Merry Christmas Family Fun Skate

Olympia Skating Club hosted its first Christmas event on December 21st at Father David Bauer Arena. Family, friends, and anyone from the skating community who wanted to participate was welcome to attend this event – what an afternoon it was! CTV’s Community Events Department promoted the event all week for us through television and social media. We had a spectacular turnout – children from ages 2 – 17, adults from our club and other skating communities, parents who skate for fun with their kids, their family members, and lots of friends. Even if people couldn’t skate, they still came to be part of the festive fun.

Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI) was our proud sponsor of this event. As director and founder of that company, I wanted to give something back to Olympia Skating Club as skating has been such a part of my continued health, strength and well-being, enabling me to face the daily challenges of raising two children with autism. Autism Calgary advertised the event through their newsletter so some of our autism community came out. It was a fully inclusive day and a joy to see all of the children having so much fun together.

Olympia member Claire Tannett created pure magic on the ice when she skated her solo number to Andrea Bocelli’s “Because We Believe”. She skated in a beautiful flowing pale green costume that moved like gossamer. Everyone was mesmerized and swept up in the drama of the program. Claire used to skate with Disney on Ice; her talent and skating skills were enjoyed by everyone.

Don and Joan McGrath played Santa and Mrs. Claus in full costumes made by Joan. The children were elated to see Santa come on the ice and skate with them. One child said, “We don’t need to be singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town because he’s already here!” Santa gave them candy canes and listened to their Christmas wishes. I wished for my loop jump!

Bobby Jo Donovan and Olympia head coach, Monika Bafia, organized games for the children and they took part quite enthusiastically. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and treats both sweet and salty were served up by Jeannette D’Abadie, AACI’s administrative assistant. She was wonderful with the children and kept everyone happy on the sidelines when they came over for a little refreshment. We are grateful for her efforts in helping us set up and manage the treat station.

Clare gave us an encore performance before the event ended and we all took one final Christmas celebratory lap together. The atmosphere on the ice was one of high energy and festivity. One youngster said, “I wish I could skate with this group all the time.”

Thank you to our board volunteers who worked hard behind the scenes to make this event happen. Skating really has the power to bring people together. I think after the success of this year’s gathering, we’ll have to make this an annual thing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone in our skating community. We hope to see you on the ice in 2016!