A South Surrey resident and volunteer in the community has been appointed CARP chief advocacy and communications officer for Western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta).
Ramona Kaptyn, a longtime member of the national board of CARP, has served as president of the White Rock/Surrey Chapter of CARP for the past 10 years. In 2022, she ran for a Surrey council seat, coming in ninth in a field of 56 candidates.
CARP, formerly the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, advocates for the rights of older adults and has 330,000 members across the country.
“I have always loved my advocacy work with CARP because I think ageism is so harmful,” Kaptyn said via email Tuesday, while travelling.
“As we grow older, we have learned so much and have insights to share. Many feel older adults are over the hill and should just relax and take it easy – play golf, cards, lawn bowl. While that is OK for some, it’s not the only future for many of us.”
Kaptyn plans to keep fighting for the rights of seniors, whom, she notes, “have paid our dues (and) do not want to be pigeon-holed or isolated.”
“Sometimes I think many of us older adults are lonely because we are expected to be,” she said.
“Many of us are great contributors to the economy and more. We are not a drain and I hate being referred to as The Silver Tsunami. Aging has an upside – instead of anti-aging, we should be saying pro-aging.”
Kaptyn has an extensive background in communications, marketing, and seniors’ advocacy.
She has worked as a reporter, travel writer, editor, teacher, hotel managing director, event planner and fundraiser in Canada, Australia, England, and Spain.
From 2002 to 2008, Kaptyn worked in international development in Southeast Asian countries to contribute to a more equitable world.
Her most memorable job was in Bangladesh, where she was an organizational development advisor to four NGOs. Her focus was on good governance and micro-credit.
Her most recent overseas job was in Malaysia preparing Grade 12 scholarship students for entry into Canadian universities.
Kaptyn has also been an executive director, communications director, and fundraiser for a variety of non-profit organizations in Toronto, On. and was a program co-ordinator at Sources Community Resource Centres in White Rock and Surrey.
As well, she serves and has served as a director, president, or member on a variety of boards, clubs and strata councils including the Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table, Seniors on the Move, South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce, and the Surrey Board of Trade.
“I am looking forward to showing people the many benefits of joining CARP,” Kaptyn said.
“You do not have to be retired or a certain age to join. What we achieve now will benefit our children and grandchildren.”
Kaptyn is recipient of a 2022 Outstanding Canadian on the Peninsula Award as well as two Queen’s Jubilee medallions, presented by MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay and MP Ken Hardie.
She will be working to increase CARP membership, build a strong advocacy voice for CARP in Western Canada and inform and support the CARP Chapters in the region.