A pair of local curling clubs were the deserving recipients of awards from CurlSask, the provincial body governing curling in the province. The Lanigan Curling Club and the Wynyard Curling Club were recognized at the Future of Curling Symposium this past week.
The Wynyard Curling Club picked up honours as the Future Club. Alana Medsted with the Club talks about the reaction to getting the nod..
“It’s extra special because we were closed an extra year during the pandemic,” Melsted explained, “So this is actually our first year back and running. To be recognized for this was pretty great. We’ve been trying to build up our membership, trying to think outside of the box, and promote curling for the youth in our area.”
Melsted feels like it's a pat on the back for the club and its volunteers that their direction is working. In its inaugural year, the Future Award recognizes a club that creates a positive and welcoming community space, displays a strong social media presence, and embraces change. As part of the requirements, the Wynyard Club hosted a Viterra Youth Clinic. Volunteers also organized a CurlSask U15 Triples competition and piloted the Viterra Blizzard program which introduces youth to the sport through volunteer coaches. The Club also focused on retaining its previous adult membership and recruiting new players.
“We really tried to promote recreational curling for everybody and promote the benefits of curling - the health, social and mental benefits,” said Melsted. “We tried some new things.”
The initiative also helped spark a return for curling to the Wynyard Composite High School with the boys’ team heading into SHSAA regional competition.
The situation was similar for the Lanigan Curling Club who received the award for Club Membership Growth. The criteria for the award are similar to that of the Future Award, but the recipient club must also show the largest percentage increase in membership for any provincial club during the year. There must also be a concerted effort to increase adult and youth participation which Lanigan was able to accomplish with vigour, says executive member Bailey Williams.
“This year was our first year running youth leagues out of the club,” Williams reported, “ And we ended up having two full youth leagues running out of the club this season. That really helped with our membership increase.”
The adult leagues and bonspiels throughout the winter contributed to the action at the Club, but they ventured into new programming with a “Learn to Curl” event put on by the village of Drake and the Prairie Centre for Sport. Williams says enticing the youth to come out and get involved in the sport wasn’t a tough task.
“We just put a post on Facebook and said we’ve got the ability to run these youth leagues, CurlSask has programs available for curling rinks in the province, and we thought we’d try it to see what happens. So we put out the post and the response was amazing. Within 48 hours, we’d filled up both weeks.”
The adult membership has been maintained, and Williams noted that one of the largest ladies bonspiels in years hosted 17 teams.
The Nutrien Future of Curling Symposium allowed the clubs to gather to receive their awards and to discuss all things curling, from the business and technical side, to challenges and ideas for growth. With the help of sponsors like Nutrien and the support of CurlSask, the future looks bright for both Lanigan and Wynyard clubs and for the sport of curling throughout the province.