversaries, communions, birthday parties and showers. Recently, the events have been extended to include a comedy night that resulted in sold-out crowds. A community theatre group also performed well, and vanRavenswaay believes there will be more of these types of large entertainment scheduled.
The community centre features a stage, sound and audiovisual systems, tables and chairs as well as many attributes to suit all types of entertainment and sporting events. Currently, yoga and zumba classes are offered, and vanRavenswaay noted that it is sometimes difficult running programs for eight weeks, because other bookings conflict, and then “you have to bump them” to another time slot.
Currently, one of the biggest appeals in the hospitality industry is “one stop shopping,” points out vanRavenswaay. Everyone renting facilities wants the convenience of having everything available in one location. It’s a challenge that she, along with the committee members, will be working toward.