Pebbles to Boulders: Paarrtttaaay!!
I do not know any kid, young or old, who does not like parties. Social events bring out the good times and create some of the fondest memories of any curling club. Little Rocks are no exception. We parents can get a laugh or two watching our kids. Here are some examples of themed parties for Little Rocks.
Depending on how soon your clubs program is operating, a Halloween party can get the season off to a fine start. Invite the kids and parents to dress up in scary costumes. To start the day of curling off, organize the kids to have a costume parade. This is always good fun, watching the proud little ones parade pass the parents, showing off their costumes. Why not curl with their costumes too? Well, depending on the costume, this might not be possible for safety reasons. When on the ice, you could either do drill stations or have a brief game of curling. A Halloween goodie bag for each curler is always a big hit.
Christmas time is always a good time to host a party. This event would take a little extra planning, for you need to coordinate the arrival of the Jolly Elf to visit with the kids. As our Little Rock section was operated in two parts, the 1 o’clock group and the 2 o’clock group, we start reminding everyone two weeks in advance that both groups would join together for a two hour Christmas Party. Most times the party actually took less time than two hours.
With between 50 to 60 curlers on the ice at one time, drill stations were the easiest way to get the kids active. Boy o’ boy, to see all those curlers on the ice at the same time, I must admit, was a real treat. After about 30 minutes of on ice activity, Santa would arrive, venturing down to ice level to meet the kids. Well of course, all curling business would come to an immediate halt, and all the good boys and girls then swarmed Santa.
Preparations were made that Santa had a big chair in the front of the room, so he could meet and speak with each curler and younger family member. We made sure that all curlers and up coming prospective curlers, were given equal chance to talk to Santa. All the kids would sit on the floor around Santa to wait for their name to be announced. This was done to keep the procession toward Santa orderly. I remember one year, that as the group waiting to see Santa was becoming smaller and smaller, there was one very cute wide eyed little girl setting in the middle of the room. She became more noticeable as those on the floor were becoming less in number. She continued to stare straight forward at Santa, never twitching, riveted to his every move has he listened to each youngster. As it turned out, this little cutie was the last to speak with Santa. When her name was announced, she jumped to her feet and immediately sprang into Santa’s lap, startling Santa a bit. She took full advantage of being the last to speak with Santa, for she seemed to have Santa’s attention for what felt like five minutes. We made sure that Santa had enough candy canes for all the kids, and I mean the good-sized canes, not those tiny little candy canes. Cake and ice cream was also the order of the day.
Another themed event is the Family Fun Day. This is where the parents curl with the Little Rockers. Each team must have at least two Little Rockers who play the skip and third positions. This event is always great fun, for the adults get to throw the stones the kids throw. And if the Little Rockers use the halfway hack, well, so do the parents. We usually had enough entries for two draws. A small entry fee went to support the cost of food. Opponents were assigned based on skill level, just to make things fair. We only played one game followed by food, which provided enough entertainment for the afternoon, without taking up the whole day (the parents told us). Two games would be an even bigger hoot!
Food is always a major feature of any curling event. For Little Rockers, the food need not be elaborate. This is where parent volunteers come in very handy, as they can be assigned the duties to care for all the arrangements. Hot dogs, potato chips and pop are big hits and very simple to arrange. I do remember finding out one year that hot dogs were not necessarily the best food item to have. One Mom came up to me and asked very nicely, if we could change from hot dogs to pizza. She pointed out to me, for I had failed to recognize, that her family were vegetarian. Ooops!!! I was so pleased that she brought this to my attention and sure enough, after that we ordered pizzas from then on, with a vegetarian pizza for her family. From my error, afterwards, I had noted any special diet needs in advance.
Now these days, when kids go to parties, goodie bags are presented. These bags are filled with simple toys and sweet treats. The ‘dollar stores’ are gold mines for supplying all the needs to fill the bags. Again, ‘goodie bag’ organization can be assigned to parent volunteers. Goodie bags are best handed out near the end of the day, for when the kids get into the bags, you lose all attention and the noise from crinkling bags can be deafening.
Paarrtttaaay….. why not? Themed events make for easy entertainment during the curling season and are lots of FUN!!
Written by Mort Cooper
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 08:30
About Mort Cooper
Mort Cooper has been a curling administrator for over 25 years, beginning with 10 years as the Executive / Technical Director for the Ontario Curling Federation. He spent 3 years as the Curling Professional at Brantford Golf and Country followed by 10 years as Club Manager / Ice maker at the Brant Curling Club and one year as the General Manager of Guelph Curling Club. Presently, he is working on a semi-retirement career with a few outdoor pursuits, one of which is a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System with Snow Valley Ski Resort in Barrie. In a volunteer curling capacity, Mort's career is highlighted with 10 years service as the Technical Advisor with the Uniroyal Goodrich World Junior Curling Championships, and along with his wife Donna, are major contributors to the Tim Hortons Little Rock Resource Guide. Mort acts as a resource on Little Rocks and is a Business of Curling Facilitator with the Canadian Curling Association.