If you want to find a prime example of Ottawa’s underappreciated volunteers, you don’t have to look any farther than The Ottawa Personal Computer Users’ Group (OPCUG). Working largely through the Ottawa Public Library’s Community Events Initiative: https://tinyurl.com/l8s5xan enthusiastic and knowledgeable members of the OPCUG have presented nearly 500 information sessions over the past few years on subjects ranging from Windows, to Email, to Security, to Software, to Consumer Awareness, to Publishing Digital Photos . . . and the list goes on and on. The lucky people attending these sessions have ranged from very basic users, to experienced professionals, and they have all come away knowing that they are now able to get more enjoyment and productivity from the use of their computers and portable devices.
Public Relations Director Jeff Dubois proudly related to me that one most stellar examples of the dedication of these OPCUG members is current President Chris Taylor, who was recently awarded a richly-deserved City Builder Award by Mayor Jim Watson, in recognition of the hundreds of workshops that he himself has presented!
The OPCUG meets on the second Wednesday of the month from September to June, at the Aviation Museum. The doors open for a social time at 7:00, the main presentation starts at 7:30, and there is a Q&A following. Believe it or not, even though the membership dues are only $25.00 per year, the group does not insist that you must be a member to attend. Although you will not encounter many teenagers, (who seem to get their techie fix through other means) there is otherwise a rich cross sample of young and mature, experienced and not. Jeff Dubois told me that a healthy sign of the times is that the number of women who are members is increasing in recent years. Membership is currently at approximately 120 members and there are some meetings with standing room only! I can tell you from firsthand experience that a new face is immediately made to feel very welcome.
The activities are not solely devoted to technology. There are pizza nights, harness racing events at Rideau Carleton, and over the years the OPCUG silent auctions have raised many hundreds of dollars for the Ottawa Food Bank.
No matter what your background or level of interest, it is well worth your time to have an in-depth look at www.opcug.ca so that you can find more details about just how much this club can offer.
Although the OPCUG is noteworthy, it is not the only group in the region. There are many more clubs – often with a very specific focus – that are maintaining and sharing interest and expertise. www.webruler.com/mark/computer/user.htm is a website that contains links to the websites of many of these groups. In addition, just a few more groups worth special mention are:
: The 50+ Computer Club at the Ottawa Public Library http://tinyurl.com/lxs3mc9
: Future Kids Ottawa www.futurekidsottawa.com/
: Nepean Computer Club & Discussion Group https://tinyurl.com/mge4n97
If you have experience with another technology-oriented group in the area, we would be delighted to hear about it, and will share your suggestions in future columns.