The Huntingdon chapter of the weight-loss group TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this fall. The group was founded on September 13, 1973, when a small group of people gathered to support one another on their weight-loss journey.
“The aim of TOPS is to take off pounds sensibly by counting calories and staying active,” says Rosalie Maither, who now leads the Huntingdon group. “Members meet weekly for a weigh-in, and programs are presented to help us stay on track to reach our weight-loss goals,” she explains. The programs include different chair exercises that can then be done at home throughout the week.
“Many friendships have started as a result, and it’s a great support system, instead of just trying to lose weight on your own,” says Maither, while noting that many locals have benefitted from attending TOPS meetings over the group’s 50-year history.
TOPS was first started 75 years ago by Esther Manz in Milwaukee, when a few friends gathered in her kitchen in January 1948. The group quickly grew to include 2,500 members across the Midwest by 1952, and it expanded into Canada in 1955. The first officers for the Huntingdon group included co-leaders Hazel Darragh and Mary Renaud, as well as Lydia O’Connor, Bernadette Ovans, and Anita Fournier.
To mark the 50th anniversary, members of the local chapter met at the home of Charlene Vaincourt on September 14. They were joined by Joan McElroy, the TOPS coordinator for Quebec, who travelled from Waterloo to attend the celebration, as well as club advocate Susan Morrow from Greenfield Park.
During the celebration, Maither was pleased to recognize certain members for their dedication to the group and their weight-loss success. Charlene Harrigan was applauded for being with the group for 45 years, while Janice Knowles was also commended for her 43 years of membership. Dorothy Barr, Marilyn Pratt, and Therese Legault were also highlighted for reaching and maintaining their weight-loss goals.
The Huntingdon TOPS club meets every Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Montérégie West Community Network’s Wellness Centre. (SR)