Eganville – A free “Senior and Parent and Tot Skate” is coming to the Eganville Arena on Monday afternoons to offer a less busy time for skating at the rink.
“I think it is a fantastic idea,” Bonnechere Valley Mayor Jennifer Murphy said at a committee meeting of council last Tuesday. “Perhaps some of these seniors don’t want to be on the ice when there are teenagers on the ice.”
The skating sessions were approved following a request from the Eganville and District Seniors Needs. This is part of their Eldertrekking in the Valley program to encourage seniors – and others -- to be more active, participate in a new recreational experience and make new friends.
“This program will allow us to offer free, active adventure programming to all ages in the Eganville and surrounding area,” Executive Director Kayla Menkhorst wrote in a letter to council.
Through a grant from the provincial government, the Eganville Skating Club will be instructing two “Try It” sessions for seniors and adults who either do not know how to skate or want to get back out on the ice again and are not yet confident in their abilities, she noted. These sessions are booked for Fridays Dec. 9th and Feb. 3rd at the Eganville Arena. Having the Monday afternoon skating specifically for seniors and parents and tots is a follow up to this.
“It is important for us to be able to offer additional opportunities for those seniors and adults who are participating in the Try It program to go skating in a safe and quiet(er) atmosphere,” she wrote.
She asked council to support this initiative by providing an “in kind” support with a Senior and Parent and Tot skate on Mondays from 1 to 2:20 p.m. beginning on Dec. 5th, excluding statutory and school holidays.
“This will allow seniors who may not be comfortable with skating at a public skate time to gain confidence and ability in skating and to get them more active and out in the community,” she noted. “Because of the daytime slot, including Parent and Tots would give opportunity for multiple generations to skate together without the busy atmosphere of a public skate.”
Council was quick to approve the request, with CAO Annette Gilchrist suggesting maybe they could get sponsors for it, like they do for public skating.
“Would council be okay with promoting that like public skating?” she asked.
Normally the public skating slots are full with sponsorship for free public skating, but this year this has not been the case, she noted.
“We are not having the best luck with business promoting public skating,” she said.
Following the approval from council, Mrs. Gilchrist said staff will look for sponsors for both the public skating and the “senior and parent and tot skate.”
Councillor Brent Patrick said this was a good recreational activity to support.
“It makes sense,” he said. “It is a benefit for both organizations.”
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader