From London to London: Glendale Crossing and a journey across an ocean
The Glendale Crossing team figured it would take about 600,000 steps to walk from the village in London, Ont. across Eastern Canada and the Atlantic Ocean to London, England, so if the residents were going to make it in time for the Olympics, they’d better start early.
The London to London journey began at the end of May, and as of the writing of this story just over two weeks before the opening ceremonies in the U.K., residents have cleared more than 500,000 steps with a large mural of the Atlantic Ocean on the gym wall drawing them towards their goal.
Together with the Program for Active Living (PAL) team, kinesiologist Amy Harbin has counted every step taken between the parallel bars, every lap in the pool and every turn of the bike pedals as residents strive to make it to London.
The team has been profiling the resident athletes as the journey continues, and discovering sports enthusiasts of all backgrounds — even one Olympian diver who decades ago competed with the world.
Amy says the innovative idea, which came from kinesiology student Lisanne Kennedy who's completing a placement at the village, has been a fantastic way to engage with residents and inspire excitement about regular physical activity.
“There are some people we’ve been struggling with to get active and that piece of competitiveness has brought them in to do exercise regularly,” Amy says.
This ongoing journey is leading up to the kickoff of the 2012 Schlegel Summer Olympics, where each village will send teams to compete at either Glendale Crossing or Sandalwood Park Aug. 9 or Aug. 2, respectively.
Through July, each village is holding internal competitions in events such as mini-golf, archery, or bocce ball and the results will determine the teams that will compete in one of the two cross-community events.
Amy says drawing team members and residents together around this theme helps break down stereotypical views of elderhood, as the community around them can see elders actively participating in Olympic fever.
“It helps (residents) connect with their community as a whole, it’s not just secluding them to the village and having activities; it makes them a part of what’s happening outside Glendale,” Amy says.
“It’s, I think, taking down those ageist ideas,” she adds, noting that residents are pleased to learn they can have fun with the Olympics, and team members say sharing the story with people in the community helps everyone to see that elders never really lose an appetite for friendly competition.
That appetite is healthy and strong at Glendale Crossing, with 500,000 steps tallied to prove it.
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