The Shuswap Skating Club looks forward to hosting the Skate Canada Interclub competition later this year.
A Skate Canada Interclub competition invites figure skaters from many clubs to one’s home arena, along with Skate Canada official judges, and involves a selection process to determine who will compete against each other in club, regional and sectional categories.
The Shuswap Skating Club will host the competition in November 2023 at their home arena in Chase.
Shuswap Skating Club president Tamara De Jager said while the club is very excited to have the chance to host the competition, funds need to be raised to host the 23 attending Skate Canada officials.
Travel, accommodation and a gift to the judges for attending are all paid for by the club, as De Jager said it is a big undertaking for a club as small as theirs.
“They told us to be prepared for anywhere from 300 to 400 skaters, and after a tournament of that size it can be a good profit for the club,” said De Jager, noting a challenge lies in fundraising to host the event in the first place.
De Jager said the club has many plans for fundraising leading up to November, including a teddy bear toss program.
The club is asking for donations of teddy bears and stuffed animals to be purchased at competitions by friends and families of skaters.
Once a skater is finished their routine, purchased teddies are tossed onto the ice for the skater to collect.
“The skater gets to wave and acknowledge people, and go off the ice with an arm full of teddies,” said De Jager.
“Where roses are common in higher levels of figure skating, tossing teddy bears is often done for younger skaters.”
The teddy bears will serve as one form of fundraising for the club, along with raffle tables and local businesses having vendor tables at competitions for a fee.
De Jager worked for eight months to form the club during the pandemic and this is their second season in operation.
She said even though the club is new, it has had great support from the communities involved around the North Shuswap.
“Predominantly in Chase, Sorrento, those areas, they make money in the summer, in tourist season,” said De Jager.
“It’s also mostly hockey focused in these areas. It’s great to have more knowledge and interest in figure skating and it’s something to do, it’s something else that brings people here.”
De Jager said she wants to have the club invite seniors residences and First Nations in the area to the competition, as there will be no entry fee and she wants all parts of the surrounding communities to have the chance to enjoy or learn about the sport, and hopefully further support the club.
She has also recently started volunteering with the Chase Hamper Society out of the Chase Community Hall, and is going to set up a donation bin at the arena.
Whatever money raised the club can spare will also go the hampers, De Jager confirmed, saying the club wants to give back to the supportive community however it can.
De Jager said she and the club members are grateful for the ice time at the Art Holding Memorial Arena.
“Ice time seems to be a big struggle everywhere, competing for ice time, so we’re very lucky here we can get our time slots…,” she said.
“We have young kids as well, not just middle schoolers or high schoolers, some of our skaters are three, four, five years old. We get 3:15 p.m. slots so those kids can make it…”
For the Skate Canada competition, De Jager is asking the community for volunteer hours as well as donations.
The club will need help as the competition days can stretch from morning until late evening.
Further information and volunteer shifts will become available as details are finalized. Interested volunteers can keep updated on the Shuswap Skating club Facebook page and skaters can register to the club on its website.