JKV’s first Pickleball tournament was a fitness-oriented highlight of Active Aging Week 2021

Begun in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA), the Active Aging Week (AAW) campaign calls attention to, and wholeheartedly celebrates, the positivity of aging today. It highlights the capabilities of older adults as fully participating members of society and spotlights the role models that lead the way. John Knox Village embraced AAW six years ago, and the activities, events and opportunities have grown every year since.

While AAW 2020 was physically distanced, with strict attendance limits on all activities due to COVID-19 protocols, a full schedule of events was showcased, many of them Zoomed to residents who could watch and participate from the safe environs of their homes.

This year, with near universal double-vaccinations among residents (and Pfizer booster shots implemented campus-wide in mid-October), events and activities were closer in scope and participation to pre-2020 Active Aging Weeks.

According to the plan developed by ICAA, AAW focuses on a week-long schedule of events and activities designed to involve the Seven Dimensions of Wellness: Physical, intellectual, environmental, vocational, social, emotional and spiritual. From the intellectual, vocational, social and spiritual One-Day University on The Power of Mindset, to the physical and social fun on the Pickleball and bocce ball courts, and aerobic fitness in the pool, to the all-encompassing wellness opportunities of the Volunteer Fair – there was something for everyone during AAW.

During the culmination of Active Aging Week, hundreds of JKV residents attended the Volunteer Fair to learn about all the opportunities to share their talents, skills and time in helping others. Here pictured (left to right) are Scholarship Volunteer Dusty Dunn, Lifestyle Coordinator (and mime) Melissa Jill Clark, Volunteer Fair Chairperson Mark Levey, Village President and CEO Gerry Stryker, and Scholarship Volunteer Mary Busenburg


Education, Opportunity And Participation

If education and knowledge are your passions, you would have learned about the Cultural Literacy for Religion; the Art of Thai Cooking; Journaling to document the special moments in your life; Life-changing Habits of Centenarians; The 7 Dimensions of Technology and how to improve your life via smartphones, computers, apps and websites; Understanding and Improving your Memory; Learning the American Sign Language to communicate with the hearing impaired; and The Power of Mindset. Each of these lectures, seminars, Zoom meetings or demonstrations was designed to give participants the tools necessary to improve their lives in meaningful ways.

For the more physically involved participants, AAW included Water Relays in the lap pool, a Pickleball Tournament – crowning the first JKV champions, and a Bocce Ball Tournament to determine the Village’s greatest at positioning their bocce closest to the pallino.


Honoring Village Pets

For many Village residents, particularly during the pandemic, their pets have provided emotional, social, physical and spiritual support. To celebrate that important relationship, the pups and kitties of the Village were included in two special events. On St. Francis’ Feast Day, JKV’s spiritual leaders Rev. Rachael Gallagher and Rev. Jamie Champion, invoked the Blessing of the Pets. More than 30 Village pups and one cat were joined with six therapy dogs and their volunteers from Ft. Lauderdale’s Canine Assisted Therapy in thanks for the special partnership we enjoy with furry friends.


JKV residents (left to right) Larry Hardham, and Judy and Ron Lane compete in the AAW bocce ball tournament.


The second pet-oriented event captured a special moment in the valued pet/parent relationship through photography. Participants in the Furry Friends Foto Opp received portraits to keep as special mementos and to share with family and friends.

Accolades go to Life Enrichment Manager Jamisyn Becker, Meaningful Life Manager Gloria Gantes, Fitness Manager Marsha Dixon, Lifestyle Coordinator Melissa Jill Clark and their teams for the planning, implementation, guidance and supervision of the week’s events, designed to fully engage every resident regardless of interest and ability.


Volunteer Fair Highlighted The Week

The fitting culmination of the week’s activities was the Volunteer Fair held in the Village Centre Auditorium. The Fair honored the volunteerism of JKV’s residents – more than 50 percent of residents volunteer their time and talents in the Village or outside in the Greater Community – and the opportunity to “sign-up” to one or more of the volunteer offerings.

While AAW was filled with opportunities to participate in a wide range of events, it was really just an introduction into the 52-week, 365-day a year schedule of activities contained on the JKV events calendar. Active Aging is the holistic goal at JKV, where each day is another celebration of life enjoyed to its fullest.

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