A Red Maple in Flower
The sky is a bowl of Delft blue, a mad young spring wind is whipping through the trees and making our wind chime dance with joy, the daffodils are dancing too and everywhere, in every shade of green, spring is here. And where am I? Not out enjoying the wonderful day, that's for sure. I am sitting at my computer alternately looking wistfully through the window, writing this post and trying to fill in and make persuasive a 38 page grant application.
The application form is a provincial government creation and, besides being in two different fonts and a rainbow array of colours, covers every possible question any size or type of applying organization could possibly be asked. In excruciating detail. Since our organization is small, runs on fumes and has very little administrative structure, it falls to me as one of the volunteer board members to try to get what we want and why we want it into the shape they require. And it is making me furious.
I could write a one page submission that would include the financial stuff in one small graph and tell them all they require. But failure to fill in their impossible form correctly causes them to throw out the application. He who holds the money calls the tune, for sure. I expect the department dispensing the cash hired an expert to design this form - it has all sorts of bells and whistles and came to me 'locked', for goodness sake. Cute little boxes to check. Five column work plans to fill out. I need some headache medication and probably a blood pressure check. And more coffee.
That was written on Wednesday and it is now Friday. I spent yesterday on a mad treasure hunt from place to place gathering all the documents that the Gov't demanded accompany the grant application, with a final careen into our local town where I navigated through the road reconstruction from hell to get to the courier and get the wad of paper sent off in time to be in under deadline, at astronomical cost. Enough! The next time someone mentions a grant application I am going to do the 'duck and cover' I learned in grade school. You know about that? The one where you curled up under your desk with your elbows up over your ears as protection if someone dropped an atom bomb? More than many things I was taught, this is useful in the right circumstances, as in board meetings where someone is needed to do something time consuming and trivial.
Ah well. We might, long chance, even get some money.
And we need it. The grant was applied for by the ASK steering committee that I think I have written about previously (only I can't find it!) ASK is a group of seniors that co-ordinates and runs various beneficial activities, things like line dancing, bocce parties, Wii bowling, in the various halls in our sparsely populated and spread out township. (AS stands for Active Seniors and the K is for koalition, to make a good acronym, sigh) We got money from our local Ministry of Health body called a (LHIN) under a funding structure called 'Aging at Home'. The theory is that if you keep seniors active and connected to the community, they will be healthier and cost the health system less.
Originally we got three years' worth of funding for a .25 co-coordinator's position and money for equipment. One year into the project, when we are experiencing a 35% increase in attendance, the LHIN pulled the funding. Seems they needed the money more for 'home care' for fragile seniors. In fact, the organization that supplies 'home care' went into the red and had to pull the case workers. And the LHIN had to bale them out and grabbed back our money to do so. Or that's what we figure. Talk about short term thinking!
At the moment, our co-coordinator is continuing unpaid and the rest of us who volunteer are trying to lighten up her load. Thus Mary G inside on one of the nicest days this spring. And now, having vented all this steam and had fun calling the provincial government a bunch of anally retentive stupes, I am going outside to pull raspberry canes out of my iris bed. In my bug shirt.