Lynda Usher has always multi-tasked.
It comes, she said, of having been a teacher, and of having a wide range of interests.
Since she and husband Ted moved to the hamlet of Bond Head in 1975, Usher has had ample opportunity to expand those interests, and multi-task.
On moving to Bond Head, she immediately became involved in activities at Bond Head United Church, teaching Sunday School, and leading the Junior Choir.
“We had members in the choir who at that time were in the Anglican Church,” she said – so the choir became interdenominational, performing at three local churches.
“Way back, we actually organized a live nativity scene in front of the church,” she remembered, with live animals provided by a local farming family.
Since then, Usher has immersed herself in the history and social scene of her adopted hamlet. While Ted became involved in the local Lions Club, Lynda joined the Bond Head Horticultural Society (now the Bond Head-Bradford Garden Club) and served on the executive team, got involved in the Bond Head Santa Claus Parade Committee back when Bond Head was the only BWG community to host a parade, and helped organize Reunion Picnics in the Bond Head park.
When she retired from her teaching job, Usher opened her own tutoring service in Beeton, dedicated to providing tutoring at a reasonable cost for children struggling with school. “My clientele were grandparents who wanted to see their grandchildren do well, and special needs kids,” she said.
Having a business didn't slow down her involvement in local volunteer groups and events.
“There were so many activities in Bond Head,” she said. “So much community spirit.”
Usher used to write – for free – for the Bradford Witness, then the Bradford Times and The Topic, preparing articles about local history and events.
She is a member of the BWG Local History Association, served as a member of the BWG Heritage Committee that encouraged the town to look into the feasibility of declaring Bond Head a Heritage Conservation District – and was chair of the Bond Head 175 Committee, that organized the 2012 celebration of the founding of the oldest hamlet in Simcoe County.
“That was a lot of work,” she said; she and her committee, which also organized the first Music in the Park event at Bond Head’s Bud Brown Memorial Park, put in long hours to ensure the success of a 3-day celebration, that included a farmers' market, car show and parade.
Usher was a volunteer with Matthews House Hospice in Alliston for over a decade, and volunteered as a tutor to teach English to the first family of Syrian refugees to arrive in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
She has now been advised to slow down and take it easy, for health reasons - so she no longer sits on the executive board of the various groups with which she volunteers. But she still belongs to and regularly attends meetings of the BWG Local History Association, Bond Head-Bradford Garden Club, Bond Head Women’s Institute, Danube Seniors Leisure Centre, and Red Hat Society – and still provides English as Second Language tutoring for immigrants and seniors.
Just don’t ask her for the full list of her volunteer involvement.
“I forget,” she laughs.
As for how she manages to juggle all of her activities, as well as an active social life and travel, she said, “Sometimes I wonder… Being a teacher and, I guess, the job I had arranging programs for special education, gifted kids and enrichment programs - you had to multitask.”