After putting on a Survivor-themed event for its residents last year, the Rocky View Lodge seniors’ living facility in Crossfield took inspiration from another reality TV show this summer, hosting an Amazing Race-inspired competition for tenants throughout the month of August.
As part of the initiative, residents paired up and created a team name, which they decorated on a banner. The teams then competed in challenges roughly three times a week.
If a team member could not compete in an event, fellow lodge residents jumped in to help out, according to Brenda Campbell, the social and leisure coordinator for Rocky View Lodge, who organized the Amazing Race contest.
Wanting to move away from some of the more common group activities they’ve done in the past, Campbell created the Amazing Race-themed competition to offer lodge residents a little more variety.
“As much as people really like bingo and stuff…there’s just nothing different to look forward to and I think once in a while changing things up … you can really see the residents get a little bit more excited and a little bit more engaged again,” Campbell said.
To kick off the competition, teams were tasked with learning the full names of every resident in the lodge. Campbell said the lodge has recently welcomed many new tenants, and she wanted the seniors to get to know each other better.
“The first [challenge] was matching the first names with the last names of the residents,” she explained. “I knew that if they didn’t know the last names, they were on the back of all the chairs in the dining room, so then they would have to run around the dining room and look at all the backs of the chairs.”
Using pieces of wood that were roughly a foot long, the second challenge saw residents create sticks that they had to use to lift a loop off of a stationary object. Campbell said the sticks became really wobbly, making it a comedic experience for those participating – as well as those watching from the sidelines.
The third challenge had residents attempting to match pieces of yarn, which Campbell said was the most difficult of the challenges, as some residents have visual impairments.
“We cut lengths of about 10 inches and tied all different colours together on one length and then we put that length out and they had to dig through all the boxes of yarn and match up exactly the colours that we matched up on our length,” Campbell added.
One of Campbell’s favourite events of the month was a tinfoil hat challenge, where she gave each team a box of tinfoil and they were tasked with creating as tall a hat as possible.
Another challenge had residents digging through approximately 500 golf balls. Campbell wrote each team's name on two golf balls and the pairs had to hunt to find their matching golf balls. Once found, the teams had to putt their golf ball into a hole.
Bringing the teams back to their youth, Campbell also had them create and decorate paper airplanes. The teams then competed in a series of eight races, with some race winners being the fastest airplane or the plane that travelled the farthest.
At the end of the eight races, two teams were tied, so Campbell hosted a tie-breaker round, which also ended in a tie.
In the end, there was only one viable solution to such a result.
“At the end [race], when we measured it, they were exactly the same distance from the target, to the millimetre, so I gave them both the win,” she said.
The race was still ongoing as of press time, with the winning team to be announced on Aug. 31.
Ending the competition, a company specializing in radio-controlled cars was scheduled to visit the lodge and set up tracks for the Amazing Race competitors to race their radio-controlled cars – something Campbell said many residents have never done before.
Throughout the competition, the winning teams have been collecting points during each challenge. The team with the most points at the end of August will be crowned the lodge’s Amazing Race champion.
And just like on the popular TV show, a cash prize is also up for grabs – albeit not quite as lucrative.
“I’ll be giving the winners each $10 in Rocky View Lodge money and also some kind of a little gift bag,” Campbell said, explaining that Rocky View Lodge money is an internal currency used within the residence for guests to purchase products at the tuck shop.
She added afterwards, the participants will enjoy some champagne and cake together.
“It’s not really about winning. It’s about having fun or giggling,” Campbell said. “It’s all about camaraderie and working as a team.”