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Every Age Counts!

You may be surprised to learn that poetry is all around us. Have you sung a song? Listened to a jingle? Read a greeting card? Recited a nursery rhyme? If so, you’ve experienced poetry!

Have you been told you’re either too young or too old to do an activity, share your ideas, be part of a team or lead a group? If so, you’ve experienced ageism, discrimination based solely on your age.

The Seniors’ Council of Douglas County with its partners, Changing the Narrative, the Douglas County School District and Douglas County Libraries, are combining these two experiences in a unique, multigenerational poetry contest. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness about ageism and how it negatively affects everyone in our community.

Learn more about ageism from our video, read some quick tips about how to change your language about aging, and find more details about the contest below the video.

Remember, the contest opens August 1, 2021. You can find examples to get to your creative juices flowing in the Every Age Counts! Poetry Contest Information Packet.

Why an anti-ageist poetry campaign?

We know that ageism is both prevalent and harmful. Many studies show that ageism has negative effects on our health and financial security, and a recent survey showed that 82% of people age 50-80 experience ageism in their everyday lives. We even inflict these ideas on ourselves because we’ve internalized the ageism that surrounds us.

It’s a serious topic, but there are lots of ways we can change people’s minds, including our artistic endeavors. Poetry is one way to express our ideas and tell new stories. When we tell a different story, new ideas can spread and become a the new normal. We invite you to use your creativity to tell a new story that celebrates age and spreads the idea that everyone has something to contribute, no matter their age.

Rules & How to Submit

Submission period: Sunday, August 1 through Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Judging period: Thursday, September 16 through Friday, October 15, 2021
Winner notification: Mid-late October, 2021
Awards Ceremony: Saturday, November 6, 2021, 1 pm – 3 pm
Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO



  • Writers may be of any age
  • Writers must be a Douglas County, Colorado, resident
  • Writers may submit one original unpublished poem
  • Your poem must have a title
  • Entries can be in English or Spanish
  • Please include your name on your work
  • An official Every Age Counts! submission form must accompany your poem
  • Poems may be submitted online or submitted in hard copy to: Every Age Counts! Poetry Contest, c/o ARDC 104 Fourth Street, Castle Rock CO, 80104 (please mail early!) and must be received by the designated deadline noted above
  • Contest judges and their immediate families, Seniors’ Council of Douglas County Executive Committee members, and Changing the Narrative Colorado staff members are not eligible to enter the Every Age Counts! poetry contest


  • Submissions may be any type of poem
  • Submissions can be any length up to 40 lines, including lines between stanzas
  • Submissions must typed and be in 12 point type
  • Online submissions must be in PDF format (no pictures)


  • Our panel of judges includes published poets, anti-ageism leaders, teachers and librarians, some of whom are bi-lingual
  • Judging will occur from September 16, 2021 through October 15, 2021
  • Our judges will evaluate your work with attention to how your poem addresses the anti-ageism theme, creativity, positive messaging and clarity of expression
  • Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place winners in each age group for both English and Spanish entries
  • Honorable Mention may be awarded at the discretion of the judges
  • All contestants will receive an official Certificate of Participation

Notification and Awards Ceremony:

  • Winners will be notified by October 30, 2021 by either email or a phone call
  • Winners and up to 3 other guests of their choice will be invited to an in-person Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 6th starting at 1 pm at the Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Winners will have the opportunity to read their work if they wish at the Awards Ceremony

Community Recognition:

  • Winners’ names will be noted in an article in local newspapers, shared on Changing the Narrative’s blog and might appear in Douglas County Library publications.
  • All winning entries will appear on the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County’s website and Facebook page, Changing the Narrative’’s website and social media.
  • Additionally student winners will be included on the Douglas County School District’s website


Media Inquiries & Resources

Gretchen Lopez, scdc.colorado@gmail.com, 303-663-7681
Every Age Counts! Poetry Contest Press Release
Every Age Counts! Poetry Contest graphic
Every Age Counts! Poetry Contest blog article