ElderActive Recreation Association held a town hall meeting Friday morning at the Elks Hall in advance of the 2022 Canada 55+ Games August 23-26 in Kamloops, B.C.
According to ElderActive Executive Director Alex Jegier, ElderActive, founded in 2000, provides sport and recreation for Yukoners 55+.
ElderActive came about after the Yukon sent a small contingent to the 55+ games in 1998. The organization sends a contingent from the Yukon every two years.
Jegier said the first half of the meeting was to update the membership and the general public about what the organization does and what programs are available for 55+ Yukoners.
The second half of the meeting was a launch for those wishing to participate in the Games.
The games are a large multi-sport event involving over 2500 athletes from across the country.
“There’s an organizing committee that’s formed through ElderActive and they organize a team. We go as a contingent,” advised Jegier.
“Team Yukon had over 200 athletes sign up for the 2020 Canada 55+ Games before they were cancelled because of COVID-19,” said Brenda Dion, chair of the Team Yukon Organizing Committee.
“The Games are a great way to motivate people to stay active, make new connections and represent the territory.
“There’s also the opportunity to try new sports introduced to the Games like dragon boat racing, horseshoes and even pickleball,” added Dion.
During the town hall meeting, ElderActive’s financial figures were presented by Treasurer Janet Mann, with the prognosis that a “very tight year” was expected.
“Fundraisers are very challenging right now in this environment,” said Jegier. “We’ve had to cancel all of our bingos ... we currently have a cash raffle, but that’s tied to direct programming costs for our organization. So there aren’t any funds left for Team Yukon, so that if someone wanted to go, but finances were a barrier ... we want to include everybody. That’s part of our values – the inclusion of everybody that wants to participate. The subsidies piece is
something that we’re still trying to figure out, how we can help people that really want to go but wouldn’t be able to afford to otherwise, how we can fundraise for those Yukoners.
“We receive a small bit of funding from Yukon Government Community Services through Sport and Recreation Branch, and that covers a lot of the team support, like the general team support and the participants’ support. There is a small subsidy in terms of accommodation, but in the past we were able to offer more as part of people’s costs.
“The organizing committee and ElderActive are going to be looking at creative ways of fundraising ... in the new year.”
“We were able to receive emergency funds through the territorial and federal governments this year, but next year is kind of the big question because ... we don’t anticipate further emergency funds next year,” added Jegier. “Charity
gaming– bingos, raffles– that was the primary source of our funding, so we have to take a hard look at where else we can fundraise.”
The organization also took the opportunity to have additional updates. The popular drumming, yoga, snowshoeing and Tai Chi programs will continue. A six-week exercise program at Yukon Housing Residences has started as well.
In addition, the organization delivered a Strategic Plan update.
ElderActive currently has 520 members.
Jegier said the meeting went very well.
“We had to pivot very quickly with the new restrictions that were recommended ... we had 15 people come to the Elks (Hall), show their vaccine, and all masked ... physically distanced at the Elks ... Zoom we had over 50 people to learn more about our organization and the Canada 55+ Games.”
The Games will feature 26 events including bowling, soccer, darts, cribbage, and many more.
“There’s events all the way from pickleball and ice hockey to ... the ‘brain games’ including cribbage, scrabble, and bridge,” said Jegier.
Participants and non-participants are required to fill out an I Might Go form by January 10, 2022.
“We do anticipate a large contingent again this coming year ... (we)get a sense of who’s going and for what events they want to participate in ... and then the organizing committee develops a team from that ... let’s say there’s more
than one team that wants to represent – from curling as an example – then they would have to do some playoffs in the winter,” related Jegier.
A Team Yukon information meeting will be held on March 8, 2022.
“The team is pretty well confirmed from March until Mayish,” said Jegier.
The deadline for the Games Time Registration forms is May 1, 2022.
A pep rally is scheduled to take place in June, 2022.
“That’s the sendoff for the team to get other Yukoners excited and to get members of the public to know that 55+ Yukoners are still active and engaged in the communities. They want to participate. They want to represent the Yukon at a national level, and this is how some of them do it,” added Jegier.
The Team Yukon uniforms were also unveiled at the meeting.
More details on ElderActive and the Canada 55+ games can be found on the ElderActive website at https://elderactive.ca
ElderActive can be reached by phone at 867-456-8252.
For those who want to drop in and pick up the I Might Go forms, their office in Whitehorse is open Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is located in the Nuvo building at 309 Strickland Street in Suite 303.