Plans are coming together for a ringette program this fall in the county.
Sparked by the Come Try Ringette session, which will be held Aug. 17 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre, the Town of Pictou is creating the Active Start program for October.
“In its day ringette was really strong here in the ’70s and ’80s,” said Michelle Young, recreation co-ordinator for Pictou recreation and parks. “With girls hockey coming on board a little later the participation dwindled, but there seems to be a resurgence in the county.”
As of Wednesday the registration for the Come Try Ringette event in August was over 25 kids, the largest expected turnout in the province. Young expects that initial interest to carry forward to the fall.
“You have the interest there and folks are getting out to try it, so once that wraps up they will say what’s next? Where can we go with this?” said Young. “We’re looking at starting up the (Active Start) program, likely in the Town of Pictou in October when the ice goes in the arena. We’ll get a foundation from the try-it session and we can communicate our program plans once that session is complete.”
Lainie Wintrup, executive director for Ringette Nova Scotia, said right now there are approximately 1,100 players in the province and their goal is expansion across the province. One key area they looked at for expansion was Pictou County.
“We’ll have the Active Start program, which Michelle is looking to bring into the county, while working with us,” said Wintrup. “It’s not creating a team, but judging from the initial interest I wouldn’t be surprised if within two years Pictou County has a few teams because of the resurgence of the sport.
“We aren’t just going to drop this program in Pictou County and hope it works. We will have people on the ground to help grow the sport and create a quality program for the community.
Looking at last year’s growth, she said their largest increase in numbers was at the U-10 and U-12 levels. There is also a women’s team in the Annapolis Valley that has started to play.
The increase at the younger levels lines up with the program Pictou County will have. It is geared toward five- to 12-year-olds. Young compared it to swim lessons as they will have specific goals and lessons they will work on throughout the Active Start program.
“I’m really excited about this new partnership between Ringette Nova Scotia and Pictou Recreation and Parks,” said Young. “They will be working closely with us to bring this program here and helping it be successful. It will be a great addition to the community to keep youth active and will add more events to the arena, which is another plus.”
Their Come Try Ringette session will run from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 17. It is free for all who are interested. To register visit cometryringette.ca.
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