Day-long party marks Monterey’s 45 years

Longtime Monterey computer club slashes membership cost

Longtime computer club leader Ena Cooke takes some time in the lab at the Monterey Recreation Centre.

Longtime computer club leader Ena Cooke takes some time in the lab at the Monterey Recreation Centre.

Seniors in the computer club start September similar to students heading back to class.

Among the first tasks to the group is using Microsoft Word, to tell the story “what I did this summer,” says club leader Georgina (Ena) Cooke.

It’s not intimidating, a fairly simple program and reintroduces members to their technology after the potential of summer off. This year, its 17th, the Computer Club embarks on a bit of a tangent offering lessons on iPads and cell phones as well as the longtime offering of PC lessons.

“We also have iPads. If you don’t have an iPad you can come here and have a try on ours,” Cooke said.

They routinely go from desktop to tablet and back again, comparing the two devices and learning on both.

“We have real good times here,” she said, gesturing the pristine white room at Monterey where they hold classes, meetings and the occasional party.

Cooke’s been clicking about in the computer lab since its inception, and a member at Monterey for more than two decades since her late husband signed her up.

“I’ve seen it move tremendously forward. We had all these old computers form the municipality and such,” she said, recalling bulky towers and monitors that filled the room that she then called the “library dump.”

Now the clean white room, filled with desks built by fellow Monterey members in the woodworking club, boasts sleek black personal computers after a major facelift to the Granite Room two years ago.

Now they’re all on one network and a class leader can project his or her work onto a wall screen and everyone can follow along.

Participants meet once a week and offer five different sessions in a week from basic to advanced.

“We all help each other, that’s the great thing about seniors … and none of us are geniuses,” Cooke said.

“It’s a social thing. It’s not just learning. They’re all chums.”

The September meeting will include speaker Michael Dingle, who did contract work on XP for Microsoft and is a “multi enterprise” kind of guy and her neighbour.

He’ll talk about computers, tablets and even cell phones.

“People have (cell phones), and we’ve got to combine everything,” Cooke said. Software and hardware upgrade options and the buy-versus-upgrade question create lively conversation.

“It is fun because everyone talks about it,” Cooke said. The club finds ways to make things relevant to life, from Excel documents related to personal finances and stocks to Microsoft Word.

“Of course everybody does Word to write their life stories,” Cooke said with a laugh.

The biggest change is fee a slashed beyond 50 per cent; Monterey Computer Club’s annual membership fee is $25 in addition to the annual Monterey membership.

Visit to learn more about the club that will be among the 35 on display at the Monterey Recreation Centre Sept. 6.

“It’s quite like an expo. Each of our clubs will be set up, they’ll have displays around the Garry Oak Room and share information,” said Joanne Donohue, programmer at Monterey Recreation Centre.

“The majority of our clubs are taking new members,” Donohue said, adding most clubs have no added cost to the annual $43 Monterey membership.

“A number of the clubs have taken a break through the summer. It’s a natural starting time,” she said.

The open house doubles as a birthday party this year with day-long offerings starting with breakfast.

The Discover Monterey All Clubs open house starts the morning of Sept. 6 with a pancake breakfast in the Fern Cafe from 9 a.m. while supplies last for $7.30, or $4.50 for members.

“That reflects our 45th anniversary and reflects a generous donation by the Oak Bay Seniors Activity Association,” Donohue said.

The open house runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Garry Oak Room. Club representatives offer displays and information about the many organizations within the centre. The day wraps with a birthday cake and entertainment.

Discover Monterey All Clubs is Sept. 6 at the recreation centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. Call 250-370-7300 for more information.