Club Spotlight: Genesee FSC Brings Learn to Skate USA Classes to New Rink
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
The first Sunday in December included many pre-holiday activities. The Genesee Figure Skating Club, located in Rochester, New York, was happy to be a part of the area’s holiday festivities with an open house to welcome skaters and families introducing them to Learn to Skate USA classes.
“Our club skates on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, with the Institute running an on-campus Learn to Skate program,” said Genesee Figure Skating Club Second Vice President, Stephanie Dillingham. “Our coaches are asked to teach these groups from time to time. With this not occurring on a consistent basis, we found ourselves looking for another way to provide this service. One of our PSA Master Rated coaches approached us about wanting to start a learn to skate program, so we teamed up with the coach at another local rink to form a learn to skate program of our own.”
The Village Sports Rink in Fairport, New York, hosted a joint open house with the Genesee Figure Skating Club as its sponsor. Learn to skate classes were featured with a full program of classes scheduled to begin there in early January.
“The open house was a huge success,” Dillingham said. “We advertised through social media and we had upwards of 60 people participating."
The Genesee FSC offered a host of activities beginning with a formal greeting from the coaches and a representative from a local skate shop who talked about fitting, lacing and buying skates. Board members, volunteers and junior board members then lead the skaters on ice for some stroking followed by a short demonstration of skating skills by the club’s junior members and coaches.
“By the end everyone was happily stroking around and skating without assistance,” Dillingham said. “We had snacks and drinks for everyone. Participants also received gift bags which contained Learn to Skate USA items and Genesee Figure Skating Club information.”
“We had club members who had begun their skating careers with the Victor Parks and Recreation program as small children come and skate as young adults with their families,” said coach Pamela Warren. Warren will be coaching the Learn to Skate USA program at Village Sports as a family event on Sunday afternoons.
“It’s a fun family time to exercise together,” Warren said.
Dillingham believes every rink should have a learn to skate program, and all figure skating clubs should be involved in these programs in some manner.
“Most skaters, whether they are going to be hockey players, recreational skaters or figure skaters, begin in a learn to skate program,” Dillingham said. “These programs are very important to figure skating clubs. They bring awareness of the sport and clubs to local parents and children. Parents are always looking for exciting activities for their children and want to know how to begin the process. Having advertised and organized learn to skate programs gives parents and children a way to get started in skating.”
Dillingham encourages other rinks to begin learn to skate programs and branch out to other rinks when possible.
“Learn to skate programs run by figure skating clubs gives future skaters the best chance for success,” she said. “By learning from certified and accomplished coaches, the skaters will learn proper techniques and will progress at a faster rate thus creating a greater retention rate and with a chance that these skaters will stick with the sport.”
The Genesee Figure Skating Club also hosted an open house at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Dec. 29.
“The feedback has been wonderful and very positive,” Dillingham said. “Everyone had a great time at the open house and the members of the Genesee FSC are happy we have another way to encourage new skaters and bring them into the club.”
Coach Pam Warren is happy to show the many pairs of skates rented for open house day. Photo courtesy Genesee FSC.
Skaters participating in open house pose for a group photo with coaches and volunteers. Photo courtesy Genesee FSC.
Open house provided the perfect chance for families to get out on the ice. Photo courtesy Genesee FSC.