NSGA Annual Conference Discovers “Minnesota Nice”
More than 90 people dedicated to the Senior Games Movement converged on Minnesota for the NSGA Annual Conference to meet, interact and learn through meetings and workshops designed to help with common topics shared by state games organizers. This year was also an opportunity for states to meet local host organizers for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana and to get a high-touch feel for what Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul will offer next July. Based on all the feedback we have heard, Minnesota “knocked it out of the park” with their hospitality and well-organized presentations which gave attendees a fresh perspective to share with their athletes during this qualifying year.
Board Of Directors Election
An important element of the Annual Conference is the election of returning and new members of the NSGA Board of Directors. We are pleased to welcome new At Large board members Steve Kearney and John White. Kearney has served as NSGA National Chair for Badminton since 1999 and is a past president and USOC Board Delegate for USA Badminton. White is a former educator with extensive sports organizing experience. He currently chairs Wisconsin Senior Olympics and has competed in the National Senior Games since 2003.
Returning board members include Kate Amack (CO), Jerry LeVasseur (ME), Monica Paul (At Large) and Stephen Rodriguez (FL). In addition, appreciation awards were presented to past NSGA chair Dana Brown of Oklahoma who completed her terms of service, and to Becky Sewell of Kansas who resigned to join the NSGA staff as Director of Athlete and Partner Relations.
New Mexico Dominates NSGA Media Awards
Each year, conference attendees review entries submitted by states and vote for their favorite best practices in a variety of marketing and promotions categories. New Mexico Senior Olympic’s Cecilia Acosta (right, with Dana Brown) is smiling so brightly because three of the awards are going back to The Land of Enchantment.
The 2014 NSGA Media Awards were:
NSGA Foundation Welcomes Carl Hust and Dr. Pamela Peeke as New Trustees
One key objective for NSGA for the past year has been to realign and re-energize the foundation arm to expand our health and wellness mission and to raise funding to promote health and wellness and support The Games. In recent months NSGA Board Members Dana Brown, Kate Amack, Michael Hess and Carmela Martinez were appointed as trustees to refresh goals and map out next steps.
During the Annual Conference, the Foundation Board met and shared significant progress and plans to meet those goals. Tangible evidence of this progress was the election of Carl Hust and Dr. Pamela Peeke as new trustees, and both were in attendance to share their views and commitment to actively carry out foundation work. Hust is a veteran of the movement as a past NSGA board chair and a current board member for the South Carolina Senior Games organization. Dr. Peeke is a nationally-recognized physician and fitness expert who has written three New York Times best-selling books and serves as Chief Medical Correspondent for WebMD. Peeke visited the 2013 Games and recognized how the Senior Games Movement can be a leading voice in advocating senior fitness. She reported she plans to qualify and compete in triathlon in Minnesota next year and to blog about her journey.
“Bringing in the vast historical perspective of Carl Hust and the immense knowledge, energy and national contacts of Dr. Peeke bodes well for the prospects to see major contributions sooner than later by our foundation,” said NSGA Board Chair Stephen Rodriguez.
NSGA Members Enjoy 2015 Venue Tour
During the NSGA Annual Conference, the 2015 local organizing committee arranged for a tour of sport and program venues for the 2015 Games, and the response from members was overwhelmingly positive. Attendees first visited the Minneapolis Convention Center where several sports, athlete check-in and the Athlete Village and Expo will be located. From there we were brought to most of the sport venues around Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul. At each location key venue management personnel proudly presented their facilities and answered questions from members. Organizers threw in some fun elements as the mascots from both St. Thomas University and the University of Minnesota high-fived attendees as they came off the buses.
“There is no better way to share information about the 2015 venues and their locations, as well as to gain housing and transportation information than to get out and set eyes on them and have our hosts provide more details,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “I have heard many positive comments both for the venues themselves and for how well the Minnesota team organized and conducted the tour. They really put their best foot forward this entire week.”
Watch for more details to be shared in the 2015 Games section of our website in coming months.
USA Judo Celebrates 2015 Demo Sport Addition
“We’re ecstatic! This is a natural!” Corinne Shigemoto, COO for USA Judo, summed up the elation being shared by devotees of the sport with the news that judo has been voted into the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana as a demonstration sport in a recent national campaign hosted by Post Shredded Wheat and NSGA.
