By David Markham
A unique scavenger hunt where participants pursue and collect experiences and memories instead of objects is part the 50th anniversary celebration for JCPRD’s 50 Plus department going on throughout 2021.
The program is called “50 Things with 50 Plus.” Participants will pick from a long list of things to do that promote engagement through physical, social, mindful, nature-oriented, forward thinking, and even some passive activities. This program is free and runs through Dec. 1. Everyone who submits a complete “50 Things with 50 Plus” checklist will receive a 50 Plus Superstar button and be entered into a gift card drawing which will take place in December. To get started, go to JCPRD.com/50plussuperstars.
“The overall goal is to encourage people to experience something new, to connect with us, and connect with others,” said 50 Plus Manager Michelle Alexander. “We’ve also asked people to comment about the activity they choose to complete on their tracking sheet in order to provide some mindful connection to the activity. When you take a moment to notice how something made you feel, especially if it’s a good feeling, you might try to do it more often. It’s all about making time to take care of yourself and having some fun too.”
Alexander said completing the list is easy, and there are lots of options to choose from.
“There are a total of 75 activities to choose from,” she said. “Some may be things individuals already do in their daily life such as watching the wildlife in their backyard, changing the batteries in your smoke detector, or going for a walk in their neighborhood. Other things may take a bit more effort such as visiting the new Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower at Kill Creek Park, downloading a book from the library, or joining a virtual program with your video on. If they start in March, they’d need to complete five to six items every month to be done before it’s due in December. If they wait until April to start, then they need to complete six to seven activities each month.”
To take part in this program, participants will use a tracking sheet to record each item they’ve completed, along with something positive they gained from the activity. Once 50 lines have been completed, they will return the list with their name, email, and phone number by email, postal mail, or in-person to a listed JCPRD location by Dec. 1.
There are four ways participants can access the “50 Things with 50 Plus” checklist and tracking sheet. One is to visit JCPRD.com/50plussuperstars where users can download and print the activity list and tracking sheet. A second way is to email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org to request the documents be mailed to them. Preprinted lists are available for pickup at four locations: the JCPRD Registration Office in Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam; the 50 Plus office at the Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St., Overland Park; the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village; and the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park.
While this program is for ages 50 and older, friends and family members under that age can be brought in to help and share the experiences involved.
Since 1971, JCPRD’s 50 Plus Department has provided tools, resources, and outlets to help older adults of Johnson County and beyond live and age well. Among the department’s many popular offerings are: an extended travel program that has taken people all over the US and around the world for the past 48 years; the Side by Side Experience singing group which has been around for at least 25 years; a nature walk program that for more than 20 years has let the more adventurous hike trails in Kansas and Missouri; and the New Horizons Band which for 15 plus years has provided a place for musicians who haven’t picked up an instrument since middle school the chance to play. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the department has also been offering a variety of virtual programs, including free programs on a number of topics.
“If you haven’t started a 2021 bucket list yet, this is a great place to start,” Alexander said of the ‘50 Things with 50 Plus” program. “Engaging our mind, body, and social connections regularly can provide positive outcomes to overall health and wellness. Anything we can do to make your day a little brighter is a win for us. Please help us celebrate 50 years of 50 Plus, and thank you for being the best part of the 50 Plus program!”