Story and photos by Darl DeVault
Oklahomans who have a flair for providing community service can help stage the Oklahoma Senior Games. Volunteers can help promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging active seniors 50 and over to enhance the quality of their lives through athletic and recreational competition.
Regina Stewart, the Games’ volunteer coordinator, a senior athlete herself, is direct in her support of the concept. “The Senior Games keeps me motivated to stay active and compete, which allows me to be healthy,” Stewart said.
Volunteering opportunities abound as the statewide events grow to more than 1,000 competitors this year. Your fellow citizens need your help to conduct the many activities needed to allow events to run smoothly in September and October.
Stewart said she counts on the community to continue embracing what has come to be known as the “Oklahoma Standard.” The Games promote healthy lifestyles for seniors through education, fitness and the spirited competition of sports and recreational games. This goes along with inspiring everyone to embrace health and appreciate and enjoy the value of sports related exercise.
Also the track and field coordinator, Stewart said that more than 100 volunteers helped last year around the state. She estimates double that number can help this year to handle the growth in the many sports and games offered.
Organizers anticipate even more interest this year as they share their message during the Oklahoma State Fair. Volunteers who want to attend the Fair free with free close-in parking can sign up to host demonstrations of table tennis, disc golf, the long jump, and a rowing machine. This booth will be in the Modern Living Building. The Fair runs September 12-22.
More details and signup for these three, four-hour shifts each day of the Fair are on the okseniorgames.org Web site under the Volunteer tab.
The organizers are counting on the warm hospitality and strong sense of community spirt our citizens have shown as volunteers that allow the state to thrive.
“Our volunteers are a major part of how and why our state has proven itself as a great place to compete in senior games each year,” Stewart said. “We have grown each of the last four years because of the time and energy Oklahomans who do not compete have invested in offering the Games to those who do compete.”
Officials ask that corporations organize groups of volunteers of 10 or more employees who can be assigned to specific sports. These groups will be kept together to spark morale within the volunteering ranks.
Volunteers make up the largest resource for the sanctioned state organization to produce state games each year. This help allows the events to be the qualifying site in the Sooner state for the National Senior Games Association’s National competitions.
The Games provide 20 sports and games, some with variations, that provide athletic training opportunities and social interaction.
Along with the competitions, organizers provide healthy lifestyle educational information for seniors, especially at the booth at the Fair.
Please visit the newly expanded okseniorgames.org for more info on volunteering and all the sports and games offered. For general questions call (405) 821-1500 or email [email protected].
Examples of ways to volunteer are listed below:
Oklahoma State Fair: sports demonstration hosts and information providers
Archery: Check-in, refreshments
Badminton: Check-in, refreshments
Basketball: Scorekeepers, check-in, refreshments
3 on 3 Basketball Free Throw/Around-the-world: Scorekeepers, rebounders
Bowling: Check-in, refreshments
Cornhole: Check-in, Scorekeepers
Cycling: Check-in, course monitors, bike holders, refreshments, medals
Golf and Golf Croquet: Check-in, refreshments
Horseshoes: Check-in, refreshments
Pickleball: Check-in, refreshments, scorekeepers
Race Walking: Check-in, water stops, course monitors, refreshments, medals
Racquetball: Check-in, refreshments
Road Races: Check-in, water stops, course monitors, refreshments, medals
Registration: Check-in athletes, t-shirt distribution,
Swimming: Timers, Refreshments, Medals
Table Tennis: Check-in, refreshments,
Tennis: Check-in, refreshments, water coolers, t-shirt sales, ball retrieving/distribution
Triathlon: Course monitors, swim lap counters, water stops, check-in, refreshments
Track and Field: Check-in, field event helpers, timers, refreshments, runners, medals
Washer Pitch: Check-in, scorekeepers, refreshments