RSVP Program Manager Marc Miller states, “…I am excited to facilitate volunteerism by seniors in support of the Frederick (MD) area non-profit community. AmeriCorps, a domestic “Peace Corps,” gives the fifty-five plus generation the opportunity to contribute in interesting and rewarding ways.”

With the goal of having fun, Frederick County’s AmeriCorps Seniors is hosting a free bocce ball tournament on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022. The tournament will be held at the new bocce courts in Baker Park, near the intersection of Flemming and College Avenues, from 5:00PM until 7:00PM, or upon conclusion.

The event is open to anyone fifty-five years of age and over. The Tournament will feature teams of two, but space is limited so advance registration is recommended.

Bocce ball is the third most played sport in the world, after soccer and golf. Famous players included Roman Emperor Augustus, Galileo and George Washington. No one knows exactly how old bocce ball is, but it has been played in its current form since at least 264 BC and there is evidence of similar games played in Turkey back to 9000 BC.

The Tournament is being organized by Frederick County’s AmeriCorps Seniors, with assistance from the Frederick County Senior Recreation Council and Frederick Bocce. AmeriCorps Seniors currently provides two programs in Frederick County, the Senior Companion Program (SCP) and Retired Seniors and Volunteers Program (RSVP).

The Senior Companion Program provides low-income volunteers, age 55+, with a modest, tax-free stipend to provide care and companionship to another senior in need of assistance. “Some of our volunteers have been providing care to a loved one for some time, so the chance to earn a stipend for their care is welcome,” explains Mr. Norris. “Other volunteers are retired and looking for a rewarding experience helping others.”

Explains Mr. Norris, “Companionship can be as simple as taking a walk together or playing cards. Even during normal times, seniors can be susceptible to loneliness. During the pandemic this was rampant. Loneliness can lead to depression and mental illness. One of the goals of the SCP program is to provide these seniors with greater peer support.”

Another goal of the SCP grant is meant to improve aging in place. To assist with this, light care, such as cleaning the kitchen, mowing the lawn or assistance grocery shopping is also provided.

The second AmeriCorps Seniors program in Frederick County is the Retired Service and Volunteer Program. The RSVP program has no income requirements or stipends but offers a variety of assistance programs such as Feed the Fridge, Across All Ages and the Transformative Arts Project.

RSVP Program Manager Marc Miller states, “As a new member of the 55+ demographic, I am excited to facilitate volunteerism by seniors in support of the Frederick (MD) area non-profit community. AmeriCorps, a domestic “Peace Corps,” gives the fifty-five plus generation the opportunity to contribute in interesting and rewarding ways.”

“We would like to thank Bocce Frederick and the Frederick County Senior Recreation Council for their support. We’re just a group of senior volunteers having fun. If someone is an avid bocce player, they probably want to contact one of these groups,” says Mr. Norris.

Bocce ball is played much like horseshoes, except balls are used. A player rolls out a small target ball called a pallino or jack. Players then take turns rolling balls to stop as close to the pallino as possible. The closest balls score points.

Bocce balls will be provided, or you can bring your own. Medals and prizes will be presented to the top finishers, and there will be beverages on hand for participants, says Norris. “We want to thank Magoo’s Pub and Eatery for their generous donation.”

The Seniors Bocce Tournament will award medals and prizes for the top finishers and dinner at Magoo’s for the winners. For those who are hungry during the event, Crazy Dave’s Pizza Food Truck will be onsite. Sodas and water will be provided free for participants.

AmeriCorps Seniors is administered locally by the Asian American Center of Frederick (AACF). AACF offers a number of different assistance programs for all races, religions and age groups, including translation services, veteran support, health and wellness and literacy. AACF also organizes a number of other local events such as the Cultural Series along the Carroll Creek and the free Health Expo, October 15th, 2022, at Frederick High School on West Patrick Street in Frederick, Maryland.

To sign your team up for the AmeriCorps Seniors’ Bocce Tournament, contact Frank Sainfort at 301-694-3355, extension 1040, or by email at [email protected]