By Shelly Wiebe
Mondays can be “the worst day of the week.” However, Dene Elligsen and Phil Meyers are working to make Mondays fun.
Until the end of March, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the Port Rowan Community Centre plays host to a walking and pickleball group.
“Walking takes place from 9:30 until 11 and then from 11 until 12:30 pickleball picks up,” says Dene.
Dene moved here in 2015 and soon realized that the Community Centre was sitting empty most days throughout the week.
“I live right across the road and I often wondered to myself why can’t we utilize that space?” she told the Good News.
Dene and Phil are both volunteers at Stonebridge, which is a non-profit organization focused on delivering services for local communities offering a wide variety of activities that help people stay active and healthy.
With a background in health and fitness, Dene has taught exercise classes and understands the importance of moving our bodies.
“The walking group is open as a drop-in to people of all ages and all experience levels. We have chairs for sitting and resting, we have lines on the floor to follow and most of all we have fun upbeat music to keep the spirits up.”
Since they started at the beginning of the year, Dene and Phil say about 60 locals have participated showing the program was a necessity in the community.
When asked what they enjoy most about the morning, participants agreed it was the social aspect. “Dene has been so great, She is personal and really gets to know the people that come,” said one walker.
Phil and the pickleball crew also welcome people of all ages and experience levels. Known as one of the fastest growing racquet sports in North America, Phil became familiar with pickleball six years ago.
“It’s a sport you play with a tennis net, on a badminton size court with a ping pong style racquet,” says Phil, who says that he really likes to see new people come out on Mondays to give it a try.
“So far the experienced players are happy and willing to let the newcomers learn the sport and play at their own pace. We can have three courts going at once, so that’s 12 people at a time playing,” says Phil.
The two, who didn’t know each other prior to their collaboration, are equally passionate about getting locals active and into a social environment. They are grateful to the support they have received from Abby Malott (Health and Wellness Coordinator at Stonebridge Community Services) as well as Norfolk County to get this program up and running.
“Twenty laps around the Community Centre floor is equal to a mile,” says Dene. “Some people walk four miles and go home, others walk one and sit and relax. It’s wonderful to see people improve on their distance though and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
For information on Stonebridge programs offered in Port Rowan, phone 519-842-3200.