The annual Senior Games are headed for Elmira this summer, though they will be played under a slightly different format this year. Previously associated with District 26 of the Senior Games Association of Ontario for nearly 30 years, the two have severed their partnership this year, meaning the games will take on a new moniker as the Woolwich 55+ Invitational Games. “The format is the same. The rules and everything are all the same, it’s just that we’re on our own,” said chairperson George Read.
The games are open to all seniors 55 years of age and older living within the seven areas of the Golden Triangle of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, New Hamburg, Fergus, Elmira and Guelph, and participants do not need to be a part of any seniors group or association to participate.
Read said that registration forms, along with a full schedule of events and information on how to register, will be distributed to seniors’ activity centres throughout those seven cities soon, and the deadline for registration is May 16.
The games include 21 events, ranging from golf and horseshoes to darts and swimming, and they will almost all be played right here in Elmira, save for 10-pin bowling, which will be played in Guelph. When asked what the most popular games were at the event, there was no hesitation in his answer.
“I haven’t a clue how to play it, but I watch sometimes,” Read said with a laugh.
Despite being in preparation mode for more than six months, Read said the group has had difficulty in fundraising for the event. He said in 2005 it cost $16,000 to operate the games, and he expects the same this time around. Many of those fees are to cover the rental of the ice pad and the swimming pool at the Woolwich Memorial Centre, as well as other facilities. “Fundraising isn’t as easy as it used to be. Everything is tight, so we’ve had to work a little harder on that.”
He said the games are not only a great way for seniors to get involved in their community and to meet new people, they will also provide a boost to local businesses. He said they had about 700 athletes come to town in 2005, along with their families.
He also said that despite the age of the participants, the competitive juices are still flowing. “They take it seriously. Especially cards,” he said. “If you make a mistake, they’ll let you know.”
The Woolwich 55+ Invitational Games are set for June 4-12. Registration is $8 for the first event entered and $3 for any additional event. Return completed registration forms and cheques (payable to 55+ Invitational Games) to; 55+ Invitational Games, 24 Snyder Ave. S., Elmira, N3B 1Y9.