Almost 50 years later, and still going strong

The Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary is gearing up for its annual Dart Turkey Shoot on Sunday, Oct. 4;

  • Sep. 16, 2015 5:00 a.m.
Fort St. James Hospital

Fort St. James Hospital

Barbara Roden

Caledonia Courier

The Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary is gearing up for its annual Dart Turkey Shoot on Sunday, Oct. 4; but in case anyone thinks they need special skills or talents to win a prize, convener Sherry Nielsen is quick to reassure them.

“It’s a game of chance; there’s no skill involved!” she says. Participants pay a $10 entrance fee and then get three shots at a dartboard covered with numbers. Your numbers are added up, and then various draws are made of numbered slips of paper taken from a bucket. The person whose total comes closest to the drawn number, without going over, wins one of 15 turkeys on offer.

“But everyone gets some sort of prize,” says Nielsen. “Everyone who comes goes home with something.”

This year’s event takes place at a new venue: the North Arm Pub on Stones Bay Road. The shoot used to take place at the Legion, but with its closure a different location had to be found, and the pub stepped up. “They’re donating the use of the building,” says Nielsen, who adds that the lunch concession will be run by the pub, which takes the profit from the food and alcohol sales. “The Auxiliary gets the profit from the event.”

That profit is a hefty one: last year’s Dart Turkey Shoot raised $5,404 for the Auxiliary. Now approaching its 50th year, the group has raised more than $320,000 that has been spent on hospital equipment, garden maintenance, and purchases that assist with patient comfort and make it easier for hospital staff to serve the needs of patients. In the last year the Auxiliary has purchased several pieces of hospital equipment—with a value of more than $6,500—that Northern Health would not have purchased, including two TVs (one for the Extended Care lounge), lamps, a commode ocean shower chair, and six chairs for the Public Health Unit. Recognizing that many Fort St. James residents need to make use of hospital facilities in other nearby communities, the group also donated $5,000 for the new stress test equipment in St. John’s Hospital in Vanderhoof.

Each year the Auxiliary provides the Dr. Brian Bowers Bursary (worth a total of $1,500) to a graduate of Fort St. James Secondary School who is going into a medical related field. The group also works with junior volunteers from the high school, who come and play cards, read to, and sit with those occupying the six long-term care beds at the hospital.

The juniors also assist Auxiliary volunteers with taking the gift cart—which dispenses chocolate, chips, pop, and other items—around the hospital and the long-term care. The cart, always a popular item, has had a hiatus of more than ten years due to a lack of volunteers, but it started back in operation this summer.

Nielsen notes that the Auxiliary, which currently has close to 30 members, is always looking for new faces, and that the obligations are light. “We meet once a month, with July and August off, and only have three annual events: one in the spring, the Dart Turkey Shoot in October, and a Christmas Raffle in November. The only commitment from volunteers is what they want to put into it.”

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Hospital Auxiliary—which meets at 7:00pm on the second Wednesday of the month in the hospital cafeteria—should contact President JulieAnn Mortenson at (250) 996-7485, or Sherry Nielsen at (250) 996-1550.