A crowd of 20 individuals, many of whom are affiliated with various area historical organizations, may have been enough to save the Friends of Crysler’s Farm organization.
All who attended made it very clear that the Friends group is something that they would like to see continue.
Although the details of how those who attended the meeting will volunteer their time have yet to be ironed out, most did what they could at the June 24 meeting to support the organization by paying for memberships. About 10 new members paid the fee, in support of the organization which works as an advocate for the memory of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, a pivotal battle in the war of 1812.
Coming off the Bicentennial year, the group had much to be proud of as the small contingent of a handful of directors was able to work with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to host two huge events, one which welcomed thousands of visitors and over 600 re-enactors to the site, and another which welcomed over 700 school children and the Prime Minister of Canada.
Recently, the acting president of the group shared the group’s difficult situation as active membership continues to decline, and most of those who remain active have been involved with the group since its inception in 1999.
Volunteer fatigue has definitely set in, but last week’s meeting may have breathed new life into the organization.
“I am really pleased to see so many locals turn out to support us,” said Robert Irvine, who has been acting as president in place of Robin Morris, whose failing health prevents him from continuing to be active with the group, though he was able to attend the November 11, 2013 event.
Irvine, and many of the core group are not directly from South Dundas, and have often wondered why local people haven’t gotten more involved.
“What I have seen here tonight definitely shows me there’s enough interest to move this organization forward,” said Irvine.
Gabrielle Thomas, of the SLPC, who has been with the Friends since its inception, added that it was absolutely wonderful that those who attended were also parts of other historical interest groups. Those attending mentioned affiliations with the Grenville Militia, Historical Society of South Dundas, Chesterville Historical Society and Lost Villages Historical Society.
The Friends group is hopeful that a few more hands will lighten the load for events like re-enactments, but might also enable the group to focus more on its advocacy and educational roles.