In the dark, dreary recesses of the cold winter months, what better activity than to don a pair of skates and set out for the rink or the pond. How Canadian can you get than to skate or at least learn to skate and what better way to warm you up on a cold winter day? Whether this is your first time skating or you have been at it for a while, one thing is to be certain, skating is for anybody, or so says Nick Bonnar who is a volunteer skate instructor at the Bayplex in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Mr. Bonnar has been running the learn-to-skate program now with the help of other volunteers for “four years now and teaches children from two to twelve but anyone is welcome,” he says. The skate program in Glace Bay gets skaters from all over the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and all equipment is free. The people in the community have donated the skating equipment. “We received 135 sets of gear this year, and 30 sets were donated to the New Waterford learn-to-skate program,” Nick has said.
Skating fosters “socializing, exercise and self esteem,” Nick says and creates a “closer knit community.” Once you learn to skate, you can take part in skating parties, which is fun for people at any age. Nick says, that by getting involved in sport, “you meet friends,” which in the end, “makes for a stronger community.” Nick has been volunteering in the local sporting community for forty-eight years. It was away for him to give back to his own coaches in life like his father. Nick’s father was an umpire and coach in the community, which inspired him to follow suit. In the summer months, Nick is a baseball umpire as well as a coach. Nick loves kids and “loves to see the smiles on their faces.” He believes that, “kids are the community.” If we could only get people to realize that we would be all set. Nick would love to see upgrades made to The Bayplex to house a youth centre. When youth are involved in sport and committed to a schedule, it gives them discipline and respect for their community, Nick says. This in turn creates less crime in the community.
If you are interested in Nick’s learn-to-skate program during the winter months, you can contact him via social media. This year the lessons are from 2:50 pm to 3:50 pm on Monday and Wednesday at the Bayplex. They are also looking for donations of skating gear especially for smaller children. Don’t be afraid of winter, get on out there and enjoy! Who knows, maybe you’ll make new friends! Bayplex is located at the bottom of Main Street on Lower North Street in Glace Bay.
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