Caroline Lawrence

Caroline Lawrence

Standardized skating earns provincial kudos

Oak Bay-led program creation offers quality ice skating lessons to foster physical literacy in children

A new regional Learn to Skate Program streamlines the process, and allows pre-school or school-age children to transfer accomplishments from centre to centre.

Oak Bay spearheaded the award-winning Active Communities Learn to Skate program. Specifically, Caroline Lawrence, sports programmer at Recreation Oak Bay, led the team that embarked on creating a standardized skating program in 2012.

They wanted to develop a simple recreational program similar to those offered at the adjacent swimming pool.

“We all had our own little skating programs,” Lawrence said.

Standardizing the program would raise the quality of instruction and offer residents across the region the opportunity to take classes at an optimum time, day and venue to suit individual family needs.

“We’re trying to create a quality program for kids to learn how to skate,” Lawrence said. “This benefits everybody.”

After taking some time to craft the program, they introduced it to seven Greater Victoria arenas in fall 2012.

The badge incentive program emphasizes the importance of comprehensive feedback through report cards. The skate team leader is on the ice during all lesson times and can answer questions about lessons and a child’s progress. For teens, the program improves their skating and offers opportunity to learn instructional skills to advance opportunities for later employment as a skating instructor. The skater-to-instructor ratio on ice ensuxres that the skaters will learn and improve their skating skills.

Promoting physical literacy is a common goal among recreational programmers across the region, so they opted to freely share the program online at no cost.  All the information available for any programmer to peruse and utilize is online. The complete package includes everything from stickers and awards to instructor manuals and report cards.

In three years the program has doubled, now offered by 14 rinks from Vancouver Island to High Level, Alta. “We’re having interest now from Dawson Creek, Whistler and Delta.”

“We’re trying to get a larger governing body to take this over. It’s grown to a point where it needs to be adopted, and so it doesn’t die,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll just grow.”

An added benefit of the laid-back recreational program is it feeds other arena user groups such as figure skating or hockey clubs.

The Active Communities Learn to Skate program won an award last month at the 2015 B.C. Parks and Recreation Association Symposium held in Victoria. The program also received a provincial award.


“Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it has to be a shoddy program,” Lawrence said.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Laura Campbell was one of eight people to receive the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)
Victoria woman earns provincial award for work with differently abled adults

Widening our World awards recognize community, inclusivity building

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. (Photo courtesy CRD)
PHOTOS: Check out Greater Victoria’s new wasterwater treatment facilities

Long-awaited project has been up and running since late 2020

Staff Sgt. Darrell Underwood and Ian Gibbs, coordinator of volunteers for the Saanich Police Department, stand in front of the new Saanich Community Safety Office at Uptown Shopping Centre. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police call on volunteers for new community safety team

Community Safety Office to open spring 2021 at Uptown Shopping Centre

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read