Ron Smith Care Centre’s second annual Golden Games Special Olympics saw residents and staff enjoy a spectacular week of fun, with each of the care centre’s six residential wings dressing up in their team colour to compete for top honours.
The teams competed in four events, from 10 to 14 July, namely Noodle Wars, Fingerboard, Beanbag Knockdown and the Skyscraper Building Challenge.
Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s manager of recreational programmes, said preparation for this year’s games started in mid-June when RSCC’s employees kicked off the team-building process by participating in fun dance practices to build up unity and team spirit.
“Staff attended practice sessions to learn a cheer dance to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. Twelve dance groups, representing all of the wings, then performed the dance at the games, where they were judged and awarded points for their performance. Lakeside residential wing’s A Group won the 2023 Dance Champions title,” says Debbie.
The four-day Golden Games culminated in a glorious awards ceremony, where the winning team, Cedar Park, was congratulated, and individual members were crowned and presented with medals.
Other special awards were presented to residents for being the Champion Golden Gamer, Best Over 90 Competitor, Champion Skyscraper Builder, Best Sportsman, Most Spirited and Best Effort Made. Awards presented to staff were Best Team Leader, Best Encourager, Most Supportive of Residents, Most Improved Dancer and Best Male Cheer Dancer.
“The team spirit, excitement, singing, dancing, cheering, clapping, determination and friendly competitiveness throughout the event was thrilling to experience. It was particularly heartwarming to see the absolute fun and joy that the events brought, and the wonderful spirit and positive energy that came from supporting, encouraging and applauding others – whether they were on the same team or not,” says Debbie.
“Most of the residents enjoyed themselves and some, who don’t normally participate in recreational activities, really came alive during the competitions. Others, who thought they wouldn’t be able to manage some of the events, were encouraged to give it a try and were amazed and delighted at the results of their efforts,” she adds.
Employees also enjoyed the event, saying that it lifted their spirits; while a family member sent a WhatsApp to RSCC that read: “I was fortunate enough to arrive today while everyone was getting ready. The positive energy, enthusiasm and team spirit were great to see. Well done all! I am sure this event will go a long way to brighten up the days for all that stay there.”
The games were about much more than winning and losing, says Debbie. “The event is about having a positive attitude, trying your best, having fun, making an effort, encouraging your teammates and appreciating other people’s achievements, regardless of which team they are on. In upholding these values, residents and staff honoured the true spirit of the games. It was an exceptional event that brought joy to the entire care centre community.”