Carlington Community Association president says farewell

Three people stand next to each other outside on a sunny day in a Carlington area park
Charity Bartlett (centre) with River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington (left) and Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi (right) at the Carlington Community Association’s last annual Family Fun Day before the pandemic. Photo courtesy of the Carlington Community Association.

By Alvin Tsang

Charity Bartlett departed her role as president of the Carlington Community Association (CCA) on the May long weekend after years with the organization. 

Bartlett joined the CCA board eight years ago and has served as secretary, development chair and more. Four years ago, she was elected president and helped chart a future for the Carlington community.

“I moved to Ottawa in 2007,” Bartlett said. “Joining the community association was a good way for me to meet people.”

When she first joined the CCA, she became involved in Family Fun Day an event that would become a decade-long annual tradition. Every year, the event was held over Victoria Day weekend. The goal was to make sure families who couldn’t afford to go vacationing had an event they could enjoy. 

As the years went by, Bartlett took on the position of president; fundraising efforts grew; and the CCA was able to do more and plan bigger. Turnout for Family Fun Day increased from 200 people to over 700 in the years that Bartlett was president.

“In the last couple of years that we could hold the event, we served proper food from restaurants,” Bartlett said. “We had a climbing wall, and we had cotton candy and popcorn too. Some of the kids in our community would never get the opportunity to use a climbing wall, so we made sure all the activities were free. We would fundraise for all of it.”

The community was said to be very economically and ethnically diverse, with a good proportion of young families living below the poverty line.

“Family Fun Day was a way we really gave back to the community,” Bartlett said. “It was meaningful.”

Bartlett’s retirement coincided with what would have been this year’s Family Fun Day were it not cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The CCA’s election for a new president began on Tuesday, May 25. 

“All I know right now is that it definitely won’t be me,” Bartlett said. “I have nothing planned for the future except to be past-president.”

Other executive positions and chairs at the CCA will be chosen after the new president is elected.

“The way our bylaws are written, executive positions can only be held for four years, and I’ve done my four,” Bartlett said. “I could go back to the board, but I’m not going to. I believe the board needs to evolve. The CCA needs to evolve. It’s a new world out there.”

The board at the CCA consisted mostly of parents in their 40s. Bartlett considered them the rightful face of the association. 

“We have a lot of young families moving into the neighbourhood,” Bartlett said. “Young parents are the lifeblood of the community.”

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