Connect with Respect - Sunova Pickleball Club

Sunova Pickleball Club
Sunova Centre, West St. Paul's Recreation Site
Tuesdays & Thursdays, September 6-December 29, 2016
30 older adult participants (aged 55 years or older)
10-15 people involved in total (per skill level group)

Describe the purpose of the program/activity/event:

Pickleball is geared towards older adults. The Sunova Pickleball Club runs twice a week from 9:30am-5:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have approximately 30 members that signed up for the Fall 2016 Program Session which runs from September-December 2016. The Pickleball instructor splits the members up in to different skills levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced. Each skill level has a specific timeslot to play – this way they are playing against others that are of the same skill level. For the beginners the instructor also holds regular clinics and drills so these players can learn and improve their skills – allowing them to potentially move up to the next group. while the others are playing a game in the gym, we regularly see the beginners practicing their skills in the lobby.

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

I think a key element to making our club special is our instructor – Bonnie. Not only does Pickleball provide the members with regular exercise, but Bonnie regularly plans fun tournaments, clinics, games and theme days for the members. This adds an element of fun and socialization to their time participating in the sport. Many of the members sit and chat on the couches in the lobby after they are done playing in the gym as well. Not only are these people members of the Sunova Pickleball Club, but they also become friends. Bonnie goes out of her way to regularly plan potluck dinners or parties with the members around the holidays. Bonnie is a key reason why the members are as close as they are and an important reason why Sunova Pickleball is successful.

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

Interest from the seniors in the community and area was the reason we started the Sunova Pickleball Club. Once word got out that we were running a Pickleball program many participants from other clubs wanted to join in as well. The Sunova Centre has become a very popular location for Pickleball.

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

It is very easy to get involved with the Sunova Pickleball Club. Anyone that is interested can contact Sunova Centre office for more information – phone: 204-336-0294 or email: There is a minimal registration fee that is paid to be a member as well.

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

Just about all of the current members of the Sunova Centre Pickleball Club have been attending since we began the program a few years ago.

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

Make sure to work as a team with the group or individuals running the program. Communication is key – especially if you are running the program in a busy location similar to the Sunova Centre. It is important for the program organizer, program instructor and all members to be kept up-to-date in regards to program costs, dates, and potential date cancellations.

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 a very passionate group of members in the Sunova Pickleball Club. I think this is the reason why the club has been so successful. The members are always willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. Some of the members even came out to the Children's Camp Programs that we run over spring break and in the summer to teach the kids enrolled the basics of Pickleball. The kids loved learning about the sport and interacting with the members of the Sunova Pickleball Club.

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