Curling finds popularity with Creston’s youth

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Creston junior curling program sees rise in popularity.

“Forty-eight kids showed up on the first day last year,” said Cathy Robinson, Junior Coordinator of the Creston Curling Club.  “Every year the program has become more and more popular, but we weren’t expecting numbers that high.  It was great, but it made for a busy night.”

Creston didn’t always have a dedicated junior curling program, but when Doug Hanna joined the Curling Club he made it his priority to get young people involved.  “He told us that we just had to open the doors and the kids would come,” says Robinson.  “So we set a night, and he was right.  They came.”

It was important for the Club to build a base of young people to keep the organization strong.  After bringing in coaching clinics, the curlers were ready to provide the facility and instruction to those interested in trying out the sport.  “We don’t charge anything and we have all the equipment needed,” says Robinson.  “It’s a wonderful alternative to more expensive sports.  Now we’ve got curlers as young as seven… and as old as 92.”

Before the beginning of last season, two grants provided money to purchase new equipment for junior curlers — grippers, sliders, and brooms.  “All they need is clean shoes when they step onto the ice.”

Curling emphasizes teamwork and sportsmanship.  “And it’s such an honest sport,” says Robinson.  “Most of the time, you’re calling fouls on yourself.  There’s no such thing as a top scorer.  You work together as a team, and that’s great.  It really brings kids together to work on skills and technique.  It’s so much fun and we just want to give the opportunity to anyone interested.  I admit I get a real thrill watching the kids learn how to curl.  On the first couple evenings they look like Bambi on ice but they soon get the hand of it.”

The elementary-aged program runs from November to February with coaches Kelly and Dale Moberg.  The high school-aged program focuses on further development of skills and strategy with coaches Terry O’Connor and Ross Gowan.  “At the end of twelve weeks, we have a mini bonspiel for the junior curling program,” says Robinson.  “We step back and let the kids run the games themselves.”

This is the first year the Creston Curling Club is hosting the Podium Preparation Curling Clinic.  Course instructor Dave McGarry will be teaching young curlers wanting to increase their skills and perhaps curl competitively in the future.  “Doug’s vision of having young curlers in Creston is coming true,” says Robinson.  “As more young curlers get involved, we can group them by ability as well as age and soon we may have a junior league here.  We’re always growing and, year-by-year, we setting bigger goals.  My hope now is that more adult curlers will volunteer, maybe take some competition coach clinics, and help young curlers become world-class curlers.  We’re building an amazing, supportive community.”

The Podium Preparation Curling Clinic runs November 19-20, and the Junior Kootenay Playdown runs the following weekend.  Junior curlers meet Tuesday evenings.  High school curlers play from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Elementary aged curlers (grades 3-7) play from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  For more information on, call Cathy Robinson 250-402-6576.