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The Vankleek Hill Curling Club is hoping to boost youth memberships in 2021-2022.

Vankleek Hill Curling looking to recruit new members, as regular play returns for upcoming season

The Vankleek Hill Curling Club is returning to normal play for the 2021-2022 season and is looking to recruit new members, with draws scheduled each weekday beginning in November.

Members were unable to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary in 2020, but as it enters its 101st year, the executive is looking to get back to as close to normal operations as possible, with an eye to celebrating the club’s milestone in 2022.

“The club has been around 101 years – it’s a staple in the community,” notes Don MacNaughton, President of the Vankleek Hill Curling Club.

Members at the club have multiple opportunities to play each week, with draws held twice on each weekday. During the day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is Mixed Men’s and Women’s play, with Women’s league on Thursday morning. Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings features Mixed play, while the Men’s league plays on Thursday evenings.

There are multiple ways to join the club. An active curling membership is $260 per season. A Junior membership (Under 21) is $85 for the first two members and $75 for each subsequent member of the same family. Social memberships are also available at $56.50 per couple of $39.55 for a single. All membership fees include HST.

Members are assigned to teams once they join and the teams are mixed up every four weeks. And members can for the most part, play as often as they like.

“You can curl about five times a week and it costs you next to nothing,” MacNaughton says.

The club implemented a number of rule changes for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic during play in 2020-2021, but for the upcoming season play will return to its regular format. The exception is that only one person is allowed to sweep the rock at a time. All club members must also provide proof of vaccination.

The Vankleek Hill Curling Club normally has about 190 members, but lost some over the past two seasons. The club is looking to actively recruit more members.

One area hit particularly hard was youth curling, which dwindled from 50 members to none in 2020-2021. The club is hoping to recruit at least 20 youth members for the upcoming season.

Curling is a sport for all ages, notes MacNaughton, and the Vankleek Hill club has members who range in age from eight to 88. Senior players who have mobility issues are able to use special elongated sticks to throw the rocks.

Play at the Vankleek Hill Curling Club is social, with teams switched up on a regular basis.

“We like to switch the teams very four to six weeks.” MacNaughton explains. “That way you get to see and meet new people in the club.”

“It’s a nice facility for people to come and enjoy themselves in camaraderie. It’s a very social club.”

The sign-up deadline is October 20 for any members who wish to play in the first draw of the season, which begins play on November 1. Sign up forms are available at the curling club and on their webpage through this link.

More information on the Vankleek Hill Curling Club can be obtained by visiting their website, or Facebook page.

As in 2020, the Vankleek Hill Curling Club will be offering Christmas dinners via drive-thru service. Last year club members served up 298 meals and are planning for as many as 400 in 2021. The dinner is planned for December 11 and more information will posted on the club’s website in early November.

In February, the club will also be holding its annual fundraiser for the Heart Institute, which raised $8,500 in 2021.

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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