North Carolina Senior Games (NCSG) began in 1983 with a vision to create a year-round health promotion and wellness education program for adults 55 years of age and better (the age is now 50+). The Senior Games’ mission is truly grassroots in North Carolina and has placed our State far beyond other states with a structure that is participant driven.
Haywood County, Charlotte, and Wilmington were the first three Local Games in 1983, and served as the role models for other communities to begin Local Games. Seventeen Local Senior Games were held state-wide in 1984 and twenty-two in 1985 - the year the First Annual North Carolina Senior Games State Finals were hosted in Raleigh, NC. What happens in our own backyards daily and weekly is most important. Senior Games has always been a ‘bottom-up’ organization. The purpose of offering Local Games the first three years in our state was so other communities and NCSG could watch and learn from the model programs. Now there are more that 50 Local Games serving all 100 counties in North Carolina.
From the inaugural State Finals in 1985 to the present, this event has become a celebration of the human spirit in the truest sense of the word. State Finals offers participants more than friendly competition. It also provides individuals from participants to volunteers an opportunity to showcase their talents, enjoy being active, renew old skills and learn new ones. Perhaps most important of all, it allows everyone involved to join together in what has come to be called the Senior Games Family. Over 900 State Finals volunteers serve as event staff annually at State Finals. many of whom continue to return year after year.
Qualifiers from Local Games are invited to participate in the annual Senior Games State Finals held every fall. Every two years the State Finals winners qualify for the National Senior Games.
In 1986 SilverArts was formed to give seniors in North Carolina an outlet for creative expression. SilverArts brings together the athlete and the artist in a program that recognizes the values common to both endeavors: discipline, dedication, an a sense of accomplishment. Five categories of art are showcased annually at State Finals: visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, heritage arts and cheerleading.
NC Division of Aging and Adult Services
Under the leadership of Ernest Messer and Governer Hunt. the NC Division of Aging was the parent agency for NC Senior Games. As NCSG grew, the decision was made to incorporate as a 501(c)3 and establish a separate office. However, the relationship between the two agencies is strong and mutually beneficial.
Board of Directors
The NCSG Board of Directors is composed of participants, Local Games Coordinators and professionals in the areas of health, aging, and recreation. They generously give their time to guide and develop our statewide program. Meeting three times a year, this policy-making group, with statewide representation, assures that decisions are always made with input from participants and Local Games.