Local children’s fitness groups adjust activities within ‘new normal’

·4 min read

Various fitness and recreation groups are re-formatting their activities in light of eased provincial restrictions Monday.

Several of the groups were also thrown for a loop when the restrictions were tweaked the weekend before they were to go into effect.

Hockey Alberta spokespeople have said they’re looking at a move forward after the Alberta government announced this weekend practices will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people.

Mike Well, Beaverlodge Minor Hockey president, said the local group will continue with practices.

Beaverlodge Minor Hockey has approximately 180 to 200 members, and the club reached out to see which are interested in continuing the season, he said.

Approximately 90 per cent of the membership wants to return to the ice; those who declined with receive a partial refund, Well said.

Beaverlodge Minor Hockey has two U7 teams, three U9, three U11, two U13, two U15 and one U18 team, he said.

The number of coaches vary per team; if a team has three coaches, the group will likely be split with under 10 players to a group with a coach, he said.

That said, Well said it was “a pain” to organize the classes and schedule ice time under the new rules.

Sexsmith Minor Hockey previously stated last week via social media its season was cancelled due to the closure of the Sexsmith Arena. The arena remains closed.

The Beaverlodge Curling Club uses the arena ice plant and curling club manager Barry Sideroff said the mixed qualifier the club would have held in February was already cancelled. The qualifier was for a provincial mixed team bonspiel.

The club also would have hosted the ladies bonspiel in early February, Sideroff said.

He said he’s uncertain if the club will host small practices, adding its members will have a meeting Feb. 22 to make a decision.

Sideroff said that the club has some older curlers, so some members are understanding of the health concerns leading to the restrictions.

Jessica Hamilton, Beaverlodge Skating Club president, told the News the club will make a plan next week as to how it will go forward.

Meanwhile, Melody Sample, Sexsmith wellness co-ordinator, said the Sexsmith Wellness Coalition has no plans for group activities at this time. There might be some new recreational opportunities for children within the next two to three weeks, she said.

The Sexsmith Tumbling Club resumed operations Monday with one-to-one training, said president Susan Hauser.

The club’s season lasts until June with the possibility of summer camps; it typically has 130 members per session, one full-time coach and four part-time coaches, Hauser said.

Hauser said one-to-one sessions have to cover the cost of the coach’s time, and as a result the sessions will be avail- able to the most dedicated members.

Sessions will be $50 at a time, for one student or their siblings, she said.

“I do feel (the restrictions) are fair in light of what’s happening with the pandemic in Alberta,” Hauser said.

The delayed announcement small practices are allowed caught the group off guard, Hauser said.

“We’re pretty disappointed with the late announcement, because we had just cancelled our last session,” she said.

“We’re volunteer-run, so that just takes up volunteer hours.”

The club will likely start up its Salto classes if there’s enough interest, she said.

There are two Salto classes with six to eight kids each. More classes may be added later, she said.

The Beaverlodge Satin Slippers dance club is benefiting from the re-opening of small practices, said club owner Michelle Takala-Grocholski.

Takala-Grocholski said all dance classes since the end of November have been online.

There are 85 kids in the club, ages three to 17, she said.

The club has seven teachers, including herself.

She said this week four instructors have returned to the studio and next week all seven will.

All classes have under 10 people anyway, so the club is unaffected by the restriction, Takala-Grocholski said.

Classes mostly consist of four to seven people and her largest is nine, she said.

The club has reached out to parents regarding the return to classes.

“We’re thrilled and excited and wish they’d given us more time to prepare,” Takala-Grocholski said.

She said it would be impossible for them to meet all 85 kids for one-on-one sessions in a single week.

The club’s main event is a recital in May and she said she’s uncertain if it can go forward.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News