Celebrating competition for the young at heart, the Happy Ham Lakers took first place for the second year in a row among the 10 teams that competed at the 18th annual Camilia Rose Senior Olympics on June 11.
After a welcome from founder and CEO of Mary T. Inc. Dr. Mary Tjosvold, four members of the Coon Rapids Senior Center Goldentones Choir sang the national anthem and the games began.
Senior citizens from seven local senior care facilities and programs participated in basketball, golf, hockey and frisbee toss. Each team sent out three different competitors for each activity if possible, so each team member had the chance to participate.
“All you can do is try, it’s all for fun. That’s what we do here,” Camilia Rose Dreamers team member Don Tainters said.
Tainters is visually impaired and has a guide dog for assistance, but still competed in most of the activities. He said he has learned to depend on his other senses and still achieves high scores in Frisbee toss.
Volunteers from TCF Bank assisted residents with the games and tallied up the scores.
When they weren’t competing, participants could get a face painting or enjoy cotton candy, hot dogs and slushies. Residents also received a free root beer float provided by Klein Bank.
Animals of Walton’s Hollow brought a llama, pony, calf, sheep, goats, rabbits and other animals for participants to enjoy.
Along with the bounce of a basketball and the swoosh of the hockey nets, the sounds of the Olympics also included with the upbeat notes of Camilia Rose Sparks team member Lester Skogquist’s accordion. Many residents gathered round after the games were over to enjoy the sunny weather and listen to him play.
Tjosvold congratulated all the teams and thanked the TCF Bank volunteers, Camilia Rose staff, volunteers and the community for coming out to support the event. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Camilia Rose Care center.
“We’re celebrating 35 years of serving the community… all of us are so happy,” Tjosvold said.
This year the top three teams received monetary prizes. Following the Happy Ham Lakers from Ham Lake Senior Center were the Camilia Rose Dreamers in second place and the Camilia Club Sugar and Spice in third place.
Other participating teams included the two Select Senior Living Warriors teams, the Camilia Rose Sparks, the Camilia Rose Dreamcatchers, the Dynamos of DeMar, Eagle Street and Creekside Cottage, the Margaret Place Musketeers and the Coon Rapids Senior Center Red Raccoons. The Happy Ham Lakers won first place last year and several team members expressed their pleasant surprise at another win.
“I don’t know, we’re just lucky. We practice,” team member Howard Courtney said.
Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]