An intergenerational event was held to bring seniors and students together at the Active Living Centre Thursday in Carman and Grade 6’s from both Carman Collegiate and Carman Dufferin Christian School took part in the afternoon activities.
“The committee at the Active Living Centre felt that this event was important and we’re going to try and keep it going every year,” said organizer of the intergenerational event, and Active Living Centre member, Bob Kowalchuk. “It’s been happening for a couple of years now and it’s really good exposure for the building and the activities offered within it. It’s a great way to build the relationship between students with the seniors.”
The day contains several games for which the students can learn the rules and tricks from a senior assigned to each station with six stations in total. Carpet bowling, floor shuffleboard, Crokinole, table tennis, drums alive – drumming on exercise balls with some active movement – and storytelling sit-down where students would hear extraordinary tales from a member of the Active Living Centre.
The kids really took to all of the games offered and benefitted from the advice of their elders, who have been playing said games for years.
“We really wanted to do Pickleball with (the students) but we couldn’t make it work with the room we had,” added Kowalchuk. “We could see this happening every year now because we have gotten great feedback from everyone involved and parents. We also have a pen pal program with some Grade 3 students writing back-and-forth with some members. It was nice to involve bot Grade 6 classes from Dufferin Christian School and Carman Collegiate.”
Kowalchuck doesn’t see the event growing much more from what it is now as once a year is a lot for the members to put the event on and thankfully the group receives a grant to help us put on the event including a nice pizza lunch for everyone involved.
“It’s nice to show the kids what we do and that we’re seniors, but we’re active seniors,” he said. “It’s nice to breathe a little life into the building with some youth having fun. Hopefully, students will tell their parents about the fun they had and that information will then get passed along to their grandparents who can think about signing up.”
Grade 6 teacher at Carman Collegiate, Amanda Rheault, said it was a fun day for everyone involved.
“The kids were super excited to come and everything really worked out well,” she said. “The students talked about it this morning, why are we putting this day on? [The students] thought it was great to learn from seniors in our community. They thought it was a way for seniors to be more active with the youth, and they thought that they might get some information on how it was like when the seniors were in grade 6.”
Rheault adds students were instructed to ask as many questions as possible to their elder partners as the day would be discussed during their English Language Arts class back at the school.
“We grew up playing games like Crokinole and some of these kids have never ever heard about it before,” said Rheault. “Storytelling was really big too because a lot of families don’t take part in anything like it and a lot can be learned through sitting down and listening to stories from an elder.”
The event is expected to continue every year with Grade 6 students from both Carman Collegiate and Carman Dufferin Christian School. The key question students discussed was what things were like for seniors when they were in Grade 6.
Kowalchuk adds, “It’s only $30 for the year at the Active Living Centre and we do have some drop in fees for the events that are offered. It’s only $2.50 and it’s a good way to get out, have some fun and exercise and socialize with some people from around the community. It’s a good place to get out and mingle and have a good time.”