A Juniors Curling Program, Why it Matters.

junior ladies
Team USA 2016, Ladies Juniors, Silver medalists at the World Curling Championships in Switzerland!

When we speak about a curling club having a “Juniors Program”, we are referring to a program specifically designed for both boys and girls 21 and under.  Curling is a non contact sport where girls can compete pretty much on the same level as the guys. A juniors curling program serves the youth of any community in many ways. For example, not only does a juniors program introduce kids to a physical activity and a sport they can play for a long time,  but it provides a venue so that young curlers can play in an organized league. Also, for those kids who want to take it further, a juniors program can polish their curling skills and give them a competitive track to follow. All this while giving them a social and safe outlet for their energies while they learn about teamwork and all the benefits that playing a sport can provide. I don’t want to say “it keeps them off the streets,” but it keeps them off the streets!

dropkinSilver
Team USA 2016, Junior men’s, silver medalists at the World Junior Curling Championship in Switzerland.

The US Curling Association has a great high performance program for those competitive junior curlers who want to play on the national and world stage. This year’s junior men’s and ladies teams won silver medals at the World Juniors in Switzerland.  The future of competitive curling in America is very bright, and it begins with getting kids involved in the sport early on.  We would love to start nurturing that kind of talent here on the west coast! USA! USA!

 

We all want the best for our kids and getting them involved in a sport, any sport, teaches them so many valuable things, while giving them a place to socialize, to bond, to learn about teamwork, to get in shape or keep in shape. We want this for the youth of our community and will be able to provide it if we have a dedicated curling facility that has after school and weekend practice and game times that can suit their schedules. Please help us achieve that goal by donating to our dedicated ice fund. We are a 501C3 charitable organization and will issue a receipt for any donation you make.  Click here for more details or to donate

Competitive Curling: Why does it matter?

My previous entry spoke to the importance of a proper curling facility for recreational curlers, as they would make up the majority of users, benefiting the community as a whole. As typically happens in any sport, its participants may start out as recreational curlers, but as they progress in their skill level, they might just want to go on a more competitive track. Curling became a full olympic and paralympic sport in 2006, with the USA winning a bronze medal at the winter olympics in Italy. They won with a team skipped by Pete Fenson who curls out of Minnesota, which is currently the hotbed of curling talent in the USA. In order to compete successfully at the competitive level, curlers must have easy access to proper curling ice. They need to get the practice time in, on consistent, quality ice, and have other good teams to play against. Curling once a week on arena ice is not going to get them where they need to be skill wise; they need a proper venue in which to practice and compete.

pat mcdonald
Patrick Mcdonald, 3X paralympian, Skip of Team USA, visits OC Curling Club for bonspiel.

So why do we need competitive curling in Orange County? What possible benefit is there to the community to have representation at the state, national, or world levels in this quirky sport? I can think of many reasons, and here are a few of them!

1. There are economic benefits to the community when a club is able to host competitions. A typical tournament has 32 or more teams that play, and a dedicated ice club is able to draw teams from outside the area. That means great news to local hotels, restaurants, bars, taxis. The Orleans Casino in Las Vegas has been hosting sold out, 5000+ fan crowds for the week long World Continental Cup of Curling in 2014 and 2016. The interest is there because folks are willing to travel to a sunny climate in the winter to watch the curling elite play! If we can build a dedicated 5 sheet facility, we can host week long national events that would have a huge economic impact on the area. One day, perhaps we too will be able to host a world event in one of our larger arenas! Money matters and competitive curling can bring money into our community.

2. Competitive sports creates role models for the youth in any community. It’s good for kids to watch their sports heroes promoting healthy lifestyles, having goals, working as a team. Positive role models matter.

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Olympians John Benton, and Phill Drobnick, watch as olympian Pete Fenson delivers his skip’s stone at the OC Curling Club Surf City Spiel in 2014.

3. Competitive curling will have people engaging in their community by having a team they can come and watch and cheer for.  We gathered at a club member’s home for an overnight olympic viewing party `during the 2014 games in Sochi. Is there anything more fun than having a team to cheer for? No, there is not. Competitive curling gives you a team to cheer for. That matters.

Most of the competitive curling in the United States is happening in dedicated curling facilities in the mid west. National TV coverage during the olympics has been credited with the growth of the sport everywhere, including the west coast. The reigning national champions are skipped by Brady Clark’s team out of the Granite Club in Seattle, one of the few dedicated ice facilities on the west coast. Portland, Oregon opened a dedicated ice club in Fall of 2013. The Coyote Club in Tempe, Arizona, brought dedicated ice to the desert in April, 2014. Already they have hosted national curling events and have attracted curling elite from many countries to their fantastic facility. The San Francisco Curling Club and Hollywood Curling Club are also working on creating dedicated ice facilities. If Orange County can succeed in bringing competitive curling to our area, we all win. Help us make this happen. The Orange County Curling Club is a 501 c3 non profit organization and can issue tax deductible receipts for your donation.  Please consider donating today. http://dedicatedice.occurling.com/?give_forms=donate

Recreational Curling? Why Does It Matter?

Let’s talk about curling as a recreational sport, how it would serve the community, and why it matters. My husband and I as empty nesters were looking for something active we could do as a couple. Something that would get us up off the couch, away from the TV, but didn’t require us to go to a fitness boot camp first. (Fitness boot camp? No, I need baby steps!) 

learn to curl derek king
Learn to Curl classes are available most weekends at the OC Curling Club

Stumbling upon a Learn to Curl class at the Orange County Curling Club was the answer! It didn’t require a lot of equipment, (they provided it free!), it didn’t require a lot of athletic ability, and once we really understood the strategy element of the game, we realized that it was intellectually stimulating as well as a great physical workout, to the extent that we wanted it to be. It’s a rare sport that can serve the needs of so much of any community, but we’d found it! Young, old, athletic, couch potatoes, able bodied and disabled alike, this is a fun sport anyone can play.  Not everyone can play it WELL, and that is part of why this versatile, quirky sport is so important to any community. Those who choose to really work at it, to get physically fit and study strategy, can find a pathway to the elite levels of curling, perhaps even to the olympics, as it is now an olympic sport.

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Pete Fenson, Olympic curling bronze medalist for USA (Italy, 2006)

I said all that to say this: to best serve the needs of the recreational curling community, we need a dedicated ice facility. To be able to run Learn To Curl clinics and leagues that are conveniently scheduled to meet the needs of Orange County citizens and the surrounding areas, we need to have our own space. Senior curlers should be able to curl in the morning, if that suits them. An after school program might be just the ticket for junior curlers; a place to be until it’s time for dinner and homework. People who work during the day might prefer an early evening league that would provide a nice outlet for the stress of their day, while getting them up and off the couch. Bringing the fitness level of any community up, getting citizens of all ages up and moving and engaged; having fun being active, that’s important.  In order to provide that for our community through curling, we must have a dedicated ice facility. 

So there ’tis. Recreational curling matters. We realize we aren’t going to change the world with this sport, but it’s a valuable cause nonetheless, and it serves the community in a valuable way.  As a 501C3 charitable organization, you will be issued a tax deductible receipt for your donation. Please consider the Orange County Curling Club Dedicated Ice Campaign when planning your charitable giving for the year.   http://dedicatedice.occurling.com/?give_forms=donate