By Portia Williams
LUCASVILLE — The response during the roll call from the host of nursing homes present at the 2015 Senior Olympics reflects the joy and excitement felt by seniors, staff and volunteers about the event that has been attracting hundreds for 16 years. It is sponsored by Pleasant Hill Manor annually.
The event began with the opening ceremony which included a welcome by Linda Slone, event coordinator, and Amy Clemmons, Pleasant Hill Manor Administrator. There was also lighting of the torch, the singing of the Star Spangle Banner, and invocation. Al Oliver offered brief words of encouragement to the crowd.
Slone said the Senior Olympics event is spiritual in nature, and continues to grow with each passing year.
“As always, it is spiritual and we see the crowd getting larger and larger every year as more and more homes start on,” Slone said. “The original counties were Jackson, Scioto, Pike and Ross and now we’re up to 16 counties.”
She said they will reach out to other facilities that have not had the opportunity to participate in the event.
“Our plans are next year to go and slowly add in those counties, to call in those homes that have never been invited, and also adding senior centers next year, because more and more people are living at home with home care, or family care so that we can keep those seniors active,” she said.
The volunteer base is an integral part of the Senior Olympics, according to Slone.
“We have two schools that do the games, that would be Northwest and Pike IT, we have all of the Pike County Technical Center, but one particular section is called Pike IT. The rest of the schools are actually with residents, and are assigned one-on-one just like the staff in the homes. So they stay with that resident all day long, playing games and eating lunch with them,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without the volunteers, and also the wonderful adult volunteers who are judges for the games. Pleasant Hill Manor’s core staff, the department heads run the games, their the head judges.”
The senior participants had the opportunity to enjoy six different competitive games, including basketball, bowling, penny pinching, horse shoe, dominoes, and checkers.
“Those games have first, second, and third place prizes. First televisions, second place is boom boxes, and third is CD players,” she said. “Then, how they win, whether the gold, silver or bronze, is they have points. And so how ever many large gifts that I am able to get donated during the year we will have the top first homes, second homes, third homes, I have five top gifts this year.
Other prizes include rocking chairs, as well as trophies for all participants.
“We have 25 rockers, these are sponsored by different people and businesses,” she said. “And all of the homes that are here there names will be put in and be drawn out, and those people will win a rocker to take home. Trophies go to everybody, that is being sponsored by Ed and Carol Robbins out of Piketon now for 16 years.”
She is hopeful that the word continues to spread about the event, and more inquiries come in.
“For anyone that hears about this event, or reads about it, we want them to contact me on Facebook, with the Pleasant Hill Senior Olympics, and tell us if you’d like to join next year,” she said. “We are trying to go ahead and expand early to work on that.”
She said they have been saturated with loving support by so many other businesses and individuals throughout the local area.
“We have gotten support from people everywhere, the pool places, the tax companies, insurance companies, and we’re not talking about a little flower, but in a big way,” she said. “It is all because they love the seniors, and want to honor them. That is one thing that I have found, that even when the economy hits, people stick with this event because they honor the seniors that come here. I cannot thank everybody enough for making this happen.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.
Participants accompanied by staff and volunteers enjoy a game of penny pinching at the 2015 Senior Olympics held at the Scioto County Fairgrounds in Lucasville on Thursday
Horseshoe was among the games featured at the 16th annual Senior Olympics held at the fairgrounds in Lucasville Thursday
Hundreds attended the 16th Annual Senior Olympics held at the Scioto County Fairgrounds on Thursday