The Glengarry Skating Club heads into another season seeking growth, while entering unchartered territory.
Like any season, coaches will strive to help skaters achieve personal best performances.
“We always want the personal bests. Sometimes it’s hard at this time of season because the kids have bumped to a new level,” said coach Trevor Buttenham.
For skaters who make the jump to a higher level, their scores from a previous level don’t work for comparables because of an extra component or jump, which includes earning extra points. Athletes who skated in the spring and summer would have moved up a level starting from the Victoria Day long weekend.
On the weekend of Remembrance Day, Jordana McEachern and Samantha Macnally will travel to Parksville to compete in the B.C./YK Sectional championship. It will be the third trip for McEachern and the second for Macnally. This championship provides placing for the competitive side, while this year it will also determine who moves onto the B.C. Winter Games and Challenge. Challenge is the Canadian championship, which for McEachern’s level is at pre-novice. Buttenham believes both have a legitimate shot at qualifying for the Games.
Another area the club continues growing is with registration numbers. When Buttenham arrived in 2013-14, the club had 112 members. Four years later it has grown to 353, which equals out to one per cent of Penticton’s population. Buttenham would like the club’s numbers to grow by 10 per cent this season. Buttenham said that Skata Canada would tell them they are over achieving. The club has made tweaks to its schedule adding a CanSkate program to have four. Buttenham hopes the addition of a session attracts more kids, some he says may choose to figure skate long term.
Last week they had a recreation program that attracted nearly 100 kids.
The club is also getting involved with two pilot programs. One is based off of the Okanagan Hockey Group and what KISU does with its academy. Through Pen High Secondary, kids can earn a Physical Education 10 credit for their skating. They are also doing an Independent Directed Study, which will give high school credits that are not linked to a class. The students enrolled will do projects, some written and log their hours. Buttenham and another person will go over the work and provide the students with a grade. This is a new initiative in B.C. said Buttenham.
“Kids who do all this work can get credit. They can show it on transcript,” he said. “Show they have credit for extra curricular sport.”
The idea for Buttenham long term is that providing students with these electives frees them up for spare blocks in their senior years. Students can also get their homework done before coming to skate.
“I didn’t have that benefit,” said Buttenham, who took spares starting in Grade 10 every year. “It took me five years to get through high school.”
The club has also added Meaghan Pankratz, a former member of the club, a coaching job with the Star Academy and Primary StarSkaters.