Happy New Year!
To kick off 2017, It is time to reflect on what our organization has accomplished over the past four years, and to look forward to the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana coming to Birmingham, and the milestone it represents.
In 2012, while serving as Director of National Games for the National Senior Games the Board of Directors approached me about taking on the role of CEO. In that moment, all at once, I felt the excitement of the opportunity, the immense challenges, and the awesome feeling of responsibility to live up to NSGA’s standards and to honor our mission.
Today, we can say both the challenges and the rewards have far exceeded expectations, and that NSGA is a stronger organization now. Here’s a few highlights of our accomplishments in recent years.
- Qualifying Games are now held in all states, the District of Columbia, Canada and with the National Veterans Golden Age Games. Hundreds of dedicated people work many hours to organize and conduct these games, and some of them volunteer more time to serve NSGA on our Board of Directors and committees. When you attend your state games this year, please make time to thank them for everything they do.
- NSGA’s core mission is “to promote health and wellness to people 50 and over through education, fitness and sport.” The goal was to step up our game in the education area, which included revitalizing the NSGA Foundation, form meaningful partnerships with like-minded health and fitness organizations, and to raise general awareness about The Games to attract even more into The Senior Games Movement.
- We are pleased to report that NSGA Foundation is more active now than at any time in its existence, adding more people of professional capacity as Trustees and establishing a road map to accomplish great things in the future.
- Since 2013, NSGA has formed partnerships with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, The YMCA of the USA, and the American Council on Exercise. This year, we expect to announce additional new partnerships.
- Recently, NSGA created a Health and Wellness Manager position, which will result in more effective Foundation and partner relations, as well as more relevant information and content for our website and communications. Also, look for some new programming coming to The Village and Health and Wellness Expo this summer at The Games.
- We have also had a full-time communications position since 2013 and our athlete stories and features about The Games are appearing in new ways and in new places. Because of our efforts, the quality and quantity of national and regional media exposure has increased steadily and dramatically.
- NSGA began offering a non-ambulatory division in several sports at The Games. Building a relationship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to promote disabled veterans to participate.
- Initiated the Personal Best Tour, to share examples of healthy aging on and off the field. Our goal is to inspire others to action and show that “It’s Never Too Late to Get in the Game.”
- Entering its 30th year in existence, The National Senior Games continues to offer active seniors quality sports competition with a unique atmosphere of “fitness, fun and fellowship.” For 2017, NSGA has taken on a larger role with our local partners, adding more national staff to ensure our athletes have the best possible venues and experience on and off the field of play.
- Finally, Birmingham will have a special atmosphere as we celebrate our 30th anniversary this June. Athletes won’t want to miss what we have in store with planned program elements and displays. We have created a special 30th anniversary web page and newsletter to enhance the importance of this moment in history.
The process of looking back and appreciating everyone and everything that has come before has humbled all of us at NSGA. We are honored to work on behalf of our athletes and members to provide even better service and experiences into the future. The best is truly yet to come.
We wish each one of you health, happiness and safe travels in 2017. See you at The Games!
Marc T. Riker