At Preston Park Retirement Residence in Saskatoon, Sylvia Chorney and Olga Chuey are co-facilitating the Chef de mission position for the All Senior’s Care Senior Games (ASCSG) running February 5 – 9, 2024.
An experienced ASCSG Chef de mission, Sylvia is thrilled to return to the leadership role. Nothing beats the rush of togetherness experienced by athletes gathering to participate and cheer each other on. This year is no exception. Sylvia is a seasoned public speaker and has chaired many professional board positions – supporting and engaging people in activities is a natural fit.
Sylvia believes there is nothing exercise can’t help improve – both in the mind and body. “It was motivating to watch newcomers at the January Pep Rally beating out the ‘seasoned professionals’”, she shares. “There were spirited moments of spontaneous fun and comradery that can not be scheduled and planned.”
Olga, a novice Chef de mission, offers her encouragement, praise, and joyful spirit to the leadership role this year. A cheerleader all year long, Olga models the critical importance of staying active. She remembers fondly leading others down the halls for the hallway walk and roll. Olga enjoys helping people and leading and guiding others to try new things. She recalls when a neighbour came to the drumming exercise but was too hesitant to join the circle. She caught his eye, carried over the drum where he was sitting, and with her art of persuasion he beat the drum for the last set. His reluctance quickly turned to laughter!
“I love movement – I am a bird lover and enjoy being as busy as spring birds building nests – I enjoy walking, hiking, stretching. I am just so fortunate to keep moving. For my 90th birthday, I’m headed on a fishing trip up North to Otter Rapids! When my parents were 65, I thought they were over the hill – I am 90 and walking miles!”
When asked to share advice on aging, Sylvia says, “It is a privilege to live as long as I have; old age is a privilege. It gets to me when people drag on about the limitations of age. Let’s think about those who haven’t reached those ages. My siblings died before 50 and I’m 90 – yes, I need a walker but it keeps me mobile and balanced. I am so grateful for my cognisance; I appreciate it so much. I walk, I stretch, I pedal the bike in front of the TV and I’m rarely down in the dumps.’
“I’m looking forward to seeing the challenges ahead during game week and I encourage everyone to come as cheerleaders. I’d like to see huge involvement in our community – that is what makes our community great! It’s a fun way to get acquainted and it seems our population is getting older but certainly, we are not held back by a good challenge. What I like is the variety of things to do, the freedom to select our participation level, and the willingness of staff members to adapt events to our abilities. I remember when we had a participant win gold for Wii bowling and he was legally blind! He practiced for 4 years to learn his position on the floor – incredible!”
“It is all about a good attitude,” Olga adds. “Don’t dwell on your discomforts, think positive! You have to distract your mind and get out of your head or you can drown in anxiety. When I didn’t feel good years ago, I immediately got busy with vacuuming, fishing, walking. A poor attitude and low mental health can be as physically limiting as an injury – just remember, a good walk cleans out the cobwebs. Listen to your body, ask the good lord for help, and walk and stretch daily!”
Chorney & Chuey are both so thrilled to see what this year’s Games brings. What do you do when life hands you lemons? Add gin and share – Cheers everyone!
What a blessing to the Preston Park Retirement Residence team to have such a dynamic duo at the helm!
What is a Chef de Mission?
Chefs de Mission are the real MVPs at the ASCSG! Handpicked for their leadership qualities, they’re like coaches and captains rolled into one, making sure everything in the Games ticks along perfectly. They participate in planning, getting the word out, and making the games a blast for everyone. Crucial to fostering a sense of community and active participation among their fellow residents, the Chef de Mission and their Assistants are invaluable spokespersons for their teams.
During the Opening Ceremonies, these Chefs de Mission are entrusted with the prestigious task of reading special greetings from the Governor General and the Prime Minister, highlighting their significant role in bridging the community with national dignitaries.
Thank you to all the ASCSG Chef de Missions – you inspire us with your energy and commitment in showcasing the joy and camaraderie of participating in the Games!
Written by Jodi Gronsdahl, Executive Director , Preston Park I Retirement Residence, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.