Measuring success one smile at a time 0
A first-time curler tries his hand at throwing a rock during the Youth Curling Program offered by the Haliburton Curling Club on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The program, which has its highest enrollment with 35 curlers, is for elementary school aged children every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Judging by the laughter and the smiles, it’s easy to see why the youth curling program offered by the Haliburton Curling Club is such a success.
With 35 registered elementary school aged participants, the program is experiencing its greatest popularity yet. In each of the last three years, there have been about 25 participants.
Long-time member Bob MacNaull said it’s a game that fosters focus and encourages teamwork.
Success is owed to greater exposure, whether by the youth telling friends, stories in the Echo, or through J.D. Hodgson Elementary School, as well as public and club contributions for transportation from the school immediately following classes.
“It gives parents a safety factor they need to let their kids come out after school and not have to walk up from school to the club,” he said, adding this also applies in the winter.
The First Student bus line, he said, provides a “reasonable rate” to the club.
MacNaull said the youth don’t necessarily return to become club members, but hundreds are introduced to curling, which makes the sport stronger. They’re all over the country curling, he said.
He points to former youth members such as Jake Walker, who is a 2010 junior world champion, who demonstrate the potential each young curler has.
The club offers the weekly instruction/play every week on Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and provides brooms, grippers and sliders. They divide the group into two. The new curlers get two sheets and the returning participants get the other two sheets.
MacNaull said a survey has been issued to establish another night in the week, possibly for older curlers in the bantam age (Grade 9/10). For the last three years the club has sent two competitive teams to the elementary school provincials and there is interest in having bonspiels.
Hugh Nichols, a volunteer coach, welcomed the opportunity to share his love of the sport. He is stepping away from his many board commitments to focus most of his time on curling.
Unlike sports such as football when you play in school curling can be played while young and for an entire lifetime, he said.