At the Elkford Rec Centre, 18 kids under the age of 11 gathered with their brooms, sliders and rocks to learn the game of curling.
The group of kids, dubbed the Little Rookies, took to the sport through an eight-week curling clinic led by coach Colleen Trozzo.
“I’ve been a member of the Elkford Curling Club for many years and have seen a gradual decline in the participation of younger curlers in our club,” explained Trozzo. “I’ve had a lot of experience coaching skating and fastball, I love working with kids and I also love to curl … so I felt that this was a good opportunity for the curlers, our club and myself.”
The program ran on Monday nights from January 12 until March 9.
“Curling is a fun, lifelong activity that all ages can participate in … and it gives you the opportunity to compete whether in a local league or if your goal is to go to the Olympics,” said Trozzo.
Rookie Finlay Tobin, 9, said that he decided to join the clinic because he saw the sport on television and thought it looked fun.
“I like playing with my friends and I think the longer I do it, the easier it will be when I grow up,” said Tobin.
For others, like Jaida Clarkson, 11, curling is a family legacy.
“I grew up watching my parents and my grandparents curl so I thought it would be fun to get into,” explained Clarkson, who was particularly adept at throwing the curling rocks down the ice.
Clarkson said that was her favourite part of the sport.
But the kid’s enjoyment of curling isn’t the only benefit Trozzo has received from the program. The relationship that was built between the kids and their older curling counterparts is an added benefit for Trozzo.
“One of the best and most unexpected things that’s developed with this program is the keen group of experienced adult curlers who come out to every session to share their expertise with the youth,” said Trozzo. “Some are parents of a Little Rookie, but most are club curlers who want to help. It’s great to see this mentorship and the relationships that are developing between the adult coaches and the young curlers who see how much these adults enjoy the sport.”