About us
The Nova Scotia 55+ Games Society was formed in November of 2003 under the initiative of the Nova Scotia Senior Citizen’s Secretariat (now known as the NS Dept. of Seniors). In February of 2004 we were incorporated under the Nova Scotia Societies Act.
Like the CANADA 55+ GAMES ASSOCIATION ,our mission is to bring together individuals from across the province, aged 55+, to an event featuring games of both physical and mental challenges, and at the same time provide a venue emphasizing social interaction. Through bi-annual Nova Scotia 55+ Games, as well as support for any other like games at the Regional, Zone or community levels, the Society encourages a healthier and more active lifestyle for older adults in Nova Scotia
In order to provide a degree of competitiveness into the Nova Scotia 55+ Games, the province has been divided into regions as defined below. Each Region has two or three Directors on the Societies board. These Directors are the coordinators for each of the regions when it comes to organizing their teams for the provincial games and can also be contacted for advice if individual communities need assistance in setting up local games.
It must be emphasized that we are not necessarily looking for the elite athletes in each activity, but there is nothing stopping them from participating as long as they are willing to having a good time – which, after all, is our main objective.
Region boundaries
The six regions of Nova Scotia, as mentioned above, are further defined as follows:
Cape Breton
All of Cape Breton
Highlands
Guysborough, Antigonish and Pictou counties
Fundy
Cumberland and Colchester counties; East Hants district
Central
Halifax Regional municipality and Halifax county
South Shore
Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens and Lunenburg counties
Valley
Kings, Annapolis and Digby counties; West Hants and Clare districts
The history
Nova Scotia joined the Canada 55+ Games Association in the spring of 2004. This is a national organization which sponsors wellness- that is spiritual, mental and physical for Canadians over the age of 55. These games, regardless of whether they are local, regional, provincial or national are not to be categorized as only sporting events – they span a wide range of physical and mental activities. The first ever Canada 55+ Games was hosted in Regina, SK in 1996, followed by Medicine Hat, AB in 1998, Summerside, PEI in 2002, Whitehorse, YN in 2004, Portage la Prairie, MB in 2006, Dieppe, NB in 2008, Brockville, ONT. In 2010 and Sydney, NS in 2012. Although there have been individuals representing Nova Scotia at all of these games, the games in Whitehorse in 2004 were the first games attended by an official Nova Scotia contigent. Albiet only 19 strong, they did manage to return with 2 silver and one bronze medal. Moving along to 2012 the Nova Scotia contingent grew to 310 participants and we collected 108 medals, just an excellent effort. The next Canada 55+ Games in 2014 have been awarded to Strathcona County in Alberta, hope you can make it.
Our very 1st Nova Scotia 55+ Games were held in Cornwallis Park in the Valley Region 28 Sep – 1 Oct, 2005. 154 participants and 14 non-participants from four of our six regions attended. 14 activities in all were held during the days and each evening featured various entertainers. Our second provincial games were held in Truro in the Fundy Region 26 – 30 Sep 2007 and these games attracted 246 participants and 6 non-participants, an increase of 50% from the first games. Our third provincial games were held in Yarmouth in 2009 with 333 participants taking part, in 2011 we moved to Kings County(Kentville area) with 455 Nova Scotians attending. The 2013 games were recently held in colchester county (truro area) with 565 nova scotians taking part, just a huge success with lots of “fun, fitness and friendship” which is our motto. the 2015 nova scotia 55+ games have been awarded to pictou county and the town of new glasgow, check their block (2015 games) for future updates.
The future
We see our future to be very exciting as we are growing so rapidally, those Nova Scotians over 55 WANT TO BE MORE ACTIVE and they want to participate and they see our games as not just competing but as a social gathering where they meet new participants and renew old friends, it has become a fun time for everyone. Beginning with the 2013 games we are planning to create a membership for all participants and non participants, this will provide many advantages to the membership including newsletters, updates on what is going on and an array of discounts is several areas of business such as insurance rates, eye glasses, hearing aids but to name a few. For our society we will be able to create a data base of participants which will provide several advantages to us especially in simplifying registration. Another consideration for the future is the possibility of having summer and winter games, this is now done very successfully in several provinces and territories and is practiced in Yarmouth as well.
55+ GAMES
As mentioned, there are a variety of games being offered to participants, some physically challenging, others challenge the mind but all are just plain fun. We are always open to new ideas and thoughts and host communities are encouraged to introduce activities that may be unique to their particular area. The following is a list of activities that you will definitely see at the games(core activities) followed by a list of optional activities which the Host Committee may or may not choose to include. We normally try to run between 22 and 30 activities at the provincial games.
