Games help bridge generation gaps

Neighbourhood Space people are hoping to narrow generation gaps in the community.

Apryl Veld

Omineca Express

Neighbourhood Space people are hoping to narrow generation gaps in the community.

Every third Saturday of the month the Space is inviting folks young and old to try playing games together. Foosball, pool, card games and board games are some of the options for local people who drop in.

“(Inter-generational Games) is about bringing people together, seniors and young people,” said Space organizer Debra-Ann Bishop.

She clarifies that they don’t police the activities to make sure the ages are mixing, however.

“It’s just about providing a place with the possibility for it to happen,” she notes.

It’s important that youth get introduced to seniors Bishop says, as some people are not brought up around seniors, so some are leery to talk to older people.

“It’s good if people can see we are all humans; it’s just that as we age, the package looks a bit different,” she says.

Saturday March 17 was the kick off Inter-generational Games, with a St. Patrick’s Day theme barbecue and dessert. It also featured a keynote speaker, Vanderhoof athlete Colten Loewen talking about how games are important in life and for human relationships.

Bishop notes this intitiative is part of the Vanderhoof diversity project and is also for all the in-between ages to get to know people outside our usual circle.

“It’s about breaking down walls and inhibited feelings,” Bishop adds.

The Space organizers are trying to make new friendships possible, since that is key to people feeling like they matter in their community. She notes that by forming friendships across generation gaps, the younger person gains some great stories and begins learning they can be friends with seniors, and seniors get a more positive feeling about youth and get to relive some memories.

“Some (youth) have no grandparents and some grandparents have lived here all their lives but their families have moved (away), so they don’t get that interaction with the younger generation,” Bishop observes.

The Space helper said while inter-generational games is just one opportunity for bonding our residents, it could possibly snowball.

It can build stronger communities – the spark of youth can bring a brightness and it can be contageous, Bishop said.

“It’s hard to put into words because it happens on a subtle level,” she said, “but it makes everyone smile.”

They would be able to get a lot more seniors out to the games also if the shuttle bus  was funded to operate on Saturdays.

If you’re not familiar with Neighbourhood Space, it is a multi-purpose community space beside Subway, where many ages can come to relax and socialize, with refreshments and games available. There is an understanding that on weekdays before 3 p.m. seniors can congregate there and then a more youth-focused time is designated after 3 p.m. when school lets out. No one is discouraged from coming for any portion of the day because of their age, however.