The Victoria Computer Club is entering its fourth decade of helping people enter and explore the digital age, and are hoping to help some more.
Also known as Big Blue & Cousins, a name they are shying away from due to its outdated slang for an IBM computer, the club has brought together an estimated 6,000 people with an interest in computers over its long history.
“We’ve helped that many people in the last 30 years in the Victoria area,” said president George Bowden.
While an interest in computers unites all members, subsections have formed with particular interests including digital photography, genealogy research, WordPress web design, Linux operating systems and more.
One mandate of the club is to teach seniors how to use computers. Club member John Carruthers teaches seniors for two hours a week on all aspects of computer use. A recent class taught attendees nine ways to open a website.
“You can put the shortcut on your favourites bar. You can put it in your favourites. You can drag the favourite icon on down and put it on your desktop. You can drag it down, put it on your task bar,” he said, listing several options.
Troubleshooting through computer problems is another aspect of the club and members are there to help others with security issues, viruses and a wide variety of other concerns.
“We never get the same problem twice,” Carruthers said. “Nobody knows everything about everything.”
Socializing is the other main draw. The club hosts potluck dinners at holidays and monthly meetings involve food and gathering. “The social part is a big part of it,” Bowden said.
Current membership hovers around 150, but organizers would like to see that number increase by about 50. While seniors are often drawn to the club, it is open to members of all ages. Bringing in some younger people with up-to-date computer skills to teach would be of benefit.
As part of its recruitment drive, the club is hosting an open house at its clubhouse (85A Burnside Rd. W.) on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Curious computer users are invited to come by, check out the facility and learn what the club offers. New members qualify for a $50 one-year membership, as compared to the usual $75 cost.
The club is also looking for another community group to share the clubhouse. Bowden estimates the club uses it only about 40 per cent of the time, leaving the location readily available for classes, clubs or other groups in need of a space set up for instruction.
Anyone interested is asked to send an email to email@example.com. For more information on the club, visit bbc.org.