Communities across Canada are encouraging young and old to say hello and get to know each other better by recognizing June 1 as Intergenerational Day Canada.
In Summerland, the mayor and council have given a letter of support for the day, while Penticton has issued a proclamation.
At Summerland Seniors Village, residents and Grade 8 students from Summerland Middle School have ongoing monthly visits and will hold a year-end barbecue on June 12.
Retirement Concepts, owners of the Summerland Seniors Village, have taken on Sharon MacKenzie as Intergenerational Consultant to assist in developing a plan for intergenerational relations in all of their facilities, starting with Summerland, Kamloops and Williams Lake.
For MacKenzie, Intergenerational Day Canada started four years go when the B.C. teacher was working on World Elder Abuse Awareness projects with teens.
“The kids realized that the best way to stop ageism and mistreatment of people of any age, was to prevent it,” she said. “Perhaps a special national day that encouraged building relationships between younger and older people was the key.”
June 1 was chosen because of its close proximity to UN World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15.
It was billed as a reminder that there is a solution for mistreatment of all ages.
As a result of the hard work of MacKenzie, executive director of B.C.-based i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada (www.intergenerational.ca) and a small group of volunteers, this fourth annual IG Day Canada includes a record number of Canadian cities.
“We reached out to cities across Canada and everyone embraced the idea.” MacKenzie said. “Thenumber of Canadian cities acknowledging this focus day has grown from seven to 87 in just one year with representation from every province and two territories. Four provincial governments have proclaimed the day as well.”
Intergenerational Day Canada provides an opportunity to raise awareness in classrooms and in daily life of the many benefits that simple and respectful connections between generations bring to education, health and community safety.