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A 93-year-old, 13-year participant will carry a torch at the opening ceremony of the 18th annual York County Senior Games.

The York County Area Agency on Aging as well as the Senior Games and Planning Committee organized the extravaganza, planned for June 17 to 21 at Central York High School.

Jenny Nace, the agency spokeswoman, said the goal of the event is to help older individuals engage with the community in a way that encourages healthy lifestyles. 

“There's a certain stereotype about getting older, but the Senior Games is a way to see people who have kept active and remained positive about life," she said. "It's encouraging for all of us."

John Barton, 93, said he has participated in the Senior Games since 2007, and his favorite games are bocce and shuffleboard.

"I try to get a little practice in the week before," he said. 

Game participants must be at least 50 years old and reside in York County, Nace said. 

There will be 48 games, with some of the most popular being bowling, bocce, cornhole, horseshoes, mini-golf and shuffleboard as well as a new addition, pickleball, according to Nace.

She said the number of games people participate in "varies," but it's normally about 10 per person. 

Each game is separated into different groups to compete against depending on gender and age, according to Nace. 

Gold, silver and bronze medals will be given to the winners of each game within each group, she said. 

Barton said he normally participates in about 15 activities every Senior Games, and this year he's doing 13. 

When asked if he's competitive, Barton referenced the fact that each age group competes with each other. 

“I always say the older you get, the less competitive it is," he said. 

The event is likely to have as many as 600 participants, more than it has ever had before, but organizers are still looking for volunteers to help run it, according to Nace.

"The success depends on them," she said. 

Volunteers for the Senior Games can register by calling 717-771-9001 or emailing aging@yorkcountypa.gov.

Barton said he enjoys the Senior Games because it not only keeps him playing but pushes him to be around others who enjoy the activities. 

“I think it’s great to get more people out and keep them active," he said. "As long as you're active, you feel good."

Barton is going to be the torchbearer at this year's opening ceremony, which, like the closing ceremony, will be free and open to the public, according to Nace. 

The opening ceremony is 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, and will feature a parade of athletes, veterans color guard and official torch-lighting.

The closing ceremony is 4 p.m. Friday, June 21, and will include a recognition of the medal winners and a celebration with ice cream and music.

Nace said what has changed over the years is the level of excitement. 

"More and more people are reaching out because they appreciate what we're doing and want to get involved," Nace said. "It's a wonderful thing."

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