Curling program for South River Public School students well received

It started a little later than intended, but a program by the members of the South River Curling Club to teach middle school students curling is being well received.

Jim McCauley, the vice-president of the curling club, says last November the club talked to principal Leslie Hansen of South River Public School about introducing the Grades 5 to 8 students to curling.

“Leslie is a North Bay curler and she was up for the program right away,” McCauley said.

It took a little longer than expected to get the program running but all through January the students have been at the curling rink on Fridays during school hours being instructed about the game by the club volunteers.

McCauley says there has been a lot of enthusiasm from the students who want to learn the sport “and you can see when the kids walk through the curling rink doors they're up for it”.

Club members volunteer two to three hours each a week instructing the students.

It's not the first time club members have introduced the South River Public School students to curling. McCauley says a similar program existed years ago but then stopped before the present members decided to bring it back. McCauley says because this has been an organizational year, the instruction was late getting underway.

However with all the elements now in place, he expects next season the student program can begin as early as November when the curling season normally begins.

Even though the students have only been on the ice each Friday for a few weeks, McCauley has noticed they have become more confident with throwing the stones and walking on the ice.

The curling instruction is not part of the school's phys-ed program but McCauley is hoping it can be in the future.

McCauley hopes that after experiencing the initial program, some of the students decide to enroll in an after school curling program on Fridays called Little Rocks.

Club member Morley Lymburner provides the Little Rocks instruction which is geared toward Grades 5 to 12 students.

Lymburner is a registered instructor through the Canadian Curling Association and spends a lot of time teaching the young curlers about delivering the stones, weight and accuracy. McCauley says normally there is a fee for this advanced instruction.

But because the season ends in mid-March the club is providing the Little Rocks instruction at no cost for the remainder of the season.

McCauley says Little Rocks can only accommodate 16 students.

He says some students have signed up and remaining registrations will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

To register send an email to and ensure you have parental consent.

McCauley says the decision to aim for 16 players was made because it allows for the creation of four teams.

However he adds should a large number of students register for Little Rocks, the club will find an additional day to hold the after school program to accommodate the overflow. McCauley can't stress enough the importance of introducing curling to a younger crowd.

“That's the future of the club and we recognized that we were missing this group,” he said.

McCauley also says it's an inexpensive sport.

As the informal program continues in addition to the Little Rocks after school program, McCauley says he'd like to see curling take shape at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School.

“It would be nice if we could have three or four teams created at the school,” he said.

McCauley said seeing this happen is certainly a step in the right direction to seeing more young people take part in the sport which he adds can't hurt club membership in the future.

, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget