Our goal was to provide an opportunity for disadvantaged children to learn to skate for free. The program was very successful! All of the participants exhibited incredible growth in their skating skills and confidence on the ice.
We had 6 participants this session, and all of the children were very excited about the program and the opportunity to try skating. Most of them had never been on ice before, and although they were nervous at first, they improved over the weeks and became more confident and independent on the ice.
Most of these families did not have the resources or financial support to provide their kids with skating lessons. Because we received sponsorship to cover the cost of skating equipment and ice, each family was really grateful for this free program. Parents were amazed at how much their kids learned, and the participants were eager to come to each session.
I found it difficult to find ice and book a venue. In the planning stage I had to call all the ice rinks in Calgary, only to be left with one that had availability. Due to COVID and the new social distancing restrictions, it was a challenge to find appropriate ice times and ensure that all participants followed the regulations. I persisted in checking the ice times and directly calling the rink to secure ice time. The skating rink also did not allow spectators, so we had to adjust and have parents watch the sessions online. We made sure to communicate effectively with parents so they felt reassured that their children were safe.
We successfully equipped all participants with skates, helmets and gloves from our partner, Professional Skate. By the end of the sessions, all of the participants were able to move on skates by themselves, including skating forward, backwards, turning, stopping and jumping on the spot. It was so rewarding to see how each child improved! They are eager to continue skating, and I aim to run another session in the Fall to offer previous participants to return and build on their skills while expanding our reach to new participants.
I would have recruited more participants. I think I could have taken on more participants and it would have been fun to do group activities with more people to allow the children to benefit more socially. I learned how to manage the administrative aspects of the program, including coordinating the budget, communicating with sponsors and families, and securing ice. I also became more comfortable working with children and taking leadership on the ice to help them develop skating skills.
I would advise others to take advantage of resources and connections they have. It can be very helpful to have support or alternate opinions as you go through your project, and you can learn from others.
Lauren Wong, Passion to Purpose Participant