By Darren Lum
Published March 6 2018
Spring is on its way and it’s time to sign up to compete or help volunteer for district 11 (Haliburton and Muskoka area) towards the upcoming Ontario 55 plus Summer Games.
Sanctioned by the Ontario Senior Games Association the games are an opportunity for anyone 55 and older to not only compete but also get to meet new people with added benefits of physical activity and mental engagement.
There were close to 350 participants in the games from district 11 in 2017. This coming year from May 3 to June 21 there will be an opportunity to compete in athletic and non-athletic events such as bid euchre duplicate and contract bridge 18-hole golf pickleball tennis shuffleboard crokinole carpet bowling predication and Nordic walking and five-pin bowling.
The cost to register is $17 and enables you to enter one or all of the offered events in district 11 for the Summer Games 2018. There are additional fees related to bowling golfing and pickleball.
Forms are available at the OSGA website under district 11 and participating locations such as the local Royal Canadian Legions locations the Pinestone Golf and Conference Centre 241 Pizza in Haliburton and the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre. Deadline to register is April 16.
The top finisher at the district level advances to the provincial competition the Ontario 55 plus Games where there will be 36 OSGA member districts represented in Mississauga from Aug. 10 to 12.
Top finisher at the provincial level this year advances and competes at the Canada 55 plus Gmes held in two years.
District 11 media relations Bev Kerr and it’s co-ordinator John Kerr not only help to organize and promote events but they also compete.
The married couple first participated in the senior games to get involved which started because they wanted to learn more about the community when they moved here from Hamilton five years.
“We really didn’t know anybody. We didn’t know activities that go on throughout the week. We were able to find out that information” John said referring to bid euchre shuffleboard and bridge.
For Bev it was all about engaging with the community on a deeper level.
Getting involved gave them a “a purpose for OK ‘tomorrow I’m going to bid euchre. The next day I’m going to shuffleboard or bridge.’ Then having nothing like staying at the house [was not an option]” she said.
The benefits of doing this has meant a benefit for their physical and mental health which includes the social connections they’ve developed into lasting friendships.
Getting involved isn’t new for them and was something they did while living in Hamilton.
There is a type of reunion that takes place at different competitions particularly the Canadian level events.
“Once you’re involved in a few years you look forward to seeing people from different places in Ontario because you meet them there” he said.
The Kerrs compete as a team when they can.
This summer the Kerrs will be heading to the East Coast to represent district 11 in predication walking and Nordic walking (prediction with poles) Canada plus 55 Games. They will compete in St. John New Brunswick from Aug. 21 to 24.
These competitions not only satiate the couples desire to compete but also provide a chance to learn about other communities.
Bev appreciates the opportunity to visit different communities in the province and in the country that she would otherwise not have a reason to visit.
The Kerrs usually compete in bid euchre and euchre contract and duplicate bridge cribbage predication and Nordic walking shuffleboard and bocce.
Before they came here and competed in the senior games they had never played contract bridge and bocce. Now they are gold medal winners in bocce. They appreciated the opportunity to learn a new game and believe other seniors can do the same.
John said he is appreciative to main sponsor Bank of Montreal who helped with the purchase of T-shirts that will be worn by the district 11 competitors at the Ontario Senior Games.
Volunteers are welcome and needed as timers for the upcoming prediction walk event on Wednesday June 6 in Haliburton.
Contact Mary Johnson at 705-754-1884 or Doug McIntosh at 705-489-3850 for more information.