By Dusten Rader
Area residents looking for a way to stay active during the winter season need look no further than the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
Members of the Jamestown Skating Club are shown practicing during a Learn To Skate session at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
P-J file photo by Dusten Rader
The Jamestown Skating Club is set to host another seven weeks of the Learn To Skate program beginning Wednesday. However, what makes the sessions unique are that they are part of a United States Figure Skating Association sanctioned basic skills program.
According to Menash Petscher, who was recently named director of the program and has three daughters who participate, although the Jamestown Skating Club once had a basic skills program, it hasn't had one that did more than replicate the program in many years.
"Everybody that signs up for Learn To Skate will actually become a member of U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills," Petscher said. "Basic skills is the first step in figure skating, and is the very beginning set of skills necessary to progress up the ladder."
Those who sign up will receive a book describing the eight basic skills, and will also have the opportunity to earn badges of recognition.
"It gives a little bit more to the skaters," Petscher said.
Petscher also plans on giving a little bit more to the participants as well. One goal he has moving forward is to ensure that there are plenty of staff members available to participants to meet their needs.
"We're changing things," Petscher said. "One of the things we're changing is making sure we have enough staff to help tie skates, help people sign up and really understand what the club is all about."
The club is designed to be able to cater to anyone ranging in ages from 4-94, and the appropriate level of challenge will be determined for each individual. Those who wish to take the program no further than recreation are welcome, as well as those who'd like to participate in the Learn To Skate portion of the Excellence On Ice, a figure skating show which is set to be held in May.
"Having three girls in it now, in my opinion the program is a great way for kids to get involved in a sport that's available all year round," Petscher said. "It's also a great way to get involved with the community, because we have kids coming from Bemus Point, Warren and other areas outside the Jamestown High School district. So, you get to know kids outside of the area, and you really start to form a family. These kids go away to competitions together, do fundraising and really get to make close friends that they will grow up with. We even have girls who took the program that have gone off to skate professionally stay in touch and visit the club to meet the kids when they are back in town."
According to Petscher, the club is also a great opportunity for those who want to, or already do, play hockey.
"This program also teaches young hockey players the basic fundamentals of skating," Petscher said.
The cost of participation is $65 for a total of seven 50-minute Wednesday sessions from 6-6:50 p.m. Participants may join during any session, and will be billed a prorated amount depending on the amount of sessions taken. Skates are provided at no additional cost. All skaters age 7 and under are required to wear a bicycle helmet.
Those interested in the program may contact Petscher at 727-644-2465. The JSBA is located at 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 484-2624, visit www.jsconice.com or search for "Jamestown Skating Club" on Facebook.