Senior athletes from across Alberta are preparing to descend on the Brooks-Newell area for the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games next week.

Lakeland-area competitors will be part of a 57-member Zone 7 team at the games, according to Zone 7 president Jane Stroud. The team is all but set, barring any last-minute substitutions.

“We’re just doing some last minute catch-up on who’s going,” Stroud said. “We’re doing quite well. The largest group is pickleball, and the second-largest is golf.”

The Summer Games includes sporting events like track and field, swimming, slo-pitch, and others; as well as card games, 8-ball pool, and an arts and photography component. There are 16 different sports and activities, with many of them subdivided by age groups.

Zone 7 is the northeast Alberta region, extending from Wainwright in the south to Fort McMurray in the north. 

Besides pickleball and golf, Stroud says Zone 7 will have participants in bocce, contract bridge, cribbage, military whist, floor shuffleboard, track and field, cornhole, and crafts and photography.

Participants from the Alberta 55 Plus Games can qualify for Canada Games. The next national meet will be in Quebec City in 2024.

Canada Games includes summer and winter disciplines. This year, Alberta is not holding a central Winter Games, opting instead to have each zone host provincial qualifying events for different sports. Zone 7 will host a provincial pickleball meet in late 2023 or early in 2024.

The organizing committee for the Brooks – Newell games has everything ready to go, including a comprehensive participants’ guide with plenty of information for visitors.

Some competitors only play on one or two days of the four-day Games event, and have some time to take in the host community’s attractions. Often spouses will travel with participants and enjoy getting away from the Games venue to enjoy the host region.

The Brooks – Newell guide offers plenty of tours and attractions for visitors.

Alberta 55 Plus offers organized activity for seniors at the local level as well as through Alberta Games and Canada Games. The idea is to promote healthy living and a spirit of friendly competition for older adults.

“I think it’s a great way for us to socialize and be active and have some competition,” Stroud said.