ExtraCare Traditions 9 — Going for Gold

This blog follows on from earlier posts on the subject of ExtraCare Traditions.  They can be found by clicking on “EXTRACARE TRADITIONS” in the TAG CLOUD.

The common thread that runs through all of the work at ExtraCare was the theme of “activities”.  It wasn’t that everyone had to participate, but our aim was to provide such a range of opportunities that everyone could find something to do.  Although we regularly gave prizes and awards for the activities, participation was focused on fun rather than educational achievement.

The 1992 Sports Day kicked off a lot of sporting activities which are covered in my post “ExtraCare Traditions 3”.  It was followed in 1994 by the celebration of a much wider range of activities in the Elderflower Festival which is commented on more fully in “ExtraCare Traditions 4”.

Eventually we built on these activities to the point where there were 82 different activities that it was possible to take part in, in ExtraCare.  To record this, we came up with the concept of “Books of Life”, which created for residents a diary of the things they took part in complete with photographs.  Most residents took part in only a few activities but some made it a challenge to take part in as many things as possible.

To celebrate this we gave out Gold medals to all the residents who completed all 82 activities.  This became known as Going for Gold.   Every year, residents who completed the Going for Gold challenge, were asked to submit their Books of Life and these were then judged by a celebrity panel.

The prize for the first medal winners was Tea at the Dorchester Hotel.  Subsequently, thanks to the link we had with the Dorchester Hotel, many other residents were able to enjoy their teas.

The first big prize we had as a Going for Gold award was a trip to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.  15 residents, who had all completed the award, spent a week in Australia including a visit to Sydney.

The following year the award was a trip to Las Vegas where they mightily impressed a group of American seniors who were attending a conference on ageing.  They also had a lot of fun playing the slot machines 🙂

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3 Responses to ExtraCare Traditions 9 — Going for Gold

  1. Yes one an duck and dive, dip and fly with what ever one choses! As a concept life for the golden oldies is was for living, and you showed the way John.
    The great thing theses days with austerity in mind, the people are the same, and the friendships and comaradary are there, most of going for gold or the ‘Odd trip Out’ is still around, maybe more based in the UK, as a large extracare group; However through the friendships many couples and singles enjoy that ocassional summer time cruise to the Canaries, Carribean or the Med, or even the winter time one to North Cape and the NOrthen Lights.
    I enjoy listening to all these points of travel, and may take a modest trip with family to a caravan at Caister and see the sights of Great Yarmouth, or that occassional long wekend trip to some where in Southern Europe-One of the Latin Countries.
    As Going for Gold was intended, it is that life’s for living.

  2. Pam Harper says:

    Joining ExtraCare in 1994 just in time for the Elderflower Festival certainly opened my eyes and changed my perception of older people. I was (and still am) amazed at the talent and the energy our residents had and still have. I remember well the friendly competitiveness between residents during the Going for Gold Tradition and the joy of those residents who were lucky enough to go to Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games. I miss those days, as we in Head Office are not so involved with residents these days unfortunately.

  3. john graham says:

    Hi Pam, it’s good to hear from you. You certainly joined ExtraCare at a very exciting time. The Elderflower Festival was the biggest event we ever held and was a celebration of everything about the culture of the ExtraCare Charitable Trust. You can see a blog specifically on this tradition by clicking on October 2014 in the Archive. You can see other blogs on ExtraCare Traditions by clicking in the TAG CLOUD on “ExtraCare Traditions”.

    I’m sure you will remember all of these even better than I do! It would be lovely if you could add your own thoughts on each of the blogs. The Traditions are a big team effort by both residents and staff but your had work and enthusiasm were central to many of the events.

    The significance of the traditions is that they have established a firm culture of activity in ExtraCare and I am sure this will live on for many years.

    Many thanks

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