For elementary students of the Falconer Central School district, ice skating proved to be more than a recreational activity.
Over the past month, fourth-grade students of Fenner Elementary School participated in the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena's inaugural EduSkate program.
The program was initiated through a partnership between the arena and the Falconer school district, allowing approximately 100 students to attend five ice skating sessions throughout the month of June as part of the school's physical education curriculum. Grant money was awarded to Falconer through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation in order to make the program possible.
Fourth-grade students of Fenner Elementary School receive ice skating instructions from Craig Hinderleider, assistant general manager of the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, during the arena’s inaugural EduSkate program last month.
According to Hannah Braun, community outreach coordinator for the arena, the EduSkate program was conceived as a means of engaging the community as well as providing area students with unique opportunities.
"We wanted to work more with not only other organizations, but schools as well to incorporate them more into our scheduling," she said. "We contacted all of our area schools and presented the concept to them, and Falconer wanted to do it this year."
The classes were taught by Craig Hinderleider, assistant general manager of the arena, who said the experience has been just as beneficial for arena staff as it has for the students.
"It has been a very rewarding experience for the arena staff," Hinderleider said. "They were able to witness how significantly the students have grown since the first session. And listening to (the students) express how impressed they were with themselves will be one of the most memorable things I will take away."
Braun said the ultimate goal of the EduSkate program was to provide students with an enjoyable physical exercise, and to entice more people into the arena's programming - such as the Learning to Skate program.
"It ended up being a good thing for us," she said. "The kids all had a blast and thought it was amazing. A lot of them mentioned how impressed they were, and a lot of them signed up for skating club."
Braun said the arena also encourages any and all schools, youth groups and organizations to consider participating in the EduSkate program. For more information, or to participate in the EduSkate program, contact Braun at 484-2624, or firstname.lastname@example.org.