Participants, volunteers sought for Michigan Senior Olympics

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 8, 2016

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ROCHESTER — Registration for the Michigan Senior Olympics is fast approaching for the 37th annual Summer Games, and organizers are hoping seniors from across the state will sign up to showcase their athletic talents.

The 2016 Michigan Senior Olympics Summer Games will be held Aug. 12-22 at various locations throughout Oakland and Macomb counties.

To kick off the games, the Michigan Senior Olympics invites the public to an opening ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 12 in Rochester Municipal Park. The free event will include a lighting of the torch ceremony, free food and entertainment for the entire family.

“We encourage people to bring their families and come on out to check out the event,” said Michigan Senior Olympics Executive Director Becky Ridky.

Ridky expects well over 1,000 participants, ages 50 and older, to compete in the Summer Games this year, which happens to be a year they can also qualify to attend the National Senior Olympics in Alabama. Seniors participating in the Summer Games have to register by July 22.

This year’s MSO Summer Games includes events such as archery, badminton, basketball, billiards, bocce ball, bowling, cycling, dancesport, disc golf, golf, horseshoes, 5K, 10K, pickleball, powerlifting, racewalk, racquetball, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, and track and field.

“We do a lot of different events,” Ridky explained. “Our track and field this year is definitely going to be our most popular event, and it’s going to be held at Oakland University on their brand new track and field, so that is going to be really nice and a big draw for people coming in.”

Volunteer coordinator and MSO competitor Beth Ambrose said there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare and run the games.

“We certainly need a lot of volunteers. It makes everybody’s job easier if we have more,” Ambrose explained.

The Michigan Senior Olympics is currently searching for volunteers of all ages to assist before and during this year’s events. Volunteer opportunities include working check-in tables, scorekeeping, and directing athletes where to go on the courses. All volunteers receive a free T-shirt.

Volunteering is a great way to get involved, according to Ambrose. But that’s not all people will take away from the experience.

“It’s exciting to see how talented a lot of us older people can be,” Ambrose said. “It’s wonderful to see that seniors keep moving — that’s what they tell us, keep moving, mind and body.”

The Michigan Senior Olympics also relies strongly upon sponsors, Ridky added. This year’s major sponsors are Crittenton Hospital, St. John Providence, Blue Care Network of Michigan, Sanctuary at Bellbrook, Humana, McLaren Health Plan, Oakland County Parks, Home Instead Senior Care and the Older Persons’ Commission, but she said there are lots of different sponsorship opportunities still available.

The Michigan Senior Olympics is a nonprofit organization that aims to enhance the quality of life for those over 50 by providing and developing programs in physical fitness and nutrition, while enhancing mental strength and sports skills.

For more information, to volunteer or to become a sponsor for the upcoming games, visit www.michiganseniorolympics.org or call (248) 608-0252.

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