The sport of curling has gained a reputation for being a game of strategy, precision, and camaraderie. One of the great aspects of curling is the fact that it is inclusive and a fantastic way to make social connections. During Covid-19, many kids were unable to participate in sports, therefore causing a seeming decline in youth being active. With the goal of getting children back to participating in active sports, Brant Curling Club teamed up with Egg Farmers Rocks & Rings presented by Curling Canada.
This past season, Brant Curling Club sponsored 14 schools to bring Rocks & Rings programming to their schools through a Resilient Communities Funding grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in partnership with the Government of Ontario. In total, 2823 students were reached over 18 days.
During the in-gym Rocks & Rings program sessions, students learned all about curling – from throwing rocks to scoring, and most importantly, having fun while playing!
After learning all about curling in the school gym, the students had the opportunity to take their knowledge to the ice at Brant Curling Club.
“In our first on-ice session we had no idea what to expect. We scheduled one ice session and had to add a second one because of demand. We could accept 40 students per session. At the conclusion of booking this ice time, we still had a waitlist of interested students. It was so rewarding to see the children so excited about trying curling, even some of the parents came out to try it along with their children.” expressed Debbie Brown, one of the directors of Brant Curling Club.
Each on-ice session was 1 hour in length and had a dozen volunteer coaches, some of them from Brant Curling Club’s own junior curling program. Debbie said “It was great to see them interacting with the young curlers. There is a lot to be said for kids supporting kids.”
Rocks & Rings provided an on-ice outline for Brant Curling Club to follow in order to easily segue the students from the gym floor to the ice. The curling club provided brooms and sliders and the children were asked to bring clean running shoes and wear helmets.
“We had a very diverse group of cultures attend. Many of the parents were excited as they had never heard anything about this sport. They said that they wanted another option for their children as they were very hesitant to have them participating in hockey.” stated Debbie.
The first on-ice session was held in November 2022 and the second was held in February 2023. In total, approximately 100 kids attended the sessions and out of the hundred, an astounding 25 signed up to take part in the junior program. The overwhelming response led Brant Curling Club to add an additional hour and extra volunteers to their junior program to accommodate the added members.
The funding received by Brant Curling Club was set for a 24-month period. They are excited to build on the success of this year for the upcoming season with some schools having already been booked for the fall.
Bringing inclusive sports like curling to kids is important to not only promote an active lifestyle from a young age, but also teach them important skills such as teamwork and communication.
Rocks & Rings programming has been specifically designed to introduce kids of all abilities to a sport they can play throughout their lives on their own, or with family and friends, but also relate it to school subjects such as Math and Science. Working with curling clubs to offer kids the chance to try curling in its traditional form is essential to keeping the sport of curling growing and ensuring the youth of today stay active.
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