Thanks to a partnership between the Ashcroft HUB and the Ashcroft and District Curling Club, several children in the area aged between seven and 11 are learning how to curl.
The Rock Solid Curling Club is overseen by River Winwood, the youth programs coordinator at the HUB. The first session, held in early November at the HUB, introduced the young curlers to the sport via a floor curling set, with curling club members there to show the kids how to curl and explain the rules.
On Nov. 28 several of the young curlers were at the Ashcroft curling rink for their second on-ice session. Under the helpful eyes of veteran curlers, the students were able to learn proper form, how to aim and release the rocks, sweep, and more.
“The floor curling got them used to it,” says Winwood, noting that it was quite a difference for the kids to get on the ice and start using 45-pound rocks. “It took them a while to get used to that.”
It also took them some time to get used to walking on the ice. “As soon as they got on the ice they started saying how slippery it was. They all got a slider and a gripper to go over their shoes, and we had them walk from one end of the ice and then back again so they could get used to it.”
The plan was for the young curlers to be able to have an actual game before long. “They seem to really be enjoying it,” says Winwood. “A couple of the kids have asked if there’s drop-in curling.
“I’m thinking of bringing my teen club program members,” she adds. The teen club operates on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the HUB (it moves to Tuesdays in January). The free program features games, activities, prizes, and outings for youth aged 12 to 18, and Winwood says they are always looking for more members.
There is drop-in curling available at the curling rink, every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., but it’s intended for older curlers. If there is enough interest, a drop-in session for younger curlers might be on offer.
Curling club president Janet Quesnel says that the Wednesday drop-in sessions are for all older curlers, regardless of their level of experience. The cost is $15 per session, and anyone who has never curled but who wants to see if the sport is for them can come down and receive guidance from an experienced curler.
Quesnel adds that Al Kersey of the Optimist Club will be coming to the curling rink to put on clinics, and that she is hoping to get kids from Ashcroft and Cache Creek, and as far afield as Logan Lake and Lillooet, to take part. For more information, call Quesnel at (250) 453-9665.