Senior Games Are Coming
There are just a couple weeks left to sign up for this year’s Brunswick County Gator Senior Games & SilverArts, and Ambassadors Gary and Chris Mlynek are working hard to get the word out.
Anyone 50 years old and older can participate, and there are more than 80 events to choose from, including athletic competitions and Silver Arts categories. Games include golf, bowling, swimming, bocce, table tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, walking, horseshoes, pickleball and more. Silver Arts include visual arts, heritage arts such as crochet and woodcarving, and performance arts.
“It’s about getting people involved and staying active,” Gary said. “That’s the great message — just stay active and do something.” He also pointed out that the events are all things that many people can actually do.
“It’s for people of all levels,” he said. “It’s not the olympics. It’s fun. That’s what I really like about it.”
This is the first year the couple is serving as game ambassadors. They were torch bearers in 2019 and wanted to become more involved. They also still participate in the games. Gary first joined in back in 2012. He was involved in the ping pong club at St. James and also makes wood art, so he decided to participate in both.
“I thought it was a neat idea, a good thing to do, getting people out and doing something and meeting the neighborhood, the bigger neighborhood (the County),” he said.
Chris started out offering moral support to participants, then joined the cornhole game and the fun run, and said she plans to enter the photography competition this year.
“I think it’s really fun to meet people from other places in the county,” she said “It’s inspiring to see other people, and they’re still going places and doing things. Lots of people try new things when they get older too. When you see some of the quilts and other handiwork that people do…” she said…”It’s amazing to see some of the talent out there,” Gary added. He has won several awards at the local and state levels.
As ambassadors, they’ve been working with Khrystye Haselden, 50 and over Coordinator with Brunswick County’s Parks and Recreation Department, meeting with towns’ recreation directors, putting up flyers, and just generally getting the word out. There are 53 other Senior Games in North Carolina, and local winners have the chance to compete at the state level.
Though events have been held through virtual means the last couple of years, this year’s games are live and in person.
“With COVID, it threw a big monkey wrench into everything,” Gary said. “Things went virtual, and people aren’t so excited about virtual. This year is a return to normalcy.”
Events start April 6 with an Opening Ceremonies breakfast at Town Creek Park, and the games culminate with the Celebration of the Games lunch and SilverFollies, featuring entrants’ live performances, to be held at the Leland Cultural Arts Center. State finals are held in the fall.
Call 910-253-2677 for more information or visit https://bcparks.recdesk.com/Community/Page?pageId=7961 to register. The cost is $15, though bowling and golf have additional fees, and participants will receive a t-shirt. The signup deadline is March 15.