Young and Young at Heart Get Fit Together

One generation grew up watching black-and-white television, the other is still growing up and as likely to watch Apple TV as ABC. No matter their age, however, participants in the Intergenerational Games each knew how to toss a giant parachute, wiggle a hula hoop, and share a smile. It was all part of a sun-splashed day on April 9 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista. The event paired “older adults” with third graders from Wolf Canyon Elementary in a variety of health and fitness activities.

“The purpose is to bring together two very different generations—the forever ‘young at heart’ and our third-grade students,” said Allison Wagner, the District’s physical education resource teacher who is based at the OTC. “They get to play a whole bunch of different sporting events, learn about health and nutrition, and what life-long fitness is all about.”2015 InterGames_7200

The senior volunteers and students were teamed in pairs for the 13th Annual Intergenerational Games, a project of San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services, Health and Human Services Agency. By bringing different generations together, mutual understanding and respect add to the impact of the program’s goals.

The students and mature adults heard from Joaquim Cruz, a former Brazilian Olympic gold medalist in the 800 meters. Paired participants then began a circuit of stations that alternated between physical activities and educational stations with information.  Later, the kids and their new-found elder friends took turns awarding one another medals at the closing ceremonies before sitting down together to share lunch.

“Many of our seniors have the wisdom of how to live well,” said Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D. “The Chula Vista Elementary School District was the first ‘Live Well San Diego’ school district in the county. We’ve made health and wellness a priority in our schools. This is a perfect time for our seniors to share with our students how to eat well, how to exercise, how to conduct themselves with one another. This is a perfect time to have fun while also learning life lessons.”

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