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​YMCA Seniors Sports Carnival

The Canberra YMCA’s Senior Sports Carnival is a unique program, which aims to promote the health and well being of Canberra’s oldest citizens – those who reside in age care facilities or attend age day care programs. Typically they are 80–100 years of age

The Seniors Sports Carnival is an annual event that has been running since 2002. Participation in this community event is an amazing opportunity to build an older person’s sense of self-esteem, engagement in their community, improve their physical skills and to consolidate their sense of belonging amongst their peers.

Photographs from last years event 2015 can be viewed here


It is also an event that reminds the broader community that people in an aged care setting are still full of life and should not be forgotten.

The carnival consists of modified “sporting events” held in a friendly competitive atmosphere, with the “teams” vying for a champion’s trophy as well as individuals competing for gold, silver and bronze medals. 

The carnival aims to provide an Olympic like atmosphere, with an opening ceremony, local celebrities and dignitaries, medals, entertainment and morning tea. Typical modified sporting events may include javelin, bocce, 10m relay race, wheelchair obstacle course and much more. In 2014 there were 19 teams bringing together over 230 competitors, in an exciting and colourful day of sports modified to the abilities of people who often have limited mobility.

The ongoing success of this event is greatly assisted through the participation of students from the University of Canberra. Not only do the students assist the teams on the day of the event but for 8 weeks prior.   The students deliver a training and research program for the participants at their places of residence. This facilitates a rapport and trust between students and residents and by the time of the carnival the participants are confident and excited to be participating. The students then support their teams at the carnival celebrating in their achievements together.

This event has proven to develop strong bonds and a sense of belonging within the teams. People’s pride in going home with medals for their achievement is evident as they leave the venue. Their interest in remaining physically active is stimulated. The perpetual trophy for the winning team is proudly displayed at their residence or aged day care centre.

How to get involved!

There are plenty of ways to get involved in this amazing annual event.

Teams: If you have a team you would like to enter in this year’s event on October 13 2016 


Sponsors: If you run a business that would like to provide financial assistance or support in kind to help keep this incredible community event running annually.


Volunteers: Every year we recruit community volunteers to help on the day of the carnival.  It is an experience most volunteers don't forget. Join us in sharing a day with some of our oldest community members.

If you want to get involved in some way please contact us on (02) 6281 0124 yfitness.can@ymca.org.au

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