Signing children up for activities like sports, lessons, classes, camps and after-school programs can be stressful, especially when it’s your first time. So, MiniBury is connecting you to the experts; parents, teachers and coaches who’ve been in the trenches before and want to tell you what it’s really like!
We hope you love this second interview as much as you loved the PreK Soccer interview! We are SUPER fired up after chatting with Maria Graham, parent and volunteer coordinator for the Middlebury Figure Skating Club, because this club sounds so much fun and a great option for kids how enjoy non-competitive activities! You can find out what you need to know interviews on our new “what you need to know” page!
Read on to learn 10 things you need to know about Figure Skating:
- Ok, we know nothing about figure skating, can you give us the basics first? The Middlebury College Figure Skating Club is a non-competitive figure skating program open to children of all ages and abilities in the local community. It runs from October through February. Practices are at Middlebury College’s Kenyon Arena. They culminate in all groups participating in Middlebury College’s Winter Carnival Ice Show. The program starts this Sunday, October 16.
- Wait, do you really mean all ages and abilities? Well, no. Kids must be five (5) by December 31st, 2016; and this isn’t a first time on ice, learn to skate program. Kids should be able to stand and walk independently on ice without a crate before joining this club. But they by no means need to be experienced skaters either! We group by ability levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced, regardless of age.
- What do the groups do? The first thing everyone learns is how to fall safely, because in figure skating you’re not wearing protective equipment, so every group spends a lot of time on this skill. As the season progresses, practices move from learning to skate, toward learning skills and collaborative routines toward the final ice show. All skaters participate in the Ice Show during Middlebury College’s Winter Carnival.
- Right, no equipment! So what should skaters wear? All skaters need skates – hockey skates are fine, but you can bet your kid will want to upgrade to figure skates if they enjoy the program, so if you’re purchasing skate, we recommend figure skates. Helmets are not required, but kids can and should wear them if you/they want to. Stretchy pants/leggings/sweatpants on the bottom and a light weight coat. Mittens or gloves are a must as their hands will be on the ice to get them back up from a fall.
- Where can we buy skates? Forth and Goal sell a beginner figure skate; but we recommend getting used skates Play it Again Sports in South Burlington. Used skates are absolutely fine just make sure you get the correct size and fit.
- Are there any other costs that will come up during the season that we should plan for? There are no substantial costs that come up. There is no travel involved. Families will need to buy a costume for show; but we keep these costs extremely reasonable – $50 or less. What’s great about this program is that the complexity of being a parent/participate grows only as your kid advances in skills. So you can assume that in their first two years or so your investment will be minimal!
- You said no travel, but when are practices? Everyone skates on Sundays; beginners and intermediate skaters general practice early in the morning and advanced skaters in the afternoon. Intermediate and advanced skaters have one or two extra practices per week before school (around 7:00am). Beginners only practice for 45 minutes on Sundays.
- Can I drop my child off or do parents generally stay and watch? There needs to be an adult on site while skaters get on and off the ice, as children are not permitted to be unsupervised off the ice. Since it’s only a 45 minute lesson, usually parents stick around Kenyon. The rink is warm, so it’s easy to get a bit of work completed, chat with friends or get a short workout in!
- How many children are in the program? We’re growing! There will be two coaches for beginner groups as we usually have 20 kids signed up; the intermediate and advanced groups will be smaller, generally only 10-12 skaters at each level with one coach.
- Is there a volunteer component for families? If so, how often and what? Families should expect the week leading up to the ice show to be busy. The ice show is similar to rehearsing for a theater production. We schedule three rehearsals during that week plus the show on Saturday and Sunday. Expect two night rehearsals and an extra practice. While this sounds like a lot, it’s actually our favorite part of the program! We see our kids skating side by side with College Skater during rehearsals and watch as they develop respect for one another. The College skaters are amazing role models and by working together our skaters learn by example. It’s a beautiful.
Are you convinced this is right for your family? Here’s the nitty-gritty you need to know to move on and sign up:
2016 Important Dates:
- October 16: First sessions
- February 18: First IceShow
- February 19: Second IceShow
Registration now open through the College’s box office. https://sa1.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/EventSearch?presenter=MIDDLEBURY
Please also visit the Club’s website to find the required registration and waiver forms as well as a schedule for the lessons. http://sites.middlebury.edu/figureskating/
First session is on October 16 and attendance is mandatory.
- Beginners: $150 (1 lesson/week for 16 weeks)
- Intermediate: $190 (2 lessons/week for 16 weeks)
- Advanced: $230 (2 lessons/week for 16 weeks)
- Intermediate and Advanced Skaters will have the opportunity to join the Theater Group in January (at no extra cost) and Advanced Skaters will be supported in their solo numbers (if they wish to perform solos).
What activities do you want to know more about? Leave us a comment so we can reach out to the right experts!
Think Maria sounds familiar? She’s also the executive director of Junebug Mother and Child in Middlebury, our favorite spot to source gently used children’s clothing and shoes.