It was a busy couple of hours for families during registration night as they planned activities for their children with service clubs around Ponoka. Hosted at the Kinsmen Community Centre Sept. 5 parents spoke to many of the clubs to see what they offer and how to fit their programs into their schedule.
Ponoka Minor Hockey is continuing to charge no fees for first-time minor hockey registrants with condition camps already started and tryouts on Sept. 17.
Many of the clubs offered similar schedules as last year and some have added to their itinerary. The Ponoka Youth Centre has a few new programs this year, explained Andrew Heinrichs.
One of those programs is a lunch hour drop-in from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. that gives youths a chance to visit and play games in a space that would otherwise be unused. “We might as well use it as a way to say hello to everybody. It’s especially useful it it’s cold out.”
There are also some after school programs offered to youths as well.
September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month and representative Morgen Chernick was in attendance to engage people in their drop-in mentor program that currently has approximately 50 mentors.
Her hope is to generate more interest as the in-school mentor program is about to start.
Ask Chernick about the program at their annual fundraiser barbecue at the Ponoka Fire Hall Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and help celebrate BBBS month.
There are some changes planned for the Skate Ponoka club as some coaches from last year have left but president Jennifer Parker said the club is actively recruiting coaches and many programs are still being offered. “Most parents are signing up for the pre-school learn to skate program.”
Those looking for a different discipline, Bill Houghton of the Battle River Shotokan Karate Society offers a way to give kids a different type of physical workout and, “it’s nice if you can get siblings together,” so they can practice at home.”
The holder of a fifth level black belt has had his three children learn from the program and he feels it has helped give them direction with their lives. He feels it gives kids with learning disabilities a way to focus for 45 minutes.
Michelle Blanchette, secretary and registrar for Ponoka Soccer, enjoys the camaraderie that comes with the club. “For me these people are friends.”
The biggest change this year is to see a separate U12 boys and U12 girls team.
Two words that Pool Sharks head coach can think of that define the swim club is “determination and resilience.”
The only requisite for a child to enter the program is to be able to swim the length of the pool. She feels the skills learned from swimming are a lifelong benefit. “Being a strong swimmer could potentially save your life one day…It’s a fantastic (mental) focus.”
Organizers for the Ponoka Curling Club were there to show off their floor curling equipment and to inform attendees about their youth program, which starts in October.
The club lends the floor curling equipment to schools wanting to give students a taste for the sport before the season begins.
Programs offered were not just for school-aged children; parents wanting to increase connection with their babies could sign up for Parent Link’s Sing and Sign classes every Friday starting Oct. 5. The program has returned after some hiatus, explained co-ordinator assistant Tanjia Heyden-Kaye.
She enjoys being able to connect parents with each other and, “meeting all the different families and kids whom I wouldn’t meet otherwise.”
Kids greeted each other while parents decided on what to put their kids in; from the Gymnastics Club, to learning piano from Shawna’s Music Studio or stretching their muscles in the Kidz Can Yoga program, to becoming an Air Cadet, to name a few of the many options available.