In the fall, the Meaford Curling Club sponsors Rocks and Rings, which comes to local elementary schools to pique their interest in the sport; then, when the season begins they offer opportunities for all to play on the ice in a meaningful way.
The younger group ranges from grade one to Grade 8, and this group enjoys coaching from Jennifer Pearson, Tracy McNally, and Tennile Carbert.
The younger children begin learning with lighter rocks which are half the weight of regular curling stones, known as ‘Little Rocks’. As they become able, they graduate to regular curling rocks. This season, seventeen curlers meet on Mondays for the After-School Curling Program. They are very keen, and two curlers, Cameron Lewis and Sawyer Woodhouse, represented Meaford Curling Club in the Hit, Draw and Tap Contest at the Men’s Provincial Tankard in Brantford in early February. They were scored on three types of shot against young curlers from across the province.
Four curlers have already competed in a Bantam Bonspiel in Collingwood and placed 2nd. Four more events are on their calendars before the season ends, including the Timbits Provincial Elementary School Championships in Gananoque.
The older youth curling consists of ten teenagers (five girls and five boys) from Georgian Bay Secondary School, with Tim Johns as coach. All ten players have represented the high school in league curling games. Both the boys' and girls' teams will be participating in Bluewater District play-offs in February. This is the third successive year that Georgian Bay Secondary has participated in curling but there is a rich history of curling from GBSS. A special thank-you goes to Murray Dougherty, who volunteered to share his years of experience with the players over the last three seasons, to help them develop their games.
“This year has seen some exciting new opportunities for our players as Meaford Curling Club offered new avenues of play. Nine of the ten players have been able to take part in the Skip’s Choice league on Monday nights, thereby playing in games against competitive adult club teams. This has been an invaluable experience for the players, as they have picked up many tips on curling stone delivery and game-calling strategy. Four of the ten players pushed their involvement further by joining the club as junior members, which permitted them to participate in the regular leagues taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights,” said the Curling Club. “For their part, Meaford Curling Club heartily welcomes young curlers to the club, and provides funds to help with the costs of membership, equipment, and bonspiels.”
Curling is one of the least expensive of all sports and well worth consideration by parents.
Little Rocks can purchase six sessions for only $50, and Junior Curlers can have a full club membership for only $80 per season, which entitles them to play in as many games as they wish with the added bonus of being able to play in regular club bonspiels. Coaching comes at no cost. Anyone wishing for more information about kids' curling should call Jennifer Pearson at 519-538-1712, and for junior curling call Tim Johns at 519-538-1427
*Correction: This article originally indicated that the junior program began at Junior Kindergarten, however it actually begins at grade one. We apologize for any confusion.