Skate Exchange, An Awe-Inspiring Success

On Jan 8th, 2011 the year has commenced with an exchange of goodwill outgrown skates for ones that fit. The Capreol Arena hall was a sea of skates. The cost saving of this exchange is outstanding. The fact that children out grow skates yearly sometimes bi-yearly exchanging them is a real cost saver. So many people have skates … hidden … forgotten, with good intentions, to get out and get active; but the enthusiasm wanes, they are left stored in basements or crawl spaces. For those who donate skates to the ‘Skate Exchange’ they can be reassured knowing, they can find a new home with an appreciative audience. Last winter (2009-10 season) over 400 pairs of skates were donated to the program, 300+ were distributed to children, families and agencies within the community. So far this season approximately 400 pairs have been collected with approximately 200 already distributed. Donation locations include: all Greater City of Sudbury Arenas, Tom Davies Square (Citizen Service Centre), Sudbury & District Health Unit, YMCA, The Human League Association and Royal Canadian Legion-Lockerby Branch. There is a high demand for more skate’s size 6+, so they can also be recycled.

Skate Exchange Committee members take turns for Free Skate Pickup Days, every season they work with a different outlying communities within the City of Greater Sudbury working with volunteers to lead and host exchange days. The three customary hosted exchanges include: The Royal Canadian Legion-Branch #564 Lockerby, 220 Long Lake Rd, Sudbury Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury, 19 Frood Rd, Sudbury as well as the Walden Arena, also one optional exchange. This season the CCAN (Capreol Citizen Action Network), hosted the optional event, last season it was Ridgecrest Park Neighbourhood Association (New Sudbury). Desiree Chartrand explained “the Skate Exchange began 2002 travelling to various communities throughout the Greater City of Sudbury during the season”. As the Chair of the Committee, Desiree Chartrand organizes most of the graphic design and administrative support (sending PSAs, developing posters, communicating with media, etc.). Each Skate Exchange committee member is a representative of their agency; the Skate Exchange mandate is promoting active living in our community. The program is a non-profit collaborative partnership between various community agencies, in addition to private sector support from, Skaters Edge Source for Sports, TyeDee Bin, Home Hardware & more. The committee will be more ‘mobile’ in the future with a new trailer recently acquired, a 7’ x 14’ ft. enclosed cargo trailer and should be ready for use in the coming weeks to store and transport the tremendous collection of skates, pads and even rollerblades!

The Capreol event was well attended with approximately 52 people of all ages, with plenty of volunteers to help size and lace up the skates. The exchange was attended by some local celebrates including Michelle Tonner (CTV Broadcaster) with her son, Andre, as well as, Carrie from Rewind 103.9 fm. The skates Andre brought in were taken out of his hand by one of the volunteers, laced onto the feet of an awaiting boy and voila a perfect fit. Andre was able to find a replacement pair for himself, and they were on their way, delighted with the experience. Carrie obtained 3 pairs of skates for her and her family. Zachary Moulan having never skated before with newly acquired skates in hand said ”now I am able to learn on the outdoor rink”, Desiree overheard him and reached into a bag full of shin guards, knee and elbow pads handing him a selection and with a big grin he left, another happy customer. A family came through the door with bewildered expressions saying “we heard about the skate exchange and would like to learn to skate but we don’t have any to trade”, with an enthusiastic response from Randy Crisp “it is ok, you don’t need any, what sizes do you need?” smiles replaced the bewilderment. This is what volunteerism is all about! The sizes were confirmed and skates found, as well as a pair of roller blades for dad, making it possible him to join his son once the snow is gone. The friendly interaction continued, they are a new family to the Greater City of Sudbury from Nepal via Windsor, commented on the beauty and friendliness of our region which was gratifying, so far from their home country, “Sudbury reminds me of my home” said the mom, inquiring in regards purchasing a home in the area. Thanks to CCAN Committee President Randy Crisp for organizing the event, with the help of volunteers: Matt Holmes, Dan Sumpton Jr, Mallory Sheffield, Aaron Del Papa, Stu Thomas, Rudy Mazzuca, Gary Gray and Margret Morris.

Randy Crisp later reported to the CCAN committee “Desiree Chartrand as Chair of the Skate Exchange was very organized, personable, with her knowledge and assistance hosting the event seemed effortless.” These exchanges make it possible for so many people in the community to embrace a more active lifestyle.

For anyone missing the Skate Exchange in Capreol another date is planned Sunday, January 23 at Walden Arena from noon until 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.sdhu.com or call (705) 522-9200, ext. 257 or if your committee is interested in hosting an event.

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