Story and photos by Lucy Wheeler
Matching silver-haired seniors on the left with energetic elementary students on the right warmed the hearts of everyone who participated in the Intergenerational Games during the spring break in the North San Diego County schools. The event was held at the San Marcos Senior Center on Richmar Avenue.
San Marcos and the Intergenerational Council of North County San Diego Presented the International Games and the event was sponsored by The County of San Diego HHSA, AIS and Live Well San Diego.
The day began in the Discovery Café in San Marcos’ Senior Center, where light snacks of healthy food were served as the participants arrived. Then the welcoming introduction by San Marcos Mayor, Rebecca Jones, followed with the introductions of AIS Director Kimberly Gallo, and HHSA North County Director, Dr. Chuck Mathews. Dr. Mathews then introduced the keynote speaker, Matt Hawkins.
Matt Hawkins, who has represented the USA 7s team (Olympic) as a player, captain, and coach of Rugby, spoke through the need for intergenerational interaction, respect and understanding both physically and educationally and how this interaction enhances the value of each generation’s strengths, abilities and challenges. These programs aid and assist the wisdom of age and the energy of youth to merge together and bridge the gap between the generations.
The Pied Piper of the event was Jack Miles, an athletic leader at the Senior Center, who led the group, both young and old, from the Discovery Café to the recreation area across the street to the activity site for a five-minute warmup before choosing a partner.
After a group photo of all the participants, it was time to choose a partner and let the games begin!
Whether we admit it or not, most of us at age 8-12 thought 40 was old and some thought the games would be with ‘those old people.’ Many were surprised at the abilities of seniors; all well beyond 40 and some tickling 80, whose strengths, abilities and challenges exceeded what they had expected. And the seniors saw strengths, abilities and even challenges in those who were just beginning to find their way.
Everyone’s a Winner
Each participant, no matter the age, received a medallion as a winner. A winner for participating, a winner for seeing age with a new reverence and a winner with a new awareness of how we can all help each other.
Back in the Discovery Café the generations shared lunch together, laughing and enjoying a recap of how they each enjoyed the day and smiled at the their newfound level of perception regarding age and how we can all bridge the gap and help one another in new-found ways.
Thanks to the successful North County Annual Intergenerational Games of 2019, all the sponsors and each and every participants.