Meet the Tea Tree Plaza Mall Walkers
Connie Barnes brought the idea of mall walking to South Australia in 2001. Westfield Tea Tree Plaza was the first official Mall Walkers club in SA. ‘Mall Walking’ is just that, walking through the shopping mall. The program was welcomed by the community as an excellent opportunity for people wanting to engage in some sort of physical activity but haven’t been able to due to certain barriers. Physical activity is a crucial component for healthy living and improving one’s quality of life. Not to mention the benefits of staying mentally stimulated and social.
The Tea Tree Plaza Mall Walkers currently have over 180 members lead by club President, John Jarrad. The club meets every Tuesday and Friday morning at 7:30am for some warm-up exercises and a lap of the upstairs and downstairs, roughly 1.9km through the centre. After the exercises and walk, comes some of Westfield Tea Tree Plaza’s best coffee and a chat.
President John Jarrad 2020
John retired from a Public Service role in 2013 and joined the Mall Walkers. 6 months later John was asked back to work part-time on a new policy that should’ve only taken 6 short weeks but turned into 3 years. John was very happy to officially retire in 2016. John’s favourite things about being part of the Tea Tree Plaza Mall Walkers are: the discipline and routine it gives him and getting to meet so many likeminded people. John says, “I love how everyone gets along and is willing to help out a friend at the drop of a hat. If someone has a problem, we are all there to help in any way we can.”
If you ask Vice President Jillian Buckerfield what made her want to join the Mall Walkers when it was founded 19 years ago she will tell you, “When I first joined I was here for the exercise but now I come for the social aspect and the delicious coffee.” Jillian is undoubtably the social butterfly of the group and better known by her nickname Buttermilk.
Today's Mall Walking Group 2020
Walk Leader, Jeanette had led the Group since the beginning and earlier this year decided to retire from the position to take life a bit easier. Bronwyn Spartalis, who has been with the Group as a trained instructor for many years has assumed the role of Walk Leader. After John took over as President, Renata Jarrad started helping Jeanette prepare and hand out member birthday cards in 2014 and continues that role today knowing all too well how much each walker looks forward to their annual birthday card.
Forget preconceptions you may have, mall walking is open to everyone, all ages and all capabilities. The youngest non-official Mall Walker was 2 years old getting pushed around the centre in a pusher. Currently the youngest official Mall Walker is Ruth Zimmerman, 61 and the eldest member is Miranda Sella-Gianot, 90.
John and the committee are very much looking forward to celebrating their 20th anniversary milestone. However a highlight for our walkers was in 2014 being nominated up for a COTA award. This award celebrates positive aging and active wellbeing of elderly citizens. While our Mall Walkers were runners up it is a huge accomplishment to be nominated.
The Tea Tree Plaza Mall Walkers are a very social group with many events in their social calander throughout the year.
2002 Christmas Parade
Anual Australia Day BBQ
How much does it cost to join the Mall Walkers? - $5 joining fee and $2 per walk. The price has never gone up since the program was founded in 2001.
Are you loving the sound of being a part of this group? Wanting to join or maybe you’d like to speak to one of the members and get some more information. Contact the Tea Tree Plaza Mall Walkers HERE.