The pandemic impacted sports as many curling clubs noticed a drop in numbers.
Volunteers with the Souris Curling Club are working to reverse that trend. They are offering weekly lessons for both youth and adults.
Karen Dunbar is a volunteer who is helping coordinate the program in Souris. “We actually started the lessons before Christmas, and we started on Saturday morning between 9am and 10am for kids 8 to 10 years old and we ended up with 16 with four kids on each sheet. We also ended up with three extra instructors and it was so popular that some of the parents asked if they could take lessons.”
“Now we’re running things much the same with youth lessons between 9am and 10am with the same age groups and a lot of those kids are returning. We plan to offer adult lessons between 10am and 11am if they want to learn how to curl.”
Dunbar says like many clubs in the region they’re struggling but they've managed to maintain their membership over the past five years.
“Our numbers aren’t going up but it’s encouraging to see the younger people curling in our club and we thought now is a good time to get those younger curlers. We’ve lost our high school curlers so we’re basically starting at the bottom age group and working up,” said Karen Dunbar.
Volunteers are working to give the youth and adults the fundamentals of curling and then they hope those people will be hooked and want to take up the sport full time.
“We’ve done it before, and you get them engaged in curling and then there’s a spell where there are things like high school sports like basketball and volleyball. But you’d be surprised when we have our big bonspiel in the spring, you’d be surprised how many kids come back that learned to curl in our school. They’ve gone away from the game, moved to another community and started curling again and they’re so glad they know how to curl.”
Youth and adult lessons at the Souris Curling Club resume January 28th and continue every Saturday until February 18th.