annecto care recipients from the mid-north coast of NSW participated in the recent 17th annual Aboriginal Elders Olympics in Inverell, NSW. 31 teams comprising 600 competitors took part in the event held on 12 April. The Elders Olympics bring together teams of Aboriginal people aged over 50 to compete in games and sports to promote health, fitness and emotional wellbeing. The gathering is also a way to foster companionship and friendship between Aboriginal people – some of the Elders attending compared it to a modern day corroboree.
The Kempsey team was dubbed the ‘annecto Bunnies’ in honour of rugby league team the Rabbitohs, and the Aunties and Uncles spent many hours designing the team’s banner and t-shirts at their Arts & Crafts group. The design of the banner featured totems from both coast (dolphin and turtle) and inland (kangaroo and goanna).
The group that travelled to Inverell consisted of 16 team members, captained by Aunty Elaine Widders and vice- captain Aunty Veronica Smith, along with two carers and two support workers. Sports at the games included ball games and relays. After they returned, Aunty Elaine and Aunty Veronica, along with Aunty Ethel Hoskins and Aunty Marjorie Smith-Vale, reflected on the trip and the event:
“We have been (to the Elders Olympics) many times and each year there are more people and more teams. It is good to see family and friends, and meet new people from other towns. On the way our group travelled to Moree and had a swim in the hot springs to see what it is like. We get more out of this as a group, where we can laugh and be silly young girls and men.”
“annecto have been a great support and see the need for us as Aboriginal Elders to attend these ‘Cultural Events of Significance’. Our team was decked out with shirts, hats and bags. Us four would like to thank annecto and Kempsey staff for their support in getting us to the games. Look forward to next year at Port Macquarie.”