55 Plus Games


Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/953397

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 7

2 MANITOBA LIQUOR & LOTTERIES 55 PLUS GAMES | SUPPLEMENT TO THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS LQIR#PDQLWREDVHQLRUFHQWUHVFRP % ( $ & 7 , 9 ( www.manitobaseniorcentres.com Find a centre near you Visit our website 204-792-5838 -RLQ DFHQWUH LQ\RXUDUHD ([HUFLVH\RXUERG\DQGEUDLQWRVWD\ DFWLYHDQGDOLYHDOO\HDUORQJ&HQWUHV DUHSODFHVZKHUHROGHUDGXOWVFRPH WRJHWKHUWRLPSURYHWKHLUKHDOWKDQG TXDOLW\RIOLIHIRUVHUYLFHVDQGSURJUDPV DQGWRVXSSRUWSHUVRQDOLQGHSHQGHQFH DQGHQFRXUDJHLQYROYHPHQWLQFRPPXQLW\ OLIH9LVLWRXUZHEVLWHWRGD\IRUD FRPSOHWHOLVWLQJRI&HQWUHVLQ0DQLWRED :HPD\KDYHD&HQWUHQHDU\RX -RLQD&HQWUH7RGD\ %H$FWLYH$OO$URXQG Today — 37 years after the first competition was held in Winnipeg — the event is known as the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries 55 Plus Games. And while everything started in Winnipeg, the annual event has since been held all over Manitoba. "Over the years, it's reached pretty much every corner of the province," says Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries 55 Plus Games co-ordinator Karyn Heidrick. "It's truly been all over the province from The Pas in the north, to every corner of the south." That said, while moving the Games around the province has been a sound strategy — doing that gives different communities a shot at holding them and keeps them fresh — that strategy combined with good old-fashioned community spirit has enabled the Games to remain relevant all these years later, says Heidrick, who's been Games' co-ordinator since 2011. "They just embrace the Games. For example, over the last number of years, we wanted to get western Manitoba involved again, so we held the Games in Brandon (2016), Killarney (2017), and will be holding them in Glenboro this year June 12-14, 2018," she says. "Each community, from those that held the Games before Brandon, to Brandon, Killarney and now Glenboro, have welcomed the opportunity, and really focused in on it." It's a focus that's been all-encompassing, adds Heidrick. "Everyone gets involved, from restaurants, to hotels and different levels of government — even kids in school get involved. The different towns have welcomed the chance to showcase their community." There's also an advantage gained from holding the Games in smaller communities. When the event is in town, it becomes the community's focal point. "Everyone takes part in the celebration together," she says. "Having the Games in smaller communities really creates a sense of togetherness." In turn, that "all-in" attitude isn't lost on the visiting competitors. "That sense of excitement really rubs off on Games participants," Heidrick says. "They see the welcome signs and feel included. The event is about them and is a celebration for them. It's something they really appreciate." Year-in, year-out, the athletes have shown their appreciation through steady attendance. The all-time high for participation was set at the 1995 Winkler-hosted Games, when about 1,600 participants took part. "Generally, we get about 1,000 registrations each year," Heidrick says. Participation is also driven by a regular infusion of new events. "We do our best to stay on top of which events have the most appeal to competitors," Heidrick says. "We not only have our core events such as golf, bowling, slo-pitch and shuffleboard, but we also monitor and adjust the lineup parking the less popular events, and adding new ones each year. Pickleball was a successful addition, and we'll also be adding bocce ball, as it's making a comeback. We'll also be adding both regular curling and stick curling this year, as well as archery and badminton as demonstration sports." The end result is a three-day competition in which both the community and visiting athletes are fully engaged. "The Games are three days of fun-filled events where participants engage in friendly competition with friends in a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere," Heidrick says. "Thanks to the communities, the athletes end up taking a piece of the Games home. They love that community spirit support and can't wait for the next Games, so they can compete with friends — and experience being embraced by a community all over again." ❙ About the 55 Plus Games The 55 Plus Games offer up many opportunities to promote the benefits of healthy active living for older Manitobans and many opportunities to encourage all Manitobans 55 years of age or older to participate in regular physical, mental and social activities associated with the 55 Plus Games. 55 Plus Games' purpose: ❱ To provide a sport and recreation outlet for friendly competition for Manitobans 55 and over. ❱ To provide and promote opportunities that contribute to the education, culture, social activity and general well-being of Manitobans 55 and over. ❱ To engender a sense of community spirit by providing the opportunity and catalyst for bringing older adults, their families and the community at large together to participate in the 55 Plus Games. EMBRACING THE GAMES BY TODD LEWYS FOR THE FREE PRESS The 2017 55 Plus Games were held in Killarney. SUPPLIED PHOTOS Nearly four decades ago, the Manitoba Society of Seniors started a friendly athletic competition designed to show folks age 55 and above still possessed plenty of athletic prowess.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of 55 Plus Games - 2018