By Ken MacDonald. In the aftermath of an event such as the Grand Slam of Curling, facilities like the Abbotsford Curling Club often take a look at what has happened in the past and what they hope to see happening in the future.
At this time we are in a unique position as the Board of Directors of the Abbotsford Curling Club is working on a 5 year plan for the Club. This exhaustive report will take into consideration the future of the sport of Curling in the city of Abbotsford. From Junior Development to Adult Leagues and Special Olympics to school groups and everyone else that is interested in short or long term Curling, we have a plan developing to support them at our center.
After the recent Grand Slam was completed, we heard from people that thought that the low numbers of spectators in the stands was an embarrassment for Abbotsford. While it can be agreed that the numbers were certainly disappointing, I am not able to agree that there was anything in the event that was embarrassing for Abbotsford. From the excellent Volunteer corps of well over 100 people to the work of the folks at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Center, we saw an event that ran as close to flawless as it could get. While there were certainly some hiccups along the way with newly trained volunteers in critical jobs, there was nothing that affected the outcome of the event. For that I am truly thankful to all of the volunteers at the event for putting out so much time to help showcase Abbotsford in the international spotlight.
Back at the Abbotsford Curling Club, we had some small issues during that week in regards to our ice plant that were quickly and efficiently dealt with by our Ice Technician BJ Gagnon and his very capable staff. We have also reviewed our programming to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the athletes that come to Curl. Our Junior Program has been revamped this year and the level of our Coaching Staff has risen over the last few years so that each of our athletes is getting better support and information than in recent years. Our goal is to bring the program back up to the participation and quality standards that were present back in the 2002 season when our program was equal to any in the Lower Mainland. To achieve that end, we have reinstituted the Abbotsford Junior Cashspiel as a major competitive stop for Junior teams in BC. The winners and runners up in the event this year were also invited to participate in the first ever Junior Grand Slam. This years’ girl’s winner is also the reigning Canadian Junior Girls Champions.
Our lead Coach in the Junior Program is fully Level 3 certified and is a past CurlBC Coach of the year as well as a Learning Facilitator for the National Coaching Certification Program and a High Performance Coach with CurlBC. There is no doubt that our program is taking great strides forward this year. As a result, we will likely have 2 new teams entering playdowns for the very first time during this season. Another result is that we have a Junior League on Monday nights as well as technical training on Wednesday afternoons. This increase in value to our athletes is unparalleled anywhere in BC.
One of our greatest challenges at this point is to get out information in regards to our facility. As a non-profit, we do not have an excess of money for anything. Currently we struggle with the ability to put together a website that will be our window to the world. For that reason we are always trying to find a person that will help us in this area but have not been successful as of yet. It is our hope that we will find a volunteer to help us out as we have a new website address abbotsfordcurling.com but no real web presence as of yet. If you are reading this and would like to help us out, please send us an e-mail – email@example.com
Another item that we appreciate help with is letting people know that we have a one-time drop in program during our Novice League/Learn to Curl program on Wednesday evenings. Anyone that would like to try the game at no cost can come out on Wednesday evenings with the first visit free. There is a fee for anyone that decides to join the League. This is an excellent first league of Curling as you get both instruction and game time within the same League. Our excellent group of Coaches are ready to accept anyone that would like to try the game. For anyone who would like to take advantage of this offer, please contact the office by e-mail or phone 604 859-9244 in order to set up your visit.
Ken MacDonald is the General Manager of the Abbotsford Curling Club