Some of the elders at SunPorch of Dodge City are getting pumped up to be in shape for the upcoming Senior Olympics.
 
The annual event is set for Friday, Sept. 21. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the games will begin at 1 p.m. at the 4-H Building in Cimarron.

“SunPorch will compete with other long-term-care residents,” said Gina Salmans,” activities director. “The Olympic Committee is honored to have Sen. John Doll as emcee for the event. Sen. Doll is filling the shoes of Sen. Garrot Love who had been emcee in all the previous years.”
 
Salmans is joining her SunPorch colleagues in building the excitement by encouraging elders, who are able to participate, to attend the weekly training sessions.

“We started training a few weeks ago for this great event,” Salmans said. “The Senior Olympics began in 2004 and I have been involved since 2009.

“We encourage our elders to participate and/or be spectators,” she added. “This fun gathering gives us the opportunity to make new friends, try new things and catch up with other members of our District.”
 
SunPorch is a member of District 6 of the AD/SSD family. The acronyms stand for activities directors and social services designees. People with these titles keep elders engaged in many activities including music, arts and crafts, Bingo, puzzles, games and community outings.

Any resident who resides in one of the communities in District 6 is eligible to participate.

Senior Olympics games include a basketball toss, during which a participant is allowed three shots from a distance of three feet. Other events include Hula Hoop football toss; bowling; soccer kick; tennis target; corn-hole toss; a pie-building contest; Rockette kick; and spelling bee.

There are two levels of participation to allow anyone the opportunity to play.

“The Senior Olympics is a labor of love for our staff and volunteers who help us orchestrate this annual event,” Salmans commented. “Our committee members recruit volunteers, order medals, compile the agenda, donate snacks and take care of the paperwork.”

These are some of the reasons SunPorch and other long-term-care residences must raise money to support the event. Examples of costs include the medals and lunch for the volunteers. Last year, almost 100 people donated their time and talent to the Senior Olympics.
 
“SunPorch generously donated $500 and we hope other individuals and businesses will contribute,” Salmans said. “Donors can be assured their contributions will help our elders smile, laugh, make new friends and maybe win a medal. When elders are engaged in activities they are happier and healthier.

“So far, about $1,700 has been raised through generous donations. The goal is to raise enough funds to carry this event through the next three years.”

Donations may be sent to: Amy Berry, District 6 AD/SSD, The Shepherd’s Center, 101 Cedar Ridge Drive, Cimarron, Ks. 67835.

For more information, contact Salmans by calling 620-227-7512.