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INSPIRE: Volunteer coaches and assistants make community programs in the region possible

Region community programs rely on volunteers to step up as coaches and assistants to keep local programs alive.

GREENSTONE – As for so many regions in the North Shore, volunteers are the backbone to maintaining the variety of sports programs offered.

One example is the Learn to Skate program offered by the Municipality of Greenstone. As tourism coordinator Brent Hentley points out, this program and others like the recent youth soccer program will be dependent on volunteers willing to help run it.

“Learn to Skate is a program that is offered through the municipality of Greenstone based on volunteers who are willing to run it," he said.

Townships such as Geraldton and Longlac partner with other townships in the Greenstone area to provide the youth in their community opportunities to participate in sports such as soccer, baseball and skating. The Youth Soccer program finished in Geraldton and Longlac with wind-up events in mid-September.

The Learn to Skate Program ran very successfully last year in the community, and Hentley hopes more volunteers will put their names forward so that they can offer the program to multiple wards. Having the volunteers that they need to so this will also enable them to offer these youngsters an opportunity to join minor hockey programs.

“The Learn to Skate program is to teach kids the fundamentals of skating and being comfortable on the ice," he said. "Teaching them how to fall and get up, how to start and stop, how to skate forward and backwards and everything else in between. It’s to have fun on the ice and create a love for skating that may lead them to joining one of our minor hockey programs in the future."

Those who volunteer will be provided with a lot of support from their township, he added. For example, they will be provided with coaching manuals with practice plans, drills, and equipment, while volunteer program instructors will be given an honorarium.

The Learn to Skate program is typically a seven-week program, with one skate per week—for 50 minutes per session. Ages are normally between three and six with a maximum of ten kids.

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