Team Yukon is already taking shape for the next Canada 55+ Games.
Close to 100 Yukoners have declared their intention to represent the territory at the national multi-sport and gaming competition that features 26 events ranging from tennis to track and field to lawn bowls, Scrabble and cribbage among many more.
Officials with ElderActive, which acts as the sport governing body for Team Yukon for the Canada 55+ Games, noted in a Dec. 8 statement that the “I Might Go” forms that prospective participants must complete to declare their interest, continue to come in every day with nearly 1oo already in.
Jan. 10 is the final application deadline.
That said, teams are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis so it’s recommended prospective participants get their applications in as soon as possible to make sure they have a spot in their chosen event.
As Brenda Dion, Team Yukon’s organizing committee chair and the Yukon director for the Canada Senior Games Association, explained in a Dec. 8 interview, the philosophy is more about making sure everyone can take part, thus the teams are filled as applications that come in.
“Team Yukon has won the ‘Spirit of the Games’ award four times since first attending the games in 1998,” Alex Jegier, executive director of ElderActive, said. “55+ Yukoners from various communities are proud to represent this territory and it shows in the interest that we are seeing in the forms that are being submitted.”
The 55+ Games aim to support seniors to keep active “in both mind and body” as well as maintaining social connections with the events that provide a range of active, moderately active and “brain games”.
Over the years popular events for Team Yukon have included Scrabble, cribbage, swimming, track and field, slo-pitch, golf and, more recently, pickleball.
“There’s so much for everybody,” Dion said, highlighting the friendly-competition, camaraderie and social connections as part of what makes the Games such a fun event.
Even before the Games, all of those features are part of preparing the territory’s contingent for the Games.
A number of Team Yukon members are already starting to train for their chosen events together and before heading off to the Games, there’s always a big pep rally for the team, she said.
Along with the competitions in individual events, the Games features opening and closing ceremonies.
The Canada 55+ Games are typically held every two years over a few days, though the 2020 Games that were set for Kamloops were postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19.
Looking ahead to 2022
The 2022 edition will feature a few new competitions that Dion expects will interest a number of Yukoners including dragon boating, mountain biking and both men and women’s soccer.
While COVID-19 continues to have an impact, Dion said at this point she’s not getting worried about the 2022 Games being postponed again.
As she noted, more people are getting vaccinated (which will be a requirement to participate in the Games) against COVID-19 and precautions like masking and hand-sanitizing have become standard.
“We’re learning to live with it,” she said.
The Games typically draw about 2,500 participants with 134 representing the Yukon at the last Canada 55+ Games in Saint John, N.B. held in 2018.
The team had a total of 18 per cent participation from communities outside of Whitehorse including Dawson City, Faro, Marsh Lake, Tagish and Watson Lake.
Dion said with the 2022 Games being in Kamloops from Aug. 23 to 26, she expects interest will be high from Yukoners given the relatively close proximity to the territory.
Forms for prospective Yukoners looking to declare their plans to be part of Team Yukon are available at elderactive.ca/canada-55-games. Hard copies are also available and completed forms can be dropped off at ElderActive’s office in Whitehorse at 309 Strickland Street.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org