PEI

Learn-to-skate program a hit with West Prince newcomers, organizers say

A new skating program in western P.E.I. has helped newcomers integrate into the community, and organizers are hoping to do it again next winter.

Rookies could practise without worrying experienced skaters would 'zoom past them'

Newcomers skate at the O'Leary arena during the winter program. (Submitted by Scott Smith)

A new skating program in western P.E.I. has helped newcomers integrate into the community, and organizers are hoping to do it again next winter.

The program involved weekly ice time for newcomers, where they could borrow skates and learn at their own pace. 

It was a partnership between the Western P.E.I. Community Navigator — a Community Business Development Corporation position tasked specifically with helping newcomers feel welcome and included — and the Western Sport and Recreation Council.  

About 10 community volunteers per week assisted with the program. 

Community navigator Scott Smith said the feedback from newcomers was positive.  

Newcomers were able to skate at their own pace as they got used to the feel of the ice surface, using chairs at first to keep their balance. (Submitted by Scott Smith)

"They found this learn-to-skate program quite beneficial," he said. "There's not a whole lot of people that know what they're doing and [are] going to zoom past them and make it chaotic for them.

"They can take their time. They can learn the process of how to do it and then become more comfortable and then they can start to do the activity on their own."

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With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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