USA Judo is the organization that fosters the sport nationally and builds the U.S. Olympic Judo Team under the USOC. “We’ve been an Olympic sport since 1964, and we have many adults who pursue judo well into their senior years,” Shigemoto continued in the official release posted on their website and organization newsletter.
“We look forward to working with USA Judo to stage an exciting showcase for the sport involving seniors,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said.
USA Judo Announcement
Upcoming State Qualifying Games
May features state games in AL, CT, DC, IN, MS, SC, VA and VT so it’s time to get registered to qualify for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana.
Right around the corner are June games in CA, CO, IA, ME,MA, MO, MT. Visit our State Registration page to search for specific information and registration links for the state(s) you are interested in.
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Finding His Rhythm
As a race walker, 62 year old Dave Kirgan of Bowling Green, Kentucky knows the importance of finding a rhythm and focusing on fine details to keep moving. He also knows all too well the consequences of falling out of rhythm.
A career Air Force man, Dave kept in shape and always aced his annual fitness test – until he was allowed to pursue a degree and sat in a classroom. “When it was time for my annual mile and a half timed run, I wasn’t ready,” he recalls. “Once you break the exercise habit, each day it’s easier to forget about it. After failing that test, I decided to start running and soon became an ardent student of running and fitness.”
Wanting to help others lose weight, Dave started an aerobics class on his base that became mandatory for anyone on the overweight roster. His rhythm returned with a renewed passion for martial arts and endurance running. But when he retired in 1994, there weren’t any more fitness tests to pass and he stopped exercising completely. “Over the next seven years, my once 30 inch waist went to where 38 pants were cutting into me. I got good at not seeing my reflection in the mirror.”
On the day he turned 50, Dave stopped at a gas station and found himself out of breath just from cleaning his windshield. The wakeup call brought back his running rhythm, but two years later a torn Achilles tendon dealt another blow. “It was never comfortable after that, but I wasn’t going to quit. I decided to try race walking which was easier on my sore tendon.” In 2006, Dave did better than expected in his first competition, and a fellow competitor urged him to go to the Kentucky Senior Games. Dave has always qualified for the National Senior Games since then, but could only attend Louisville in 2007 and again last year in Cleveland. In each case he reached his goal of finishing in the top 10 for his age group, and his sights are set on another good finish in Minnesota next year.
There is one more constant rhythm to Dave’s story – a passion for writing that goes back to his Air Force days contributing health and fitness stories to the base newspaper and doing a weekly squadron news letter. “To keep my thoughts flowing now, I write short articles on several health and fitness oriented websites and have also been contributing articles to Walk About Magazine.” In fact, we discovered Dave from the inspirational messages he occasionally posts on The National Senior Games Facebook page.
He is also working on a book called Panda Endurance. “The title comes from the fact that pandas are going extinct and there is nothing they can do about it, but people often make a conscious decision to shorten their own lives by not exercising, over eating, smoking, and ingesting chemicals from processed food and soft drinks.”
Dave Kirgan says he will never lose his rhythm again now that he’s found race walking. “It really is the fountain of youth,” he says. “I take no medications whatsoever. I’m not being treated for anything except minor sports injuries.”
We’re always looking for great athlete stories. Submit yours and read more athlete stories on our Athlete of the Month page at NSGA.com!
Senior Health and Wellness
Personal Best Tour: An Extra-Ordinary Kickoff
The 2014 Personal Best Tour made its initial launch with a reception at our annual conference where 80 year old tennis player Ruby Rott was introduced as our Personal Best Award athlete for Minnesota. An official presentation event for Ruby will be held during the Minnesota Senior Games in August, but this was an opportunity to give a sneak preview to our members. Rott, who initially felt she was not worthy of the recognition, commanded the rapt attention of the audience with her story and heartfelt thoughts about her experiences and the health benefits gained from her athletic pursuits that did not begin until she was 55. “I hope people will perceive me not just as a senior athlete but as a good caring person,” she concluded.
Enrich yourself by taking time to read the new tour blog and Ruby’s inspiring athlete profile at NSGA.com.
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Tax Refund? Celebrate With Cool Stuff From the NSGA Store
Whether Uncle Sam sent you back some of your money or not, you’ll feel like a million bucks sporting gear from The NSGA Store. When you compete at your qualifying games let everyone know you are a National Senior Games athlete with high quality tee shirts, hats, windbreakers, hoodies or long sleeve tee shirts in your choice of colors and graphics.
Visit The NSGA Store at NSGA.com to get yours.