Otterbein Olympics Brings Tough Competition and Tons of Fun
Last Thursday, Otterbein Senior Life hosted their annual Otterbein Olympics at the Lebanon campus's Gallery of Games venue. This event has become a yearly favorite for residents, staff, and family members- and for good reason! The day-long event offers a glimpse into Otterbein's community culture that recognizes care for "the whole person," and their strong commitment to Otterbein's Nine Degrees of Wellness: physical, environmental, vocational, creative, intellectual, cultural, spiritual, social, and emotional.
The ceremony kicked off with each of the nine participating communities marching out with their flag and fight song (We Will Rock You and Eye of the Tiger were part of the mix) to fanfare from the audience of family and onlookers. One Otterbein, the collective community choir, welcomed the beginning of the games while players geared up for the competition.
Categories for competition included pickleball, cornhole, Wii Bowling, Chair Volleyball, Put Put, shuffleboard, and several other recreations. A highlight for everyone was the Taste of Otterbein food competition among the nine locations' chefs, who offered unique samplings to garner votes for the Gold Medal.
While the competition was thick, it was most striking to see the community and fellowship shared among residents and staff. Each event had a host of fans and supporters cheering the games on, and it was difficult to find a single person there sitting by themselves. Many residents were happy to catch up with friends from other campuses or strike up a conversation with someone new. Otterbein truly went to great lengths to invest in making this event special for all involved.
As the day began winding down, we began to congregate for the award ceremony. I found myself sitting with Louise, a 94-year-old pastor's wife who has been with Otterbein Franklin since the late 90s. She told me she won Bronze for Wii bowling and explained that she regularly plays Wii Bowling, dominos, and other games almost weekly with other residents. As we sat there talking about life- marriage, children, careers, our names and how we got them- she would periodically point out other residents from her campus and praise them on certain achievements or how they've overcome obstacles. She spoke about her friends and neighbors like a family member- proud to share their strengths and accolades.
My conversation with Louise was symbolic to the overall energy Otterbein brings. Their attention and care to the smallest detail during the Otterbein Olympics made all players and participants feel included. Just like Louise sharing her pride for her friends, Otterbein Senior Life demonstrates the pride they have in the care and commitment for residents through their investment in making sure the "whole person" is cared for. I can't wait to attend next year!