Glacier Ice Arena’s camps teach kids skating, how to have fun

Camp instructor Rory Nankervis gives Hannah Place some one-on-one instruction on her footwork during hockey camp at Glacier Ice Arena.

Alya Babinets made the trip all the way from Ukraine to spend the summer with her sister in Grand Junction.

The one thing her sister wanted to ensure was that Babinets wouldn’t be bored.

Between sports camps and activities, boredom has been the least of the 12-year-old’s problems since she arrived in town three weeks ago.

One of the activities she’s had the most fun with is Cool Camp.

Glacier Ice Arena is conducting the day camp throughout the summer. It’s much more than just skating, however.

The camp, which is held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers ice skating for two-hour sessions — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In between, activities and arts and crafts not only offer creative outlets but also present learning experiences.

“I like this camp,” Babinets said.

In addition to improving her current skills and learning new ones, she’s had fun playing games on the ice like Bulldog, skating through cones and hopscotch.

“We get to draw on the ice,” Rachel Offerman, another 12-year-old said, of creating artwork with markers.

Don’t worry, with the Zamboni resurfacing the ice daily, their (approved) graffiti is easily covered up.

“They teach us tricks to do on the ice like spinning and jumping,” Offerman said.
In between the skating sessions, the campers, who are ages 6 to 12, have made drawings and other crafts such as sand art and photo frames.

“It’s kind of a little bit of everything,” said Carolina Balint, one of the camp instructors. “We use their imagination in a good way.”

Balint has taken the campers to Lincoln Park and bowling and plans a trip to the Mesa County Library before the summer is over.

It’s been as rewarding an experience for her as it has for the kids.

“It’s really good for me being with my children,” said Balint, who has two daughters involved in the camp.

In addition, “I learn a lot from the children,” she said.

One of her daughters, Savannah, has benefitted from the skating sessions but enjoyed one of the painting sessions even more.

“I’m a golfer,” Savannah said. “I got to paint my golf balls.”

For the past two weeks, Cool Camp has had to share ice time with Glacier Ice Arena’s hockey camp, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m.

“It’s a skills camp,” said Rory Nankervis, one of the instructors.

“A lot of these kids are younger, inexperienced players so they’ve gotten bad habits,” he said.
“Hopefully at the end of camp they’re better in every aspect of the game.”

Nankervis is stressing skating skills during the two-week session.

“You can’t play if you can’t skate,” he told the players Tuesday afternoon. “The best players are always the best skaters.”

That’s why there’s a lot of emphasis on agility drills and skating on the edges of the skates.

Nankervis hopes to provide another clinic for more advanced players during the summer. For now, he’ll work on the basics.

For information on either Cool Camp or upcoming hockey camps, contact Glacier Ice Arena at 242-7465.

As for Babinets, “I’m learning so much, I’ll do it all summer,” she said.


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