December and January have gone down as one of the best skating seasons in memory at the Keremeos public rink. Rink manager, Karl Donoghue and the rink staff put their hearts into keeping the ice in good condition. Friends of the Keremeos Rink appreciated the help, in addition to the input from the local businesses and organizations that sponsored so many free public skating sessions this year.
Bonnie Dickinson deserves honourable mention for bringing her extensive experience teaching skating to twenty-one children this year. Volunteers Ashley Welpton and Jenna Sipponen also came out in all weather to help and encourage the kids. Those of us with kids in local hockey wish to thank all the volunteer coaches, especially Tyrell Sladen who spent countless hours for both of the hockey programs for kids. It is great to have teens such as Tyrell, Ashley and Jenna volunteering in our community.
The Friends of the Keremeos Skating Rink raises money to improve accessibility to skating in Keremeos. This past season we were able to:
• pay for 413 free passes to public skating
• subsidize registration for Mites Hockey by $20 per child
• subsidize drop-in for Mites Hockey (4 – 8 year olds) by $2 per participant (x70)
• subsidize drop-in for Sticks and Pucks (9-13 year olds) by $3 per participant (x132)
• pay the ice rental for the skating lessons
• subsidize registration for skating lessons by $19 (younger group) and by $30 (older group)
All of our supporters deserve kudos from the community. Some are individuals who sell raffle tickets and donate refundable beverage containers. Many are local small businesses that get little credit for the support they provide to many community projects. In particular, Valu Plus has been very supportive of our raffle, and Keremeos Building Supplies donated $500 at a time of critical need.
Sport Chek was very generous in their donation of skates and hockey equipment to the rink (over $8,500 value).This greatly improved the rental skate inventory and made hockey much safer and more accessible to kids who don’t have all their own equipment.
A critical part of our funding has come from grants in aid from Regional District Area “G”.
For the past three years, former director Elef Christensen has encouraged volunteerism and has understood the importance of breaking down financial barriers to improve participation in local recreation.
It was great to see all the people that came to the rink this winter. It is much more fun when there is a good turn out. Friends of the Keremeos Skating Rink is looking forward to supporting programs and providing passes for the rink again next winter. Please watch for our raffle this summer. If you would like to join this registered charitable organization or if you have ideas to share, please contact Donna Bartlett at 250-499-5654.