The Sports Days isn't the only thing that wrapped up for the area's 55+ Plus Sports organization.

After being a key organizers for 15 years, Doug Campbell is stepping back, but will remain an active participant.

Dawn Baker, who first became involved in 55+ Sports 10 years ago, has been named the new Area 7 representative. She lives just outside of Cochrane.

Baker is a passionate hockey player who began playing with 55 Plus teams in 2014. This fall she'll be competing for Alberta at the 55 Plus Canada Games in Quebec City.

She believes 55 Plus plays a large role in keeping older people active and in her new role hopes to spend the word even further and involve more people.

Doug CampbellRetiring Area 7 rep Doug Campbell with president Norma Dawson.

Campbell says it's time to play more and bureaucrat less. He's served in many positions over the years for Zone 2, including president, but don't kid yourself, he's also allowed time for play.

Campbell has competed in about 12 of the 30-plus sports and activities offered by 55-Plus Sports and has enjoyed every one of them. He's competed at provincials a dozen times and gone on the nationals six times. This August will be his seventh in Quebec City.

He's proud of his success in sports but when it comes to highlights, top of the list is the people you meet, work and play with. 

"We've built up the local membership to 200 people and 500 in the zone. Some of the endearing moments was when a 101-year-old lady won the national javelin championship. She was scolding me all the time because she had to play against 85-year-old kids."

While it's not directly connected to 55 Plus Sports, he intends to continue to organizer the Super Seniors Square Spiel held in Cochrane that has become the largest seniors bonspiel in southern Alberta.

Norma DawsonZone 2 55 Plus president Norma Dawson lead an information session while in Cochrane for Sports Days.

Norma Dawson, of High River, who has started her third term as president of the Big Country Seniors Sports Society, took in part of Sports Days and lead an information session.

The High River resident has been involved with 55 Plus Sports for 12 years, first when she lived in Millarville. 

She believes the organization continues to open many doors for older people.

"I think it gives people the chance to compete if they want to. Some people just want to compete at their own seniors club, but if they want to go further, we give them that opportunity. They can go on to provincials or even nationals if they want."

She says they're retooling their games that have taken a hit in numbers since COVID.

"We're trying to get the numbers back up. We have summer games and we have winter games and we're considering putting all the games in the summer, then look at something different for some of the winter sports."

The elephant in the room is the elimination of provincial government funding that began about half dozen years ago.

"They used to help us with everything," she says. "They'd help pay for your hotel or wherever, whatever your accommodation was, whether it was camping or university campus, for the summer games. And they'd have busing available for free. A couple of years ago, they were giving us $15,000 a year towards whoever was hosting the games and now we don't even get that. Now they don't pay anything."

The provincial 55 Plus board holds out hope that the Danielle Smith government will look at it differently.

"Hopefully we'll get somewhere because it's important for seniors to be active. It helps them stay out of the hospital because they're healthy. That to me is a positive thing."

The games and activities of 55 Plus Sports also assists with mental well-being, she says.

"It's fun to go to the provincial games," she says. "You meet new people from other towns, and you usually know somebody, and then you get to see them again. It's a good community feeling."

55 Plus Sports has the same eight zones, the same as all sports in the province. Big Country stretches from the mountains to the Saskatchewan border, north to Olds in the north and High River in the south. Calgary is in a separate zone.