Up North: Learn to Skate Program teaching youth valuable lessons

Up North: Learn to Skate Program teaching youth valuable lessons

Up North

The Northlands are a prime spot for winter sports, specifically those that involve skating. However, its popularity may not mean everyone can do it. That’s where the “Learn to Skate” program steps in.

The “Learn to Skate” program, held at the Duluth Heritage Sport Center, gives children ages 4-10 the chance to get on the ice for the first time and test out their abilities.

For some parents though, it was just about following the trend.

“It’s the northern Minnesota thing to do, to skate,” said Casie Wick, a parent of one of the skaters in the program. “Hockey is a big thing up here and my son’s friends with multiple hockey players and so I thought, okay, keeping up with the Jones’. This is what we do.”

While skating is certainly taught, there are a few life lessons that also become apparent. One of those is learning how to get up every time you fall.

“This is where a lot of those people that have banners up started from,” said Bob Nygaard, the former Assistant Athletic Director of Communications for the University of Minnesota Duluth. “The guys that went onto the pros, the guys that went on to the Olympics. They were just like you many years ago. This is where they started, they fell down just like you, got up hopefully just like you’ll do. But they kept at it, and you can do the same if you keep at it.”

The program has been around for nearly twenty years, and every year they welcome new smiling faces, whether that’s skaters, or parents.

Parents, of course, smile at their children, but also the cost friendly nature of the program.

“I think this is great,” said Wick. “It’s free…it’s one less expense you have to worry about as a parent. It’s great that the community offers it.”

The event is held from 12:30-2:45 every Sunday from September 24th to November 12th.