By Don Kjelleren – Board President
I would like to use my message to share a few words with you on the state of the Vermont Senior Games and our vision for 2014.
We have successfully completed our 30th year of serving the Vermont aged 50 and over community with health and wellness programs and activities. In all areas we can be proud: athlete participation, quality games, a great newsletter, an outstanding web site, and terrific volunteers.
More specifically, in 2013 we had some excellent events with increased participation along with a few disappointments. Notably pickleball, tennis, weight-lifting, and cycling had nice growth; track and field, table tennis, and basketball were on par for a non-qualifying year. Participation in swimming, horseshoes, and road races were not up to expectations.
Financially we are in good shape. From a hardly adequate balance of $4000 when we reorganized in 2011 we now enjoy a very solid financial condition. For this we give thanks to our sponsors, partners, and your generous donations. We are especially grateful to MVP Health Care who joined us in 2013 as our major games sponsor.
One of the highlights of 2013 was the VSGA participation in the NSGA summer games held in Cleveland, Ohio. We sent by far the largest contingent ever from Vermont. We brought home over 60 medals and ribbons. Again, my congratulations to our senior Olympians for “bringing home the gold” and more!!
I remain very excited at the progress being made by our MOVE for well-being initiative. The program is maturing with some wonderful success stories.
Most importantly, I cannot emphasize enough the contribution to the success of the VSGA of our volunteers. I deeply appreciate our dedicated Board of Directors, our committed sports coordinators, and I am especially thankful to all the folks who volunteer at our events and activities. Thank you to each of you…
Finally, I wish to thank those of you who sent very nice comments about their VSGA experience. We very much appreciate these words of thanks.
Looking ahead to 2014: 2014 is the qualifying year for the 2015 Minneapolis/St. Paul NSGA National championships. We look forward to once again qualifying a strong team to send to Minnesota.
I have set a goal of 500 registrations for our 2014 games. We will hold 14 or 15 national sports (sports held at NSGA games), and 5 or 6 state games (non-qualifying sports). As part of our 2014 program we will be focusing on horseshoes, swimming, bowling and racquetball. These have been historically our less-participated sports. Volleyball and badminton need leadership to get organized and running. We hope to introduce some new sports such as mountain biking. I continue to solicit interest in establishing softball and women’s basketball. Please let Barbara Jordan or me know if you are interested in participating and/or helping.
I am pleased to report The UVM Center for Aging and MVP Health Care will remain as our major sponsors of our MOVE for well-being and our competitive games initiatives.
We continue tweaking the MOVE program and anticipate significant growth in 2014 as the program gains increased awareness and desirability by organizations serving the aged 50 and over community.
We will initiate a major campaign to vastly increase awareness of the VSGA. The campaign will incorporate print media, radio, TV and social media.
The VSGA will participate in the April 12, 2014 Full Circle Festival. We will hold demonstrations of our sports and a MOVE for well-being presentation in Memorial Auditorium in Burlington. We hope you will attend this event and take the opportunity to meet our sports coordinators and Board to learn more about our sports and offerings. We will also have a table at the January 25, 2014 Expo 50-Plus exhibit.
The games committee and the marketing committee are planning a substantial increase in support of our sports coordinators through a vigorous marketing program promoting their sports.
I continue to solicit your comments, suggestions, and ideas. I also invite you to volunteer. We welcome new Board members, sports coordinators, or assistance in other ways.
In summary, I look forward to a record setting year full of fun, fellowship and fitness as we encourage the aged 50+ community to attain and maintain physical fitness leading to healthy aging, a quality lifestyle, and well-being.
Again, thank you to each and everyone, and please have a Happy and Healthy New Year!!