The Elmira and District Curling Club offers a comprehensive Little Rocks and Junior Curling Program for children between the ages of 7 and 19 years. Instruction from accredited coaches is provided for all skill levels on Sunday afternoons from October to March.
Ordinarily there are two sessions on Sunday afternoons, with children divided by age. From 1:30pm until 3:00, the club runs a Little Rocks program for curlers aged 7 to 12. Immediately following, from 3:00pm until 4:30, the club runs a more advanced program for Bantam and Junior curlers aged 13 to 19.
Our Little Rocks program for 7-12 year olds emphasizes fun, skills development, and playing the game. Slip-on sliders and curling brooms are provided for all curlers. Nonetheless, a child’s performance invariably improves with curling shoes, since proper curling shoes are significantly faster than a slip-on slider. Please talk to one of the coaches before you consider purchasing curling shoes for your child for the first time.
Little Rock curlers throw Lite Rock curling stones from Canada Curling Stone. Lite Rock stones, designed specifically for children, behave similarly to regular, granite curling stones but are 1/2 the weight: 10kg rather than 20kg.
Practices held on Sunday afternoons are a mix of instruction, drills, and mini-games. Younger children aged 7 or 8 typically start on sheet 1 where there is an extra set of rings so that the children can play on 1/2 or 2/3 of a sheet. Occasionally, exhibition games are held on Sunday afternoons with other Little Rock teams from the area, and in turn we may send a group of curlers to another club to play.
While curling is an active sport, participation in the program permits children to acquire a variety of life skills in addition to curling sport-specific skills. Some of these life skills include:
- problem solving
- handling distractions
- managing stress and excitement
- communication and listening skills
At Elmira, we utilize the OCA Skill Awards program offered by the Ontario Curling Association as a tool to reward each child as they acquire additional curling skills during their development in the program. The coaching staff performs skill assessments periodically during the season to reinforce the skills learned during practices. Both Little Rock and bantam curlers earn OCA skill award badges and certificates in recognition of their development over the year. The OCA fees for this program are included in the fees paid to the Elmira Curling Club.
Children are encouraged to enter one or more bonspiels to enjoy the social and competitive aspects of this great game. Little Rock bonspiels are usually held on Saturdays, and typically involve two six-end games with lunch served in-between. Little Rock bonspiels are “open” in that a rink (team) may consist of any combination of boys and girls; however, each bonspiel typically has cumulative age limits for each team to ensure that the team consists of a mix of younger and older players. Fees for a bonspiel are extra, and are typically $100-$120 per rink. Rinks are made up a few weeks in advance. Most Little Rock bonspiels are held after New Year’s with the exception of the North Halton Little Rock bonspiel that is held the first Saturday in December. Curlers will have the opportunity to play in bonspiels held at Elmira, Westmount (Kitchener), Galt (Cambridge), K-W Granite (Waterloo), Acton, Milton, Brampton, Fergus, and North Halton (Georgetown).
Bantams and Juniors
Ordinarily bantam curlers are between 13 and 16 years of age, but a more important measure is whether or not the athlete can comfortably deliver a granite curling stone of 20kg.
As with the Little Rockers, practices on Sunday afternoons are a mix of instruction, drills, and mini-games. Instruction includes the use of special apparatus and video analysis. Equipment is provided (brooms and slip-on sliders) but more skilled athletes will benefit from proper curling shoes. Our program also includes exhibition games, scheduled with bantams and juniors from other clubs in Southern Ontario. In addition, Elmira belongs to a Bantam Interclub league that consists of rinks from Elmira, K-W Granite, Elora, Fergus, Shelburne, Orangeville, and Alliston. Interclub is held on Saturdays at one of the member clubs approximately every 3-to-4 weeks. Interclub rinks are made up in advance, and can be any mix of boys and girls.
Bantam curlers also have the opportunity to enter bonspiels and compete in zone playdowns as either girls, boys, or mixed rinks. Most bonspiels are scheduled for after New Year’s. Bonspiel fees are extra, typically $120-$160 per rink, and again typically include two eight-end games with a meal between them. Bantam curlers must be 16 years of age or younger. Older teams can enter junior bonspiels where the age limit is 19. Sign-ups for bonspiels take place in advance of the event.
We encourage any interested boy or girl from 7 to 19 to contact Glenn Paulley at 519-725-4921. Junior curling begins with an Open House on Sunday, October 5, beginning at 1:30pm, and the program gets underway on Sunday, October 19. Children can try the sport for two weeks without cost or obligation.