Despite rain looming in the forecast, the first round of events for the 16th annual York County Senior Games kicked off dry and without a hitch.
This five-day event was organized by the York County Area Agency on Aging and began Monday, June 19, bringing out nearly 500 members of the surrounding 50-plus community.
The opening ceremony on Tuesday, June 20, welcomed athletes with a parade and torch ceremony. Clement weather followed the remainder of the week.
During the event, attendees competed in an unlimited number of athletic activities, including ladder golf, soccer kick, target shooting, darts, poker, and more. This year, the games brought back table tennis, as well as introduced events such as “A Walk in the Park with a York County Doc” and cornhole.
Elwood and Patricia Eyler, from Windsor Township, began attending the Senior Games in 2008.
“This [was] the ninth year we played in the games here in York County,” Elwood Eyler said.
With previous years’ games under their belts, they did not shy away from participation. Including the new events, Elwood Eyler competed in a total of 16 events, while Patricia Eyler competed in 17.
Jenny Nace, information specialist at York County Area Agency on Aging, noted the games received many positive responses from attendees this year, some of which she attributed to the addition of new events.
For the 2017 games, newly introduced cornhole attracted the largest following.
“It was our most popular event, with 171 registered participants,” Nace said.
Cornhole’s popularity did not prevent other activities from attracting notable crowds, however.
Many participants—like the Eylers—took to the track for a community walk with local doctors who explained the health benefits of walking and exercise.
The track was also a venue for various meter-runs.
Nace recalled a 92-year-old male competitor who laced up his running shoes for the 100-meter. His son, grandson, and friends cheered him on, and he crossed the finish line to win a gold medal.
Despite the talent seen on the track, track athletes were not the only ones earning medals during the York County Senior Games.
“We had a 90-year-old male participate in horseshoe singles,” Nace said. “He [was] wheelchair bound, but with the support of a physical therapist from the facility where he resides, and the support of our wonderful volunteers, he participated and also won a gold medal!”
A closing ceremony on Friday, June 23, recognized medal and triathlon winners.
Once the events concluded, the Eylers reflected on their positive experience, finding this year’s games not only fun, but also beneficial to their physical health and social well-being.
“We think it’s really important to stay active when we get to be seniors, so playing in the games keeps us young at heart,” Patricia Eyler said. “We also enjoy the interaction with other participants, as well as getting to know some of the wonderful volunteers.”
The Eylers stressed gratitude for the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors who make the Senior Games possible every year. In this, they are not alone.
Nace said the competitors’ overwhelming appreciation truly makes the games worthwhile.
“This is a huge outreach program, which takes a year to plan,” she said. “[The participants’] gratefulness makes us realize how important this program is, not only for the fitness and exercise, but also for the socialization and camaraderie.”
For more information, call (717) 771-9001, or visit www.ycaaa.org.