“I really enjoyed the experience! We all got to be good friends and learned a lot about getting along.”

A group of Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) residents competed against eight other teams of older adults from around the state at this year’s Senior Odyssey, held at Kenowa Hills Middle School in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 16. CRC’s team included Rosemary Blakeman, Dick Kraft, Mary Livingston, Horton Mathews, Gary Packard, Alberta Sabin, and Betty Jo Stendel.  The competition was sponsored by Senior Odyssey of Michigan, a program of Senior Neighbors, Inc.

Children have been competing in Odyssey of the Mind for over 30 years. Senior Odyssey, though, began in 2011 to give older adults the same opportunity to combine their lifelong skills and knowledge to solve problems in creative ways.  Teams receive a Long-Term Problem to solve in advance which the group then performs as a skit in front of judges and an audience at the competition.  Teams are also given a Spontaneous Problem to solve “on the spot” at the event.

This was the second year a team from CRC had competed in Senior Odyssey; however, all but one of this year’s team members were “rookies.” CRC resident Rosemary Blakeman said, “I really enjoyed the experience!  We all got to be good friends and learned a lot about getting along.”  While Rosemary had never acted before, she said she wasn’t as nervous as she thought she would be when their team took the stage.  “Residents from CRC had come by bus to attend the event.  They were very encouraging and cheered us on!”

Their coach, CRC Independent Living Life Enrichment Coordinator Hazel Mead, said, “My favorite part about Senior Odyssey is seeing the big buzz going around the building, the big build-up to competition day, not only from the team, but from other (CRC) residents and staff. This was a huge commitment from all the team members, and I couldn’t have felt more proud of how well they came together as a team.”