Core activities
8-Ball
45s
Candlepin Bowling
Contract Bridge
Cribbage
Crokinole
Darts
Duplicate Bridge
Golf
Ice Curling
Ice Hockey
Scrabble
Skip-Bo
Track and Field
Walking (Predicted Time)
Washer Toss
Optional activities
5k and 10k Runs
Arts & Crafts
Badminton
Basketball
Cycling
5-Pin Bowling (if available)
Carpet Bowling
Lawn Bowling (if available)
Floor Schuffleboard
Horseshoes
Mind Games (Sudoku, X-Word, Cryptoquote & Lexicon)
Pickleball
Slo-Pitch
Stick Curling (Ice)
Swimming
Tarbish
Tennis
UNO
Levels of competition
We are aware that there are literally hundreds of various clubs across the province that 55+ people belong to. Some are strictly for Seniors, others for people of all ages. They could be Golf Clubs or Curling Clubs, Bowling Leagues or Bridge Clubs. Our aim is to bring those people together who still have a competitive streak in their body, enjoy a little travel and especially like meeting new and interesting people who have similar interests as they do.
In that context, we are working towards having four levels of competition throughout the province. For ease of explanation, we will start at the top level and work down.
Canada 55+ Games
As stated, these games have been in existence since 1996. As of now(February, 2013) eight provinces and two territories are part of the Canada 55+ Games AssociationThe two missing provinces are British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador and the territory of Nunavut. However both BC and Nunavut have had participants at the games as non-members and as of now it appears that British Columbia will join our association by the end of this year. These games last four days and are held bi-annually on even numbered years(2014 Strathcona County, Alberta) and participants can only take part in one activity which is primarily due to the numbers that attend the Canada Games. As an example over 1600 Canadians attended the 2012 games.
Nova Scotia 55+ Games
First games in 2005, these games pit participants from the six regions as previously discussed. These games last four days and most activities are scheduled as one day or half day events; therefore participants can normally participate in at least two or three different activities. Exceptions to this are hockey, curling and slo-pitch which in all likelihood require the full time to conduct a proper round-robin tournament. These games are held bi-annually on odd numbered years and to date we have not had to set a limit on the number of participants per region. As the popularity of the games grow, this may be necessary, but not for a few years yet. Basic cost of participation is $25 and again additional fees are required for some activities. These games are the primary determining factor in deciding who will represent Nova Scotia at the Canada 55+ Games.
regional Games
Only two regions presently have such games, Fundy & Valley, and in fact have been doing so since the late 1980’s. They have divided their regions into Zones. Fundy hold their regional games annually each June, Valley hold theirs bi-annually, normally in June of odd numbered years. Participation is unlimited for both. Due to the time of these games, sports such as hockey and curling are not included. In the Valley, there is no basic fee, but a $2 charge is levied for each activity a participant plays in. The Valley games last three days, the Fundy games last two. The directors for the other regions are in the process or getting similar games set-up, but they cannot do it alone. If you would like to see these games come to your region and community, contact your regional director as indicated on this website.
Zone Games
Presently, only the Valley hold Zone games, which they do annually, and not all zones within the Valley have these games. In the Western Annapolis Valley Zone, their games are held over approximately a two month period, from mid April to mid June, and one or two activities are played each week. The Digby Zone normally has a week long event in May. Cost again is normally $2 per event, with surcharges for activities such as golf & bowling.
Games open to people with disabilities
Our games are open to those with disabilities in fact they are most welcome. As an example we had two blind cribbage players in our 2007 games.
Challenges ahead
Beginning in 2009 communities where the games are held also now provide the Host Committee and the Games Chairperson. The Nova Scotia 55+ Games Society provide advice and direction to these committees. Also in 2013 we have decided to adopt the Canada 55+ game rules which we use in our provincial games. This change allows participants to compete in both sets of games using the same consistant rules.
The biggest obstacle we now face both at the Canada Games and our own Provincial games is the cost to participants. It is our goal to reduce this cost and we are well on our way in reaching this goal. We have been very fortunate in Nova Scotia in that we have received grants from the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors and also the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, they have been very sup portative of our effort and continue to do so, we do however recognize that their support cannot go on indefinitely and we have to begin steps now to become self supportive. Beginning with the 2013 Nova Scotia 55+ Games we are planning to introduce memberships to all participants. Initially this also will increase the cost of attending however in the long run memberships are necessary if we are going to attract sponsorship which in itself will eventually lead to reduced costs to all participants. Also at the present time we are in the process of applying for ‘charitable status’ for our society through the Federal Government, once received, which we fully expect, will then allow us to actively pursue corporate sponsorship and offer tax receipts. Although participants now receive much for their registration fee in the form of banquet subsidization, entertainment, some meals etc we still have a long way to go . It is our goal to make our games accessible to all Nova Scotians and not just to those who can afford to go and for those that choose to attend the Canada 55+ games hopefully some financial help will be available in the near future.
Summary
In short, our goal is to provide the ‘seasoned’ citizens of this province, who still have that competitive spirit – and most of us do, a reason and a venue to remain active. It goes without saying that the more active you are, the healthier you will be. And as the new motto of our Nova Scotia 55+ Games reads we are about “FUN, FITNESS and HAPPINESS”.