by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating
Club Spotlight: Skating Club of Saugerties...A New Club with Plenty to Share
The Skating Club of Saugerties, located at the Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties, New York, nestled at the base of the Catskill Mountains, is one of five new clubs receiving full status in 2016. When it comes to skating and community events, it has plenty to share.
“The Skating Club of Saugerties currently offers three freestyle sessions each week for private lessons and practicing,” said Club Secretary Lynda Westlund. “The club also offers an adult open synchronized skating team, off- ice training, test sessions and an annual competition. We also have had members test at a S.T.A.R.S. combine for the last two years.”
The club also works closely with the Saugerties Skating School which offers Learn to Skate USA Programs.
They are most proud of their coaching staff that includes coaches who have grown up in the sport both competitively and recreationally.
“Our coaching staff is comprised of dedicated caring and enthusiastic coaches who are members of the Professional Skaters Association, U.S. Figure Skating and the U.S. Hockey Association,” Westlund said. “Two of our coaches have tested and completed their senior moves, freestyle and or gold dance tests. One of our coaches has continued her competitive career and often competes at the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships.
Many of the clubs coaches also compete on the club’s adult open synchronized skating team, Mad Cat Skills, and perform in the annual ice show which Westlund proudly proclaims, is “standing room only.”
In addition to their annual show, the club hosts a community Girl Scouts event which includes both on and off ice activities, and is looking to partner with home school groups to offer Learn to Skate USA programs.
“We will also be hosting a DJ Skate party that will be open to the public,” Westlund said. “Club members are encouraged to bring a friend to the DJ Skate party to introduce friends to the sport.”
Club coaches also help the community by volunteering at a local school’s PTA skating events by offering free lessons and assisting beginner skaters on the ice. Club skaters marched in the town’s annual Fourth of July parade and hosted a very successful “Skate and Paint” event.
“The club’s primary goal is to expand its membership level and ensure financial security so that the club can continue to grow and thrive,” Westlund said. “Several skaters, parents and board members have volunteered countless hours with both club activities and fundraising events. These efforts have helped us to meet our five year financial plan goals in the first year of operation.”
Saugerties is looking forward to introducing more skaters to the sport and expanding program offerings with more freestyle sessions, a beginner synchronized skating team and an adult coffee club skate.
They are also grateful to the management and staff of the Kiwanis Arena and the Director of the Saugerties Parks and Recreation whose support for building a figure skating program was instrumental in the creation of a U.S. Figure Skating club in Saugerties.
“We are very thankful for the incredible support from our community,” Westlund said. “Our community enthusiastically cheers our skaters and brings food items which we collect and bring to our local food pantry. So many local businesses have generously contributed to help get our club started and support the sport of figure skating.”
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