Connect with Respect - Rhineland 50+ Pickleball

50+ Pickleball
Rhineland Pioneer Centre, Altona, Manitoba
September 6-December 20, 2016 (every Tuesday from 2:30-4:30pm)
25 older adult participants (aged 55 years or older)
25 people involved in total
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Describe the purpose of the program/activity/event:

The purpose of this program is to provide a fun and physically challenging experience. Our recreation department strives to offer activities for what we like to call Active Adults ages 50 and up. We offer indoor floor curling, as well as volleyball, skating, fitness classes, stretch and strengthen classes and yoga classes. These programs and classes have been offered for free or low cost for quite some time, so Pickleball has been a great addition to our Active Adults offerings.

Briefly describe what you think made your program/activity/event special? Why do you think it was successful?

Pickleball is a relatively new sport in our community and it has become very popular. One of the draws is that the game can be played as singles or doubles. This is good for those that would like to participate in a game with their spouse or friend. Another aspect of the game is that it is played indoors. We make the game available from September through December and again from early January through March. This is ideal as these months are often too cold to be participating in outdoor activities.

How inviting or appealing was this activity for the older adults involved?

With anything, the concept of something "new" always carries with it some hesitancies, etc. However, once people have tried the sport/game, they have enjoyed themselves and have become "regulars."

How easy was it (for the older adults) to participate?

Most active adults can participate in Pickleball so long as they have basic mobility. One participant in particular raves about Pickleball because several years ago he suffered a heart attack and since his heart attack he no longer is able to lift his arms above his head and feel comfortable participating in our 50+ volleyball. He has found Pickleball to be an excellent activity for his somewhat limited mobility issues.

How likely will the older adults who were involved participate again in the future?

Very likely. We have found that most people who come to try the game have returned and continued to return, and often they are bringing new friends with them.

What advice would you give other groups who may be considering the planning and facilitation of a similar opportunity for older adults?

If your community or group has access to an open space I would definitely consider purchasing the equipment necessary to play Pickleball. It is an easy game to learn and play, and although the game lends itself to being played by people of all ages, it is very much a game that is "tailored" for active adults.

What key learning (pearls of wisdom) would you like to share about your experience in "connecting with respect" and creating opportunities for social engagement of older adults in Manitoba?

We have found that not only do our active adults appreciate another recreation/physical activity option, they are also enjoying the social aspect that comes with getting out, participating in game, enjoying friendly competition and of course visiting before, during and after the games. We are hoping that in the future we could host a tournament or multiple tournaments and increase the amount of social engagement that comes with friendly competitions. If we would receive financial program support we would use it to purchase more Pickleball supplies and use it to coordinate and host a Pickleball tournament.

 




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