Maryfield receives funds for youth curling

December 2, 2021, 11:28 am
Kevin Weedmark

Scenes from a curling clinic in Maryfield in early 2020.

More than $200,000 in funding over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons will be invested in youth curling across Canada, and Maryfield Curling Club is one of the first groups of recipients as announced by Curling Canada in its November 5, 2021 news release.

Funding for these opportunities to get more youth from all backgrounds involved with their friends and classmates in the sport in a fun and welcoming environment was made possible thanks to the curling community’s support of Curling Canada’s For the Love of Curling philanthropic program.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the future of our sport depends on getting youth actively engaged, and in the process continue to change the face of our sport to fully represent our country’s diversity,” said Helen Radford, Curling Canada’s Manager, Youth Curling and NextGen. “What was truly gratifying about the application process was the eagerness and creativity of our country’s Member Associations, curling centres and communities; they truly share our ambitions, and I know these funds will be put to extremely good use and it will benefit our sport for years to come.”

There were three main targeted program areas: Inter-city/Inter-club leagues; targeted recruitment of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People Of Colour) youth; and school programs.

Curling Canada was looking for innovative program ideas that not only meet the specific criteria per program area but also demonstrate sustainability, inclusivity and new diverse participant recruitment.

Forty grants are being awarded, with total funds being distributed over this season and next exceeding $217,000.

Maryfield Curling Club, one of 19 clubs, has received a $5 000 grant ($2,500 annually) to run a On-Ice School Curling Program.


Students in Grades 3 to 8 at Maryfield School, as well as home-schooled children in the community, will receive eight two-hour sessions in each of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 curling seasons.

Instruction will occur during the school day as a part of their physical education program. Instruction will include on-ice sessions as well as off-ice sessions; participants will focus on curling techniques—basic slide, rock release, weight control, sweeping—as well as game strategy.

Sessions will see the young curlers involved in drills to develop their skills and mini-games to focus on strategy. Off-ice sessions will engage students in activities to develop an understanding of scoring, curling terminology and game strategy.

Janet Lemon and Barb Swallow will oversee the project and form the base of the instructional crew along with local curler, Randy O’Greysik.

Guest instructors will be invited to enhance the instruction, allowing youth to learn from the knowledge and experience of some very talented Saskatchewan and Manitoba curlers.

It is the program’s goal to ensure that all youth in the community have the opportunity to learn the basics of the sport of curling, a life-long sport that is well-known for its physical and social benefits.

“We thank Curling Canada for the funding to make this opportunity a reality for our local youth,” said Barb Swallow.

“Thanks to the Maryfield School staff for being open to incorporating the program through their physical education hours. Thanks to the Maryfield Recreation Board for the use of its facility for this important educational opportunity.

“It will be exciting to see the youth take to the ice and experience the game first-hand.”

Barb says the aim of the program is to expose kids to a variety of curling skills.

“We look for instructors that have different kinds of backgrounds and can do different kinds of things with the kids and show them the opportunity that curling has for them,” she says. “We have some people that are very talented and have considerable curling background that live close to us. For instance, Lydia Fraser is a teacher here still, part-time, and she’s curled provincially with me. So Lydia, I know, is going to be a guest instructor one time. Brittany Lemon, who is is Janet’s daughter, will be one of our guest instructors. She lives nice and close. She has lots of experience, lots of background, and is a very talented curler.

“Then we’ve got talent right here locally, like there’s myself and Barb Boon, and Randy O’Greysik is a well-known local curler here. He’s on board with us, he and I and Janet will form the base, and then we’ll go from there and still hope to bring in four or so guest instructors to change things up some for the kids and just give them a different perspective.”

Barb says it takes quite a bit of time and organization to plan the sessions for the kids.

“Some of us have been doing it for a lot of time so we have that background, but it still takes some work to formalize the lesson plans, because when you have youth that age involved, you need to change things up really, really often,” she says. “So we will need to definitely plan some different drills and change things regularly through our two hour sessions to keep the kids engaged and keep them focused on the skills we hope to develop.”


Maryfield is a community that has always had a deep love of curling and has produced many professional and competitive curlers over the years.

“There are so many of us here that really enjoy the game,” says Barb. “We love the game, we know the advantages of the game. We would like to see that continue for years to come. It is a game that you can play without investing a ton of money, it’s a game you can play well into your later years and still enjoy.

“So I think it’s our goal to introduce as many people to that game as we can and to ignite some type of a fire within them so that they too come to enjoy the game and thereby keep it alive in our area here.

“It’s not an easy battle anymore, people are so busy with their lives. Not everybody takes the time to go out and enjoy local recreational facilities and we’d like to keep ours alive along with that love of the game of curling which we want to keep alive in our community.

“I think it takes local people that really enjoy the game and want to continue to pass that on to the youngsters in the community and to their parents, because it takes parents to get involved to keep it alive as well.”