When the finest athletes from around the world have gathered to compete on the Olympics, Schlegel Villages has followed suit. The Schlegel Olympics in past years were always an occasion for representatives from all Villages in the east and west to gather at a respective home Village in the spirit of friendly competition, and they were rousing events.
This year, in light of the care still required to manage safety around COVID-19 concerns, the competition was held remotely. That didn’t stop each Village from finding reason to celebrate the spirit of their residents, however, and the events have been exciting to watch. Each Village held competitions in five different events: hockey shootout; wheelchair luge; Sno-pitch; and Nordic climb. The top competitors from each event have run their events again, with scores mounted against the other Villages in their region. It has been wonderful to see the energy and spirit alive and well through videos and social media posts.
Alexandra Williamson says she enjoyed being a part of competitions in her younger days as a swimmer in the Special Olympics in Sarnia, many years ago. She is now a resident at The Village of Glendale Crossing and she competed in all four events at the Village level, representing the Village in the main event in the Sno-pitch competition. Team members and residents cheered her on with signs of encouragement and the enthusiasm was almost overwhelming.
“It was so much fun,” Alexandra says, noting that she likes the idea of one day gathering with the other Villages for the Schlegel Olympics sometime in the future.
“It’s been such a long time of not being able to get together,” says Kinesiologist Rebecca Sa, who was cheering Alexandra along with the rest of the Village. “You can definitely see the shift in moods. It has been something to look forward to, for sure.”
At Pinehaven Nursing Home, Interim General Manager Didi Herr says there has been a large uptake in participation in all the events; nobody is taking anything too seriously, she admits, but there has been a lot of laughter and joy throughout.
“Although we may not have the greatest scores,” Didi says, “the important part is that we are having lots of fun.”
That has always been the point behind these events and it was important that, regardless of the challenges around COVID-19, the organization still moved forward.
Christine Hames is the director of the Program for Active Living with Schlegel Villages, supporting all of the Village teams in their quest to help residents stay physically active. She says that while there was some apprehension in terms of running the events virtually, there has been a rising sense of excitement and joy in the lead-up to the Village events.
“I am so happy to say that throughout the week I have seen countless pictures of residents smiling and Main Streets lined with people cheering on the athletes,” Christine says. “The spirit of competition is alive and well in our villages. We have all been waiting to get back to the village life that we all miss greatly and there is a feeling that ‘WOW, this is what village life is about!’ ”
“Excellence, respect and friendship are the values of the Olympics,” said Jamie Schlegel, president and CEO with Schlegel Villages in his opening remarks on March 14. “Those qualities are very much alive and evident in our Schlegel Villages.
“It is equally wonderful to bring our Villages together virtually this year to emphasize the brotherhood and sisterhood of our Villages across Ontario.”
Congratulations to The Village at University Gates, which took the overall championship, and to all who had so much fun competing.
1st Paul Uusitalo, Glendale Crossing
2nd Bill Herridge, Tansley Woods
3rd Peter Shepherd, Taunton Mills
Olympic Wheelchair Luge
1st place Bruce Cochrane, The Village at University Gates
2nd place George Yabsley, The Village of Taunton Mills
3rd place Elizabeth Hurlbut, The Village of Riverside Glen
1st place Fran Voisin, The Village of Winston Park
2nd place Ted Chagnon, The Village of Tansley Woods
3rd place Krista Chase, The Village of Aspen Lake
Nordic Climb - Classic
1st place Annette Tomes, The Village of Aspen Lake
2nd place Diedra Lussow, the Village of Humber Heights
3rd place Miriam Miller, The Village of Arbour Trails
Nordic Climb - Sprint
1st place Milton Peacock, Coleman Care Center
2nd place Sheri Noecker, The Village at University Gates
3rd place Michel Saroufim, The Village of Sandalwood Park
Closing Ceremonies - Live on Friday, March 18th at 2 pm