Welcome Back to…FUN
By Ben Singer, SCAN Peer Advocate
The dictionary defines recreation as “an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working.” But what happens when the “enjoyment” goes away? Three SCAN members in California share their insights on how they handled their recreational challenges driven by COVID-19.
“I grew up in Maine,” says 11-year SCAN member Ted O. of Dana Point. “My father had a power boat, and we’d go out on Lake Sebago. That’s where my love of the open water began.”
In California, Ted joined the local yacht club to share his boating enthusiasm. But when COVID came, the club adopted safety protocols, which meant Ted had less time to be on his boat. Fortunately, as COVID improved, Ted made a decision that paid dividends: The 76-year-old volunteered as director of the club’s junior sailing program.
“We teach kids the skills of a lifetime,” he says. “Sailing requires a different focus—being more alert to the wind, the boat’s position or, as crew, responding to the helmsman’s commands efficiently. It also keeps me physically nimble and requires that ‘relaxed focus’ athletes talk about. A day racing, or just recreationally sailing, makes you appreciate being back on the water.”
Henry K., age 74 of La Mirada, felt COVID constraints, too. “When it came, we had our grandchildren move in with us. My wife and I were cooking much more at home because we had to,” he says. “We made new Korean dishes we learned on YouTube. Everyone helped. That brought us closer and was a positive.”
However, when golf courses closed, Henry began missing golf and friends. “But now I’m back playing. I no longer miss my friends; I really miss my swing,” he says laughing. Now that they’re all vaccinated, Henry joins three fellow SCAN members for monthly golf and a 19th hole recap. “We talk about shots made or missed—mostly missed. That’s the fun part. He’s glad to be back on the course and looks forward to improving his game.
Patti D., age 70, is a five-year SCAN member. She moved to California from Ohio 40 years ago to enjoy the sunshine. In 1984, she launched “WallyWorld ’84,” a gathering of family and friends that has taken on a life of its own.
Today, newborns to 92-year-olds gather in Mission Bay at 83 RV spots reserved for the event. “There are activities for kids and a chili cook-off. And, of course, there’s the beautiful beach,” says Patti.
So, how did COVID impact this event? “In 2020, we had 20 families that understandably withdrew, but another 22 took their place,” she says. “We limited group activities. No hugs—just air hugs. We respected each other’s safety and socially distanced. We wore masks. We were in the open air and observed all safety steps.” As a result, Patti reports there were no cases of COVID-19. This year’s event took place in early October and was sold out.
So what effect has COVID had on these members’ recreation? All appreciate the lessons learned. They got their vaccinations and continue to observe social distancing and wear masks as necessary. Most importantly, they embraced change, which helped them adjust when needed. Today, they’re grateful to have time back for fun, family and friends, old and new.
FUN fact: Henry and his golfing buddies are all SCAN Peer Advocates who regularly talk with our members. Top middle photo: Henry with Jerry P. and Ben Singer, who also wrote this article.
Watch videos of Ted, Henry and Patti at scanhealthplan.com/welcome-back.