All posts by arahe

Learn to Skate at BGSU Ice Arena

In a community that is home to Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, and 2009 U.S. Champion Alissa Czisny, why not provide a program structured to develop even more ice skating extraordinaires?

Recreation and Wellness’ Learn to Skate Program is starting their next session on February 21, 2010. The program is designed to promote physical fitness while enjoying a fun, safe skating experience. From skating basics to advance techniques, ages three to adult, the Learn to Skate program has accomplished instructors providing a lesson accommodating to everyone’s personal skill level.

Learn to Skate focuses intensively on engaging with students. Classes are organized by age, skill level, and the type of skating preferred by the student.  Whether it is hockey, figure skating, or recreational skating the program offers a variety of classes.

“For our younger skaters (ages 3-5) we use buckets. Our goal by the end of the session is to have them skating without the support of a bucket,” said Ice Arena Staff Assistant Laura Dunn.

The buckets are not the only technique the Learn to Skate Program utilizes. Marching in place, balancing activities, and use of bars are just a few of the many skill development tools.

Dunn emphasized the importance of fun and active learning. “The entire first half of the session is dedicated to games that develop skills. The second half focuses on instruction and how to fix the skills students are struggling with,” said Dunn.

Stephanie Wilson, who participated in the program when she was younger, has been a skating coach for three years. She explained how the program has a “family feel” and how keeping the groups small provides more attention, helping the children feel more comfortable.

“We like to use age appropriate activities such as the game Red Light-Green Light, obstacle courses, and stuffed animals for our younger learners,” said Wilson. Learn to Skate receives a lot of positive feedback for its ability to engage students in new, exciting ways.

The program is a six week session, once per week (either Sunday or Wednesday).  Each session is only 30 minutes long, but a small student to instructor ratio ensures each student receives the attention the need to improve.

Total costs consist of an annual $10 United States Figure Skating Basic Skills membership (including a skills packet, Achievement Certificates, and Badges) and a flat rate of $60, which includes skate rentals and a practice pass to public skating. More information about the Learn to Skate Program and other programs being offered through the Department of Recreation and Wellness can be found on the Web Site.

It is strongly recommended to register prior to the first day of class. Registrations are accepted on a first come, first serve basis until full, so don’t delay.  You could be the next Hamilton or Czisny!

Outdoor Program Earns Grant Promoting Boating Safety

In a region made up of fields and flat lands, it may be hard to believe that BGSU’s Recreation and Wellness Department is nationally recognized for excellence provided by the Outdoor Program.


After applying for the 2010 Boating Safety Education Grant sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, The Outdoor Program was rewarded $12,000 to provide a canoeing safety program. The grant allows the program to purchase equipment including five brand new canoes, a trailer, life jackets, paddles and throw ropes.


“We will be holding three to four canoeing safety courses each year,” said Director of the Outdoor Program, Jerome Gabriel. “The courses are in collaboration with regular trips, so everyone participating will be taught canoeing safety.”


The grant was offered to candidates who demonstrated potential success of a program promoting boating safety.  Among those that qualified, RecWell’s Outdoor Program was 1 of 30 applicants that received the grant in Ohio.


Many adventure seekers often plan canoeing trips with minimal training. Their assumption that nothing will go wrong, and knowing what to do if something does go wrong, is a concern to the Outdoor Program.  “With the easy availability of canoeing in Ohio, it can be a very positive or negative first experience with the outdoors. With this program we hope to educate others on how to canoe safely and have a fun experience that will hopefully lead them towards taking more time to experience the outdoors,” said Gabriel.


BGSU is not located in an area known for outdoor exploration. The Outdoor Program works hard to provide opportunities that BGSU students and community members otherwise would not have.  The program takes participants on exciting adventures all over the state and the Midwest.


“The most important aspect of the Outdoor Program is providing students with an outdoor experience beyond Northwest Ohio,” said Gabriel.


The Outdoor program is doing just that by expanding their efforts to provide not only a thrilling and educational experience, but a safe experience for all who participate.


More information on The Outdoor Program and upcoming trips can be found on BGSU’s Recreation and Wellness Web Site.