Friday is Intergenerational Day Canada in Sidney. The town proclaimed the day to remind people to connect on a one-to-one basis with someone from another generation.
“The positive power of intergenerational connecting starts from the simple exchange of a respectful greeting,” said Sharon MacKenzie, executive director of i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada. “The June 1 proclamation is meant to remind people of the importance of making this small, purposeful effort.”
MacKenzie sent the request to declare the day to multiple districts.
“We were the first people in Canada to do that,” said Coun. Marilyn Loveless. “For Sidney it’s key to part of our strategic goals and that’s to have a balanced community. We really want to focus on bringing our younger generations and older generations together. And we do quite a bit.”
She recalls working at the Shoal Centre and bringing seniors to North Saanich middle school to use the computer lab. “It was remarkable to see these young folks with 90-year-olds and they were each learning from each other,” she said.
Sidney has a number of similar activities from Rotarians reading at Sidney elementary to the upcoming opportunity for grandparents to sit and watch while grandkids play at the Iroquois spray park.
“And the sculpture walk. I can’t wait to walk around the waterfront and talk about art with my grandchildren,” Loveless said. “One of the things we hope to do at some point is to form an inventory of some of the activities that go on in our town.”
A former member of the National Seniors Council, Loveless hopes to see intergenerational activities fostering knowledge of skills, as well as developing understanding.
“The more you understand about other people, the richer your life is. For some young people they get to a point where they see an older slower person as less than the ideal. If they know that person and they understand that [he or she] takes a little longer in the line at the bank … it doesn’t bother them, because they’ve got a relationship,” Loveless said. “An older person could see a group of people with piercings and funny hair … and there could be a level of fear that is completely unnecessary. “
Anyone interested in developing an inventory, or ideas surrounding intergenerational interaction, or already doing things that could be of interest can contact Loveless at 250-479-6898 firstname.lastname@example.org.