For some Michigan seniors, the call to competition is loud and clear. Since 1979, the Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO) has given athletic seniors who have a competitive spirit the chance to participate in both summer and winter sports. Every year more than 1,000 Michiganders over the age of 50 participate and compete in sports like hockey, swimming and powerlifting.
The MSO promotes healthy lifestyles at all ages, a mission that is shared by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, making the event a great opportunity to work together.
“The event is such a positive experience for seniors and the feeling of excitement is contagious when you’re there—it’s no wonder the event keeps growing,” says Jessica Iloff, Blue Care Network’s manager of community outreach.
Blue Cross’ involvement with MSO began as a simple sponsorship, but it wasn’t long before Blue Cross employees wanted to become even more involved. In the most recent event, which happened February 9 through 21 in venues across Oakland County, 12 Blue Cross employees volunteered as support staff.
One of those volunteers was Lidia Scalzi, a Blue Cross quality management coordinator, who first pitched in to help with the 2015 MSO summer games. That’s when she realized the value of encouraging seniors to continue athletic competition as they get older.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet so many mature adults who value physical activity and to see how this healthy event makes their lives better – physically, emotionally and mentally,” Scalzi says.
Through Blue Cross’ involvement with MSO, Scalzi has found herself inspired by Michigan’s competitive seniors, with plans to volunteer once again at the 2016 summer games.
“These events give the athletes, whether amateur or serious contenders, opportunities to work towards a personal goal and to network with other adults who enjoy remaining active as long as possible,” Scalzi says. “I saw a few athletes who had some physical challenges, but those challenges were not going to stop them from doing their best. I’ve decided that’s the kind of senior I would like to be some day.”
The MSO is open to competitors of varying abilities and athletic experience over the age of 50. To learn more about MSO registration and volunteering opportunities, please visit: www.michiganseniorolympics.org